Wednesday, 14 December 2011

3 Spoon Billed Sandpipers @ Khok Kham

Went to Khok Kham today and after lunch with Tee went out in to the salt pans just on 15:00hrs. It was the usual case of starting the mammoth task of searching through all the lesser & greater sandplovers, broad billed & curlew sandpipers, red necked & long toed stints, KP's, Greenshanks, Marsh Sandpipers & PGP's present. Seeing this curlew sandpiper below still retaining nearly all of its summer-breeding plumage was a nice treat and even though I hadn't forgotten how good they looked I just needed reminding. This bird really did stand out and looked smart as it was surrounded by all the greys, whites and pale browns of all the other waders present in winter plumage.

At the start it was a case of trying to locate a roosting bird which would be either on one of the bunds (above) or in amongst the masses roosting in the shallows (below).
We continued to scan and as the sun began to slowly set in the sky above us the birds began to become active and began to feed as they always do at this time of day "Wader O' clock" and then we managed to obtain some better feeding views of 2 individuals on the same salt pan close by with a 3rd bird on another pool in the distance.
I just enjoyed this moment, watching these Spoon Billed Sandpipers feeding in the nice late afternoon / early evening light. I still enjoy seeing & watching these birds in their winter plumage on their wintering grounds just as much as I ever did and don't think I will ever tire of them as nothing seems to quench the thirst for this special species.

As the sun began to slowly set above us I felt a twinge of sadness as I realised this would be the last "setting sun over a spoon billed sandpiper scene" for me for this year. I reflected back over this " A year with Spoon Billed Sandpipers" and felt pleased that I had completed what I had set out to do by seeing and following Spoon Billed Sandpipers through their annual cycle by seeing them on the wintering grounds in Thailand, on their spring northward migration grounds in China, on their summer breeding grounds of Russia, during their autumn southward bound migration again in China and finally back to where the whole year started on their wintering grounds in the Gulf of Thailand.

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