Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Seeing Nordmans Greenshank in Krabi

Seeing Nordmans Greenshank in Thailand is not that difficult at certain locations and Ban Pak Thale, Khok Kham and Krabi are all locations I have seen them at with a high count of over 40 birds in one single roosting flock at Ban Pak Thale one year. However most times they are seen at Ban Pak Thale they are just roosting in heat hazed distance away, Khok Kham can allow reasonable feeding views from the edge of the estuary at the sea-wall but Krabi does allow that little extra of close and prolonged views of feeding birds. Seeing them in Krabi used to be an easy and straight-forward process. All you had to do was hang around the main boat taxi pier at round 07:00hrs and you could guarantee Mr Dai would soon be there or you could pre-book it with Chan Pen tours. Sadly Steve Arlow advised me earlier this year of the death of Mr Dai and said that his son was now running the tours but Steve didn't think the son was any good.
Above shows the late Mr Dai, February 2007 (photo by Vincent Legrand). Mr Dai was known as the local bird-man and he was good. He could pick out a Nordmans with just the naked eye at a distance that was a close call for those using bins. He whistled in Mangrove Pitta's and knew the best places for all the mangrove specialities and even found Masked Finfoot many years ago. Anyone who has been out with Mr Dai will know what I am saying. It is just a shame his son is not as good nor as bothered. His son charges the exact same amount at 500 Thai baht per hour, average 3 hours. He is more of a glorified boat-taxi man and an expensive one at that. The last time I used him he called out "Nordmans walking" 8 times and each time it was either a Common Greenshank or a Barwit. I have been using different boatman within the area and I think I have found a good reliable and reasonably priced boatman.
Above is Mr Lim, he is not a bird guide but a good boat-man and he now knows the favoured feeding areas of Nordmans, he also knows the best place to locate Mangrove Pitta and has the call on his phone. He charges only 300 THB per hour and is contactable on: +660810772667. He pronounces Nordmans Greenshank as "Norsemans" but knows the area. So if your in the area and fancy looking for Nordmans it could be worth making contact with him.
Google earth image above shows you the area for feeding Nordmans Greenshanks. This is NOT the last area of exposed / open mud but is the last area the birds feed before heading off to roost at high tide. There are lots of other areas of raised sand-bars that remain exposed for longer during the rising / incoming tide but the Nordmans do not tend to favour these areas.
Above and below shows a Bar tailed Godwit that I also photographed yesterday at Krabi. I looked pretty hard but couldn't manage to locate any wearing colour or flag rings but it should be worth looking for these.
I first saw Nordmans Greenshank for myself here in February 2003 when I met Israeli birder Dubi Shapiro. We travelled down from Bangkok on the overnight bus, then went straight out on to the estuary that afternoon and managed to locate a couple Nordmans for ourselves. Since then any time I have been passing through Krabi I have always had to have a quick fix of this smart wader.

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