Friday, 23 March 2012

Spoon Billed Sandpiper @ Khok Kham 20/03/2012.

It was a hot arrival at Khok Kham and as ever I met with Suchard for lunch and then we went back to his house (above). We sat in the shade with a soft drink catching up. I have woken up in the above house with many a hangover over the years. During our conversation we worked out that this was the 10th year in a row that I had been visiting Khok Kham in order to see Spoon billed Sandpipers. I don't know any one else from outside of Thailand with that track record do you ? more importantly is the fact that a decade of my life has passed since my very first visit to this place, a place that has captivated me for so very long. (Now just where did those 10 years go ?)

By mid afternoon we grabbed a much needed coffee as I had arrived in Bangkok, Thailand during the early hours this morning from a flight from Brisbane - Sydney - Bangkok and the lack of sleep was starting to catch up with me. Afterwards we ventured out on to the salt pans where we both began scanning through the waders. (Suchard above and a rather poorly lit salt pans below).

It seemed to take for ever to locate a Spoon billed Sandpiper of which 3 were present this winter: see blog post:

Recently only 2 have been seen with this single bird late this afternoon. I felt at ease once I had managed to obtain some reasonable prolonged views through the scope but found it difficult trying to get any half decent shots. Also present this afternoon was the usual selection of waders in various stages of moult but more interestingly was a partially albino Red necked Stint that looked more like a winter plumaged Sanderling. As I watched the individual above I lost myself in the moment, just watching this bird feeding, sweeping it's spatulate bill from side to side & occasionally being kicked by the nearby Red necked Stints I began thinking of the migration that this bird has ahead of it and what lays ahead for the future of the species.

As the sun began to drop in the heat hazed distance I kept watching the bird above and as I always do I stayed with it and watched it as if it could be my last ever sighting of this truly unique species of wader. The reason for this is because one day it will be my last view. Sadly I didn't have time today for a Chang fuelled night ahead as I had to get back to central Bangkok to get ready for my next flight. I had just over 24 hours in Bangkok but still managed to grab a much needed SBS fix.

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