Sunday 5 February 2012

Spoon-billed Sandpipers in my Crosshairs

I must confess that I have joined the birding band-wagon and am mildly (extremely) obsessed with Spoon-billed Sandpipers. There are several species of birds (and other flaura & fauna) throughout the world that are similarly on the verge of extinction and many are in much more dire situations. But Spoon-bills are an enigmatic shorebird from the arctic that have the unique (to shorebirds) feature of a spoon-shaped bill. That coupled with photos such as:
Photo from BBC 

and this one are sure to add to the appeal!
Photo from SBSProject

Judging by current trends the species will become extinct near the end of the next decade - thus the "emergency mission to save the species" - and also my desire to see them by the end of the month! I will conveniently be visiting Thailand, and more specifically, Pak Thale - South East Asia's premiere shorebirding spot where I will (hopefully) enjoy the company of Spoon-billed Sandpipers - among several other species of shorebirds as well as my girlfriend, Mira :)

Along the route we hope to see Nordmann's Greenshank, the newly described "White-faced" Plover, wild elephants and many many more amazing species that adorn our Planet.

My obsession with birding really took a surge a few years ago while guiding an American birder in Newfoundland (NL). We were having a pretty average day in terms of birds, but for him the most exciting thing was the amazing coastline that he was taking in. I then realized that he nor I would never have seen this amazing area without the lure of birds - and then I think of all the other fun places I've been (Carden Alvar, Point Pelee, Pyrenees...) and I can only be thankful with this obsession!

Most people I know in NL haven't even heard of Mistaken Point, have never seen a sandy beach on the island nor had much experience of exploring the remarkable coastline of NL - and nor would I had it not been for birding.

That's why I am letting my travels be guided by the pursuit of birds - not only do I achieve a goal (of seeing lots of birds) but I take in an incredible journey to places few other tourists go! So bring it on Spoon-billed (and every other bird in the vicinity)!!