Tuesday 6 March 2012

T-land: Day 1 - part 2

After enjoying a high diversity of shorebirds in the morning, Mira and I made our way further south to the village of Laem Phak Bia where there is a woman who speaks English. She happens to live with a man, and that man happens to owns a boat, and (happens to be) a birder himself. Luckily for him there is a sand spit a few kilometers downstream. And on that sandspit is a bird with a white face that is essentially impossible to find anywhere else on this planet. In fact, as far as I know, it has never been seen anywhere else other than a 20km radius from this location. Yet they do migrate away every year so they must be somewhere else.

That has pretty much guaranteed him and his family a steady income and a monopoly on the species. The best way to see the bird is pay him to ferry you to the point and show you the bird. If there's anyone interested in maintaining their local environment it's him. If these birds leave from this one location his main source of income disappears.

He charges 800 Baht for the trip which is about $26. For that you get a 2-3 hour trip to a sand spit with a local guide who will show you the specialty birds. If anyone is going to find the birds, it's him.

From the coastal community we went downstream to the open ocean and eventually beached ourselves onto the small sandy island at the tip of the sand spit.

Upon arriving on the island I was happy to see plenty of Terns and Gulls:

In the mix were Caspian Terns (big bright red bills), Great Crested Terns (big dull orange bulls), a few Lesser Crested Terns, Little Terns, Common Terns (most of the smaller terns in the photo are COTE's), Brown-headed Gulls (on the left) and 1 Black-legged Kittiwake (a rarity for the region - it flushed before I could get a photo of it).

Malaysian Plovers were common:

And, of course, the White-faced Plover. We only came across 1 bird - but 1 is enough: