This post will still be about my half-day visit to Khok Kham on April 7. Even though it was mainly overcast throughout the afternoon, there was also a short period of sunlight around 4pm. It was around the time when I moved to another area where I was told that a Spoon-billed Sandpiper was spotted few days earlier. There were lots of waders scattering around the area. I scanned the salt pans and spotted a flock of waders with high concentration of Red-necked Stints. I assumed that the Spoon-billed Sandpiper should be among that flock so I slowly made my way towards that flock of stints. Along the way, it's impossible for me not to stop for taking photos of other waders that were around me. Here's a selection of some of them.
|Pacific Golden Plover in breeding plumage|
|This one has just started to moult.|
|Female (?) Lesser Sand Plover in breeding plumage|
|Female Ruddy Turnstone in breeding plumage|
Lesser Sand Plover was obviously the most numerous species in the area. Most of them were already in their colourful breeding plumage making it a very beautiful sight. Pacific Golden Plover was also numerous but tended to scatter throughout the area rather than staying together in flocks. They sure looked really smart in breeding plumage. Several Ruddy Turnstones were also found sitting along the dikes but they proved to be much shyer than the ones I photographed in Japan few years ago.
|Male (front) and female (back) Black-winged Stilt in breeding plumage|
|Grey Plover in non-breeding plumage|
|Red-necked Stints in breeding plumage|
|Male Lesser Sand Plover in breeding plumage|
|The race schaeferi shows completely black forehead.|
|This Broad-billed Sandpiper looked stunning in its full breeding plumage.|
|Curlew Sandpiper assuming breeding plumage|
|Another individual with more brightly coloured plumage.|
I realised as I was lying on the muddy ground trying to creep towards all these birds that I actually enjoyed it a lot. It was really difficult to get close to them but at the end, I found it really rewarding. I could get photos of so many species of waders in such a short period of time. I actually thought that if I had my telescope with me, I could probably have picked out several more species from the distant groups. I spent my time taking photos of waders until the very last minute before it got almost completely dark. As I came walking back to my car with satisfaction, I met Gerry from Birds of Thailand and Beyond. I told him where the Spoon-billed Sandpiper was and I was glad to know that he also saw it. Hope I can come back to this wonderful place again in the next wader season.
|Common Redshank in breeding plumage|
|Another stretching shot|
|A very confiding Broad-billed Sandpiper|
|The abundant Red-necked Stint also looked stunning in its full breeding plumage|
|Eastern Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa melanuroides) assuming breeding plumage|
|The very first sight of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper!|
|More photos of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper here|