Saturday, 7 July 2012

Early Morning Waders

This is going to be the last post for waders photos that I took during my short visit to the Gulf of Thailand in early April. I only had few hours in the morning for birding at Laem Pak Bia. The only target for my last day was the beautiful Red-necked Phalarope which is a scarce bird in Thailand. You can see photos of them here. However, I didn't only take photos of the phalaropes but I also took lots of photos of other waders that were feeding nearby. I really had fun taking photos of them in the nice early morning light. The most numerous species in that area was the smart Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis). They really do look better in breeding plumage.

Marsh Sandpiper in breeding plumage

There was quite a good number of them.

Some birds still hadn't gone through much of the moult.

The morning started as I spotted few Javan Pond Herons in stunning breeding plumage perching by the roadside. I took few photos of them, then I spotted another pond heron hiding in the bush nearby. I was a bit surprised to find that it's an Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii), a scarce but occasionally found bird at Laem Pak Bia. The bird was still going through a moult from non-breeding to breeding plumage.

Indian Pond Heron moulting into breeding plumage

Male Black-winged Stilt

Female Black-winged Stilt

Note the brown mantle of the female

Flock of Painted Storks with few Cattle Egrets

Apart from the Red-necked Phalarope and the Indian Pond Heron, there was nothing quite special. But I did enjoy taking photos of common birds a lot, as the lighting and the weather were extremely fine. It was so relaxing to sit there taking photos of small birds that were walking all over the place in front of me. I even enjoyed taking photos of the abundant Black-winged Stilts (Himantopus himantopus), a species I'd never thought that I'd take photos of them seriously until I went to Japan. Most of them were moving in pairs. Male bird has completely slightly glossy black wings with completely clean white head, while the female has black wings with brownish mantle and greyish mottle on the head and hind neck.

Non-breeding Marsh Sandpiper

Love it when it fluffs up its feathers.

Feeding on the same kind of artemia as the phalaropes

I really like its spotted breeding plumage.

There were few other species of waders apart from the Marsh Sandpiper and Red-necked Phalarope that were feeding within the same area. These were a single Sanderling in non-breeding plumage, few Common and Spotted Redshanks, a Common Greenshank and some Curlew Sandpipers. The Sanderling was my favourite. It kept frightfully running towards me. Probably it wanted to forage near the place where I was sitting but it was also afraid of my existence. Anyway, it eventually came foraging right in front of me. Its tiny body almost completely filled the frame.

The unusually tame Sanderling

Shame it was still in non-breeding plumage.

Common Greenshank moulting into breeding plumage

Common Redshank in non-breeding plumage

Another shot of the Black-winged Stilts (male in front with female in the background)

Curlew Sandpiper starting to moult into breeding plumage

Stretching; showing its completely white rump


  1. This is another fine collection, Ayuwat. The Sanderling is another wader that is in my "wish" list.

  2. I like these photos because they show how long-legged the Marsh Sandpiper is compared to say a Wood Sandpiper.