Saturday, 18 May 2013

Painted-snipes in Thailand

During the last week of July last year, I observed quite many nesting Greater Painted-snipes in my local patch, Ban Cho Lae, Chiang Mai. I found 3 nests just within one block of rice field! Each nest had 3 eggs. One of the nests was unbelievably exposed, just laying out there in the middle of open flooded field. I could just spot it from the car while driving. In fact, I spotted a female sitting on the nest laying eggs while I was driving! Don't ask if I'm a good driver.

Male Greater Painted-snipe sitting on a nest

Trying to decorate the roof

Here's the female while laying eegs

Just can't believe how exposed the nest was.

Another nest, also with 3 eggs

Male bird taking a break after incubating for hours

Because I used a hide, the birds were pretty much relaxed and I could get photos of them in different actions. Too bad, the female never showed up around the nests again after finishing her job, which was to lay the eggs, and I only observed that from my car from the distance.

The beautiful female taken early in the morning from my car window.
Original image is very dark and this one is heavily cropped.

It's one of the most difficult birds to take photos for me.

Male bird sitting on a nest

Slowly wading through the water. Why?

Another male bird has trespassed its territory!
They briefly engaged in a fight before the visitor fled away.

Resting and yawning

Slowly creeping back to the nest

It circled around before actually walking up to the nest,  what a tricky bird.

"Is it safe?"

"OK, safe enough. I'll walk up the nest."

It could sit like this for several hours then take a walk for about 10-15 minutes and come back.

Sometimes incubating can be so boring.

This was taken after I packed up my stuff and was walking back to my car.
The owner of the nest was trying its best to camouflage.

"I bet no one sees me."

Then I walked pass another nest and saw this.
But in the end, it was an extremely sad story. I drove back to check the nests one evening and saw a farmer ploughing the whole field where nests were. I was completely stunned. My hope was to observe these nests and see small chicks growing up after the parents. Instead, all the 9 chicks never had a chance to see the world. What made it even more dramatic was a lone male bird which kept coming back to the area where the nest used to be, but was then turned into just a chunk of mud. How many times these birds had to nest and fail, I wonder.


  1. Sad to hear about the farmer destroying the nests. The same happens here sometimes when they farmers clear the long grass next to the ricefields in June...........all those birds who had built nests there have no chance.