With a high tide scheduled for a about 1830 I thought there would be nothing better than an afternoon at Laem Pak Bia, especially as waders are now on the move. I fancied trying to add Little Stint to my list as it has been reported in recent weeks from Laem and from Kok Kham.
On arrival just after 1400 it was hot and sunny and smallish groups of waders were already coming in off the coastal flats, notably Black-tailed Godwits interspersed with small numbers of Common Redshanks. A couple of Lesser Sand-plovers, still showing some breeding plumage, were playing on a dry sand bank. Overhead Curlew Sandpipers were coming in off the sea. A solitary Spot-billed Pelican was listlessly gliding around the big pond …. As the afternoon continued a further five Spot-billed Pelicans came down in the same pond. The unmistakable sight of two of these huge birds high in the sky got me wondering how on earth they navigate. How did they know to come down at that spot?
It was so pleasant, with a decent breeze coming in off the sea, that I got out the deck chair and sat out in the sun for an hour. There were about 200 Black-tailed Godwits scattered around and there is always the possibility of finding an Asian Dowitcher in amongst them at this time of year or even a Bar-tailed Godwit. So I got the scope out but nothing jumped out.
There were Common Greenshanks, Common Redshanks, a few Spotted Redshanks, one Marsh Sandpiper but not much else. I took advantage of the conditions to recap on separating Common and Spotted Redshanks. Probably the easiest way is the Spotted’s lack of a white patch on their secondaries. But to use that they have got to be flying. Elsewhere good numbers of Painted Stork but no sign of Milky.
At about 1600 I went into the King’s Project. Some of the Pond Herons were still showing enough color to enable Chinese to be distinguished from Javan. Lots of Indian Shags many of which were still in breeding plumage, showing the diagnostic white tuft behind their eyes. I got the digiscope rig set up and, using the truck as cover, took advantage of the opportunities to get in close.
Nothing of great significance on the bird front. Three Streaked Weavers were bathing in the recently hacked down
reed beds in amongst the usual suspects. There were two Long-Toed Stints in other ponds.
I went on to the Abandoned Building at about 1730. With hopes of a Little Stint I drew a complete blank – not a solitary wader. So I headed back to Laem Pak Bia for the last light of the day. There were two candidates for Little Stint in wet sand but in the fading light any call would have been wishful thinking on my part. As I got my tripod out they flew. Probably Red-necked Stints.