Leif Rydell

Travel, birding and taking photos as the main purpose.

Thailand Dec 16

From December 22:nd I went to Thailand with my family  on a classic family holiday. We stayed 4 days in Bangkok (from where I went to Park Thale with a hired guide) and 8 nights in Ao Nang close to Krabi. We also spent 2 nights on the bus down and up this location. A 24 seater is a cheap and decent way to travel during night as the seats are quite comfortable. You also save the money for two hotel nights this way.

Bus to Krabi

Going down to Krabi I had planned some biding of course. Down here you have Krabi river mouth, mangroves close up for some good birding. I hired a boat man for a couple of hours and took a walk to look for shore birds. I didn't´t come up close at this location and one of few birds that came close was this Common Greenshank. I´d hoped for Nordmann´s but lack of time and long distances made me go back without seeing it.

common Greenshank

We also took a walk in a nearby villige where I saw this cattle and Cattle Egret together. It was a pretty nice walk  and I also saw (among others) a few Brown Shirkes.

Cattle and cattle

Brown Shrike female

One hour from Krabi is KNC which is world wide known to be the only location for Gurney´s Pitta. I realized my chances were small as I had no guide and timing of the year not good. Tragically this spot is destroyed by all tourists that come for the Emerald Pool which also is located here. They have closed down all the trail and made it a tourist trap. This model of the Pitta is probably the closest any birder will come from now on.


Almost deserted from birds because of all screaming people I saw I few nice Golden Orb Spiders and this handsome Malayan Tree Nymph.

Golden Orb

Golden Orb 2

Golden Orb 3

Malayan Tree Nymph

On the way back we stoped at Tiger Temple just north of Krabi town. Here I had a few hours of good birding and among others I saw this beautiful Blue Whistling Thrush and a group of 10 Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters and at the temple several families of Long-tailed Macaques.

Blue Whistling Thrush

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

Long-tailed Macaques

As I had rented my own car we were quite free to make our own decisions. I booked one night up in Khao Sok National Park for just me and my daughter. We stayed at the very nice Tree tops just at the border to the park. Birding was quite slow in the jungle but around the headquarter I saw some birds like this Wallace´s Hawk Eagle and a pair of Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrikes.

Tree.tops Khao Sok
The view from the restaurant at Tree Tops, very cosy. 

Wallace´s Hawk Eagle

Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike

Inside the park we met a family of Spectacled Langurs which are very cute indeed. One of them carried a new born baby which was light brown in color.

Spectlaced Langur

At the western side of Ao Nang is Hat Nopparat Thara. This is a river mouth and when the tide is low there usually are some shore birds. About 50 Lesser and Greater Sand Plovers were here and made a good time of study as these birds (especially in non-breeding plumage) can be quite tricky. I hope I made the right decision below. First 3 Lesser and then 3 Greater.

Lesser Sand Plover

Lesser Sand Plover

Lesser sand Plover

Greater sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover

While taking these photos I saw a much brighter birds alone further away. Thinking it was Kentish Plover (nominate) made me later realize it was a White-faced Plover. This bird is still a race of the Kentish but is by some taxonomists regarded as a full species.

White-faced Plover

White-faced Plover

Just next to it was this Common Sandpiper and in the trees next to the beach these cute Collared Kingfishers.

Common Sandplover

Collared Kingfisher

Staying at Ao Nang means you have to take some boat trips to the nice islands further out. Out here you will probably have no problem seeing Brahminy Kite and perhaps Pied Imperial Pigeon.

Brahminy Kite

Pied Imperial Pigeon

If you ever go here I can recommend Green View Resort, where we stayed. A nice garden and some interesting habits close by. Among the more common was this Brown-throated Sunbird.

Brown-throated Sunbird

We went back to Bangkok for a few days. Long before I had booked a guide to take me to Pak Thale which is the only decent place to see the magic Spoon-billed Sandpiper. I have never been so nervous in my life for a birding trip as this morning. After a couple of hours driving we reached the location and had a very rustic breakfast in a tented shed where a local woman sold fish soup for 10 Swedish Crowns. Hong, my polite and kind guide brewed some coffee for me.


As the sun started to rise we made our way towards the small salt lakes where all the waders like to rest and feed. The morning was quite windy and the flocks of birds restless in their behavior. At one spot we found a flock of about 500 Red-necked Stints which we started to look through. At one momentI had a brief look at one Spoon-billed which was quite a relief, but of course I wanted a better look. Suddenly all the shore birds took off and we had to move to other spots. Hong´s local friend and expert Lang also came along for our mission to see it better. The wind became calmer and so did the birds and after some looking we found not only one but three Spoon-billed Sandpipers. The first was at rest and we were not sure if it was one because of the resemblance of the Red-necked Stint. But as it woke up it turned and I had a very good look at the magic bill, what a moment! I have probably dreamt about this bird for 25 years. The picture is not mine but Hong´s as our bird was a little bit to far out for a picture.

Spoon-billed (Hong)

You can see how happy I was on the next photo.

Sign Spoon-billed

The rest of the day we spent driving around and looking for other species I hadn't on my list, like Three-toed Stint which was quite plentiful. We saw 2 Asian Dowitchers as well but too far away for decent photos.

Long-toed Stilt

Long-toed Stint

As a shore bird entusiast, this is heaven. I could easily spend several days looking at these and learn more about plumages and behavior. Many species are

known from my home but still nice to see in this incredible mix. As follows; Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper and Common Greenshank. The last is showing a Spotted Redshank and a Ruff.

Black-tailed Godwit

Curlew Sandpiper

Little Ringed-Plover

Wood Sandpiper

Common Greenshank

Spotted Redshank and Ruff

The next bird confused me as I´m not very familiar to see a Broad-billed Sandpiper in this plumage.

Broad-billed Sandpiper

Birds possible in Sweden but seldom seen was March Sandpiper and Red-necked Stint (the 2nd picture together  with a Curlew Sandpiper).

March Sandpiper

Red-necked Stint

Red-necked Stint and Curlew Sandpiper

Only once before I have seen the Pacific Golden Plover so this one was a nice pick.

Pacific Golden Plover

At one salt pond I saw this flock of Black-naped Terns, which had a behavior I hadn't seen before. They were hovering almost like a hummingbird and just picking at the surface for food.

Black-naped terns

This Slender-billed Gull was the only one we saw and is quite uncommon here.

Slender-billed Gull

One of the most common bird here was the Black-winged Stilt but still an awesome beauty.

Black-winged Stilt2

Black-winged Stilt

A few hundred meters inland there is some more marcy areas were I saw this Pond Heron, which I don´t dare to say which species it is in this plumage.

Pond-Heron sp.

My last picture from this trip is on a pair of dancing Little Egrets saying bye for now!

Little Egrets

Birds list by location

Green View resort
Whie-browed Waterhen 4, Chinese Pond-heron 1, Asian Palm Swift 5-6, Brown Shrike 2, Blue Whistling Thrush 1, Streak-eared Bulbul 2-4, Common Tailorbird 2-3, Olive-backed Sunbird 5-7, Brown-throated Sunbird 2-3, Red-backed Flowerpecker, Oriental Magpie-robin 2-3, Swallow about 10
4-islands, Poda: Blue Rock-thrush 1, Blue and White Flycatcher 1, Yellow-browed warbler 1, Dark-sided Flycatcher 1, White-bellied Sea eagle 3, Brahminy Kite7-8, Pied Imperial Pigeon 4.
Krabi River including local village: Brown-winged Kingfisher 1, Collared Kingfisher 1, Common Snipe 3-4, Pintail Snipe 1-2, Wood sandpiper 1, Asian Koel 1, Green-billed Malkoha 1, Dollarbird 1, Indian Roller 2, Richard´s Pipit 1, Oriental reed Warbler 1.
River mouth: Great Knot 10, Godwit, L sand Plover 150, Gr sand Plover 20, C Greenshank 10, Sanderling 1, Ruddy Turnstone 2, Terek Sandpiper 20, Eu curlew 40.
Mangrove Walk:  Common tailorbird 1, Ashy tailorbird 1, Oriental White-eye 1, Arctic Warbler 1, Yellow-browed warbler 1.
Tiger cave: Mountain Hawk-Eagle 1, Black-capped Kingfisher 1, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater 10, Blue Whistling Thrush 3, Crimson Sunbird 1 male, Vernal hanging Parrot 2, Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike 2, Grey Wagtail 1, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker 2, Olive-backed Sunbird 6, Coppersmith Barbet 1, House Swift 3,
Hat Nopara Thara: Gr Sand Plover 10, L Sand Plover 35, White-faced Plover 1, Common Sandpiper 1, Collared Kingfisher 2, White-throated Kingfisher 1.
Khao Sok N.P: Blyth´s Hawk Eagle 1, Grey-eyed Bulbul, Streak-eared Bulbul, Arctic Warbler 2, Pale-legged Warbler 2, Yellow-breasted Warbler 2, Asian Brown Flycatcher 1, Brown-streaked Flycatcher 2, Grey Wagtail 1, Moustashed Babbler 1, Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike 2, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker 2, Orange-breasted Flowerpecker 2.
Pak Thale: Spoon-billed Sandpiper 3, Red-necked Stint 500, Long-toed Stint 30, Curlew Sandpiper 10, Broad-billed Sandpiper 10, Eu. Curlew 300, Black-tailed Godwit 200, C. Greenshank 40, Asian Dowitcher 2, L Sand Plover 200, Gr Sand Plover 25, Marsh Sandpiper 30, Wood Sandpiper 30, Pacific Golden Plover 3, Little Ringed Plover 20, Ruddy Turnstone 3, Black-winged Stilt 300, Black-naped Tern 40, Brown-headed Gull 200, Slender-billed Gull 1, Little-Intermediate and Great Egret (all common), Purple Heron 1, Red-collared Dove 2, Oriental Sky Lark 3-4, Brown Shrike 2,


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