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Biggest Twitch
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Birding by boat Thai style

Bung Boraphet sign Thai

After an early breakfast we met our boatman at Bung Boraphet Nature reserve, a vast wetland area, we could see from the bank of the lake it was teaming with birds! A lot of management work was taking place at the reserve entrance, we could have done with pumps like these at RSPB Conwy!

Marsh Pump 1 Thai

The reserve staff were lowering the water levels of one area to encourage the growth of water-lillys. The earth bank seperating the high and low water levels was very weak looking and we wondered if it would hold back the millions of gallons of water held behind it. No sooner were we under way when a White-browed Crake strode across a pacth of lillys - what a great start.

Marsh lillies 1 Thai

Our little boat headed out into the seemingly endless wetalnd that stratched ahead of us. Everywhere we looked there were birds, a magical place and so peaceful, we seemed to be the only visitors to the reserve.

Grey headed Swamphen 1

One of the most numerous species was the impressive Grey-headed (Purple) Swamphen, we saw hundreds of these giant moorhens. Purple Herons were very common, plenty of Yellow Bitterns and a rare Black Bittern and it was surpring to see lots of Eastern Stonechats out in the marsh. Huge flocks of Lesser Whistling Ducks wheeled over the area and amongst them we picked out hundreds of Garganey. We were in a bird paradise!

Lesser whistling Duck fly Thai 1

As we moved slowly through the wetland a large passerine shot out of the grassland and dived back in, out of sight. Nick was quick to identify the bird, a Striated Grassbird, our boatman skillfully manouvered our craft closer to where the bird dived for cover. We waited and watched, movement in the vegetation and then up it popped!

Striated Grassbird 1 Thai

We came across several long canoes that the local fisher folk were working from. Their mode of dress was unusual to say the least! They did not look like Thai fisher folk at all, more like terrorists about to launch a deadly attack! But of course like all Thai's they were very friendly and waved as we floated past, probably smiling under their balaclavas?!

Fisherwomen Thai

We landed on a small island where we were amazed by the hundreds of Black-crowned Night Herons that were roosting here. We had never seen anything like it before the small trees were packed with these herons. A colony of Little Cormorants here also held Indian Cormorant and Darters. As we got back on board a stunning Long-tailed Shrike posed for us.

Long tailed Shrike 1 Thai

The time had flown by, we had been out for about four hours and it was now very hot. We had seen thousands and thousands of birds on our leisurly cruise and enjoyed the most wonderful wetalnd wilderness.

Intermediate Egret Thai 2

Eastern Marsh Harrier 1

Egrets, particularly Intermediate, were so common and we enjoyed close encounters with Eastern Marsh Harriers as we headed back to the landing quay. It had been a wonderful way to spend the morning and we thanked our boatman for his skill in getting us so close to so many birds.

Marsh view 1

Lots more Thailand adventures still to come do check back soon, thanks.


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