Finally, after all the hassle with my truck, it was finally great on Saturday to get it back again all fixed with the aircon now blowing nice and cold. So, where to on Sunday?? I had been chatting with Gary booth mid-week about Pak Phli as I had posted a picture of a Bluethroat for Ray Pearce’s challenge, 7 birds in 7 days. I thought “Off for the Bluethroats then”. We agreed to meet up on Sunday, promising ourselves not to get too rat-arsed on Saturday night. (Although I think I did!) I arrived at Pak Pli just after 7am and the sun was already scorching. I met up with Gary and we said our “Hello’s” then off to the birding. There must have been over 500 Black Kites at the roost site waiting for the thermals to give them their rides to the top of the sky. Up to 10 Kites in one small tree really is a sight to behold.
I left the kite roost for the area I had seen the Bluethroats before. Plenty of Stonechats were present, but no sign or sounds of the Blues. Along the road, 2 Common Kingfishers, a stunning Long-tailed Shrike and a solitary Wood Sandpiper were seen.
Gary rejoined me, and as he put it “The circus had just arrived!” Truckloads of happy snappers arrived for the spectacle of seeing the mass of Kites. I had noticed a lot more signs along the road that morning, it looks as if Pak Pli has become a popular tourist attraction now. (Wait for the entrance fees!!!)
We waited and wandered around the road area for an hour or two, but still no luck. Gary went off in search of getting some better views of the Kites and I opted to go off to the right down past the ponds. Along the road were plenty of Paddyfield Pipits and Indo-Chinese Bushlarks, but I didn’t see any Rosy’s. About 20 Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, 1 White-Throated and 1 Black-capped Kingfishers graced the pond, hunting for their prey.
For some reason, today the sun and the heat just seemed so intense that a lot of my birding had to be done in the aircon from the truck. Just after midday, I drove around the perimeter road to meet up with Gary. He pointed out some Spot-billed Pelicans far in the distance and we noted an Oriental Darter, a Black-capped and a Common Kingfisher.
I moved on again, taking the loop back to our original starting point. More Bee-eaters and Stonechats were ever present, with a pair of Bronze-winged Jacanas with a juvenile and Purple Herons gracing the fields. A single Striated Grassbird was pumping his lungs out atop a eucalyptus tree. A little further along I stopped at a small fish rearing lake which held 40+ Spot-billed Pelicans and a single Grey Heron. Due to the terrible stench from the lake I opted to not venture any further there!!
As I was heading back, I stopped to chat with a Thai birder who was waiting it out for the Booted Eagle that had been seen the previous day, he informed me of a usual perching spot for an Osprey. I decided to wait with him for a while. Sure enough the Osprey returned with a freshly caught fish in its talons, it perched and began its feast, ripping the fish apart. Unfortunately, it was so far off, my 300mm lens had no chance of getting me a decent picture. Gary had turned up and thankfully with the aid of his scope we manage a few pictures with our mobile phones.
With the time getting on now, I really wanted to spend a little more time to see if the Bluethroat would make an appearance, so I drove back to the site. As I arrived I met a young Thai lady taking pictures of a distant tree in the field. She pointed out the bird and I guessed it could be another Osprey, It was only when Gary came to the rescue again with his scope we could confirm it was a Marsh Harrier.
One more quick drive to the end of the road nicely turned up another Purple Heron and Yellow Bittern
Overall a good days birding with a few lifers for me and great to meet up with yet another Facebook friend. Many thanks and a pleasure to meet you Gary Booth. Hopefully the Bluethroats will be making an appearance soon so I can get back there and get a few more shots of this cracking little bird.