The Snipes Return September 14, 2016
A couple of weeks back, I had planned to re-visit the Burmese border in Ratchaburi for the weekend only to find my plans thwarted at the last minute. As with most of my recent plans, the trip was now off, so I opted for a Friday night beer with a friend. As we sat drinking and chatting, I caught a flash of a Snipe pass by and drop into a nearby rice field. This got me thinking, “was it snipe time again?” As I now had commitments for the Saturday I decided to make it a priority to check out the local fields on Sunday morning.
Sunday morning, I ventured along the road sides of fields where I had seen them last year. No sooner as I stopped, the first Snipe appeared. As it took its morning clean and preen, I managed to get plenty of shots off of its tail end confirming my first Pintail of the year.
Soon, another much paler Pintail specimen turned up posing for a few shots. After giving the field a scan for a few minutes, it turned out there were at least 20 specimens in clear view, with, I think many more likely present.
As the Snipes were mostly quite far off, I decided to head off to another local lane through rice paddies and scrub land to check if I could spot any Red Avadavats. Sadly no reds seemed to be about yet and as the sun was rising higher, I opted to head back to the Snipes. There were still plenty of individuals about across a single freshly ploughed up rice field. One can never be too sure, but I would say there must have been at least 30+ different Snipes that morning. As more species were turning up, a pair of crows turned up and made short work of sending the Snipes fleeing to another distant field. Overall, a good few hours morning sniping. Other species of note were a pair of Lesser-whistling Ducks, Oriental Pratincoles, Black-winged Stilts, Wood Sandpipers, Pacific Golden Plovers, Large-billed Crows, Yellow Wagtails and a single Watercock.
Thanks to K. Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok for his expertise in helping me to identify the snipes
I returned over the next week or so for 3 or 4 short passing trips, many Snipes and others were still present. The Oriental Pratincoles obliged for a few nice shots. I also observed, amusing, if not strange behavior of the Yellow wagtails chasing everything that flew..