November 2017 News

A blog of sightings and up-to-date news from the lakeside

Wednesday 1st November [Warm in the sunshine]

I spent a good deal of the day working with Ken Carruthers on another nest platform overlooking the lake today. When we finished our work, I went down for a look around and, although there were a fair number of waterfowl, it is still hard to find anything out of the ordinary to report. This afternoon I counted 125 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus and 6 Northern Pintails Anas acuta. While looking for ringed gulls at the Lodge (I didn't spot any) a Water Rail Rallus aquaticus squealed in Pipe Bay reeds, and I watched 5+ Northern Shovelers Anas clypeata diving for food again while I was in Top End hide.

Mark Hynam has had a reply to his BTO enquiry about the Mute Swan Cygnus olor with the darvic Green XW9 that reads as follows:

"The Mute Swan you saw at Blagdon Lake recently with the colour ring XW9 was one that had been ringed by us at the RSPCA wildlife centre at West Hatch near Taunton. It was admitted to us on 03/02/16 from a school grounds in Braunton in Devon where it had crash landed in the playground.  After a clinical examination and treatment to deal with the wounds from the crash landing, it was ringed and released, along with some other swans, at Chew Valley Lake (ST5758) on the 30/03/16.  It weighed 9.6 kg at release. This is the first reported sighting of this bird since release.  It is good to know it is doing well and interesting to note that it has not traveled far from the release location. Many thanks for reporting your sighting. Kind regards, Paul Oaten, Wildlife Centre Supervisor, RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Centre."

And, I've just received an email from Paul Roper of North Thames Gull Group with information about Black-headed Gull Yellow 2RBB:

Black-headed Gull ringed with metal ring EZ58015 fitted on 2nd April 2016 at Pitsea Landfill site in Essex. At ringing it was aged as Euring code 6 (third calendar year or older).

Thursday 2nd November [Mainly sunny]

Ken Carruthers and I finished the last Osprey nest platform this afternoon. Now to get it put up...

BOC Chairman, Ken Carruthers, with the final Osprey platform © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Afterwards, I visited the lake and saw 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba at Indian Country, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta, 11 Northern Pintails Anas acuta, and 257 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus. A young Peregrine Falco peregrinus flew in front of the Top End hide putting up the Lapwings and a single wader, probably a Green Sandpiper or Common Snipe. The wader climbed steeply while being pursued by the Peregrine, and may well have escaped, although they both flew over the hide and out of view. There were lots of waterfowl east of Rainbow Point, finally providing some interesting viewing from the Top End hide.

Friday 3rd November [Cooler & remaining dry]

It was late afternoon before I got down the hill to the lake, but having seen the vanguard yesterday, it came as little surprise to see 9 Great White Egrets Ardea alba today. I watched 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta fly in from the west as I was leaving, bringing the total to 4 of them, 6 Northern Pintails Anas acuta and 47 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus. There are now several hundred diving ducks, mainly at Top End, and I might count the Tufteds Aythya fuligula and Common Pochards Aythya ferina over the weekend. I couldn't find any rarities lurking among them though!

Much of the day before my visit was spent at an Environmental Stakeholders Workshop run by Bristol Water, as a representative of Bristol Ornithological Club and the BW Bird Wardens group. It was interesting to meet some of the representatives of the multitude of groups out there in BW land, and I hope that this will be the forerunner for more public engagement by the company in helping to shape and deliver their environmental strategy. I will feed back more when the notes have been circulated.

A couple of people have raised the issue of repairs being required to the boardwalk to Stratford Hide at Chew Valley Lake, and Steve Smith kindly reported back to me that works are scheduled to be carried out on 26th November by the conservation volunteers. They will be replacing the planks, and it is likely that this will require more than one day of work, so it is possible that it may be carried over to the following week, meaning that the hide may be out of action for 10 days to 2 weeks, although, of course, one must also bear in mind that the work may uncover more serious issues that will need to be addressed, resulting in a longer closure.

Saturday 4th November [Sunny spells with a cool breeze]

There was a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam at lunchtime, and a ringed adult Mute Swan Cygnus olor, Yellow CTN, on Tiny's Shallow. This is another one for the BTO database. While there were quite a few waterfowl around the Lodge and in Butcombe Bay, the vast majority were east of Rainbow Point, and the numbers seemed to have grown again compared with yesterday. Mark Hynam and I will attempt to count the Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula and Common Pochards Aythya ferina tomorrow morning because it seems to me we have the highest numbers of the year so far, although it's possible firework displays may frighten a few off the lake tonight.

At Top End I counted 101 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 19 Northern Pintails Anas acuta and at least one Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula, and there was just a single mobile Little Egret Egretta garzetta present today.

Sunday 5th November [Cold wind with some bright spells]

Mark Hynam got to the lake really early this morning and saw 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba fly in, apparently from over Blagdon village. They stayed for 15 minutes at Top End and then flew off towards Chew, so I'm expecting a record count from there today. When I arrived at 0900 hrs we both thought there had been a significant drop in duck numbers since yesterday, but we decided to count anyway. I totalled 1381 Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula, Mark counted 392 Common Pochards Aythya ferina, and we saw a ♂ Greater Scaup Aythya marila (off Rugmoor Point) and ♂ Tufted x Pochard hybrid (Green Lawn/Long Bay). There were probably up to 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta dotted about, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, and 114 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus.

Monday 6th November [A lovely sunny, though cool, day.]

Well it took me a while, but I eventually found the Greater Scaup Aythya marila again, but this time it was a juvenile/1st-winter. It was swimming quite quickly and eventually met up with the adult ♂ we saw yesterday. They're best looked for from Wood Bay Point. There were 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba feeding along the Indian Country bank, and 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta at the head of Butcombe Bay. Just off Wookey Point were 3 gorgeous adult ♂ Northern Pintails Anas acuta, and a ♂ Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula, while on the point itself were 42 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus.

Tuesday 7th November [Rain most of the day]

I had a look around during the afternoon and saw a single Great White Egret Ardea alba and just the one Little Egret Egretta garzetta in Butcombe Bay. In front of the Lodge there were 6 Dunlin Calidris alpina, and 8 of 14 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus among the gulls, two of which were ringed as follows:

I spotted the ♂ Aythya hybrid off Wookey Point, when peering through the rain from the hide, but couldn't see the pair of Greater Scaup which, if present, were probably too far away.

Wednesday 8th November [Sunny but cool]

There were 266+ Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, mostly at Top End, at lunchtime but they were frequently being spooked by agents unknown! Also noted, were the 2 Greater Scaup Aythya marila, a Great White Egret Ardea alba, 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 8 Northern Pintails Anas acuta, a Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula, and 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina (both adult winters, compared with yesterdays 5 juveniles and single adult winter). The gull flock was also spooked off Tiny's Shallow, just before I got out of the car to look through them. Presumably, there was a hungry Peregrine or Sparrowhawk checking the fare out.

Thursday 9th November [Overcast]

I went for a walk with friends this morning that took rather longer than expected, and what with having to go to Devizes early evening for the Wiltshire Bat group AGM, I ran out of time to get down to the lake. I saw that Rare Bird Alert reported a single Great White Egret and 2 Greater Scaup which I assume refers to today.

Friday 10th November [Sunny spells, cool, & windy.]

This afternoon there was a Great White Egret Ardea alba and a Little Egret Egretta garzetta at the head of Butcombe Bay. When I got to Wood Bay Point and was going through the Aythya flock something seemed to spook them all resulting in most of them flying up closer to me. This gave me the opportunity to look for the Greater Scaups Aythya marila and, having found them, I have decided that they're an adult ♂, and a juvenile/1st-winter ♂, so probably not a ♀. I have amended my earlier sightings accordingly. And, just to eat a little more humble pie, it occurs to me that the ♂ Aythya hybrid may infact be a Common Pochard x Ferruginous Duck, rather than Pochard x Tufted Duck. I'll need to have a closer look at it when I get another chance. I wasn't able spot the cause of the disturbance, it wasn't aerial so far as I could see, so may have been Otter(s) perhaps. Dunno!

At Top End, when everything had settled down again, I counted 7 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus and 10 Northern Pintails Anas acuta. I really must count the Gadwall Anas strepera, because there are quite a few still present. No Bewick's yet though, despite the first arrivals touching down at Slimbridge a couple of days ago (pers. comm. Steve Heaven, WWT).

Saturday 11th November [Wet & drizzly]

A visit at lunchtime wasn't especially productive and was quite damp! I didn't spot any egrets or Scaup, but counted 2 ♂ Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula (adult and 1st-winter), 15 Northern Pintails Anas acuta, and 19+ Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus. There were a number of Mute Swans Cygnus olor out of the water at Wood Bay Point, two of them with darvic rings:

Mid-afternoon, I had a call from Simon Isgar at Chew (thanks Simon), to say a Great Northern Diver might be heading my way, but sadly it didn't. However, I had a another look for the Greater Scaup Aythya marila and found both asleep off Rainbow Point.

I also saw another ringed Mute Swan on Wood Bay Point:

Sunday 12th November [Sunny with a bitter north wind]

I had a bit of a half-hearted look around late this afternoon, and saw a single Little Egret Egretta garzetta, the 2 Greater Scaup Aythya marila, 18 Northern Pintails Anas acuta, and 9 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus.

Monday 13th November [Sunny & cool]

Great to hear from Paul Williams this morning, and he reported seeing 5 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta. He looked for, and found, the 2 Greater Scaup Aythya marila, saw a single Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis with the Canada Goose Branta canadensis flock, and also saw a Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus and a ♂ Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula. I didn't get down to the lake until the end of the day and saw one Little and 5 Great White Egrets, as well as the Barnacle Goose and 3 Goldeneye. There are hundreds of duck still present though.

I have a visit arranged with a group called Bristol Savages tomorrow, so we'll have a good look around. Then, on Thursday, we'll be carrying out the monthly WeBS count, slightly early, because I'm off to Thailand on Friday to do some batting with Daniel Hargreaves and friends for 8 days, followed by a couple of days birding, before coming home towards the end of the month.

Mark Hynam had a reply from Chris Perrins about Mute Swan Yellow CYL as follows: "Yellow CYL (BTO ZY7384) was ringed as  an unsexed “5” (= hatched the previous year, 2013) on 27/10/2014 at Abbotsbury. It was there again at the July roundup in 2015, when its original darvic ring (Yellow CSY) was replaced, but was not there at the one in 2017)."

Tuesday 14th November [Grey with some rain & drizzle]

I had the pleasure of a visit with Bristol Savages today, but the weather wasn't too kind to us. Having had a look from the Lodge and along the road at Home Bay we drove to Green Lawn and went for a walk from there. It rained by the time we got to Rainbow Point! I saw 3 Dunlin Calidris alpina before everyone arrived, and spotted a Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis at the Lodge. A few of us got to the Top End hide and had a look through the host of wildfowl. There were 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, that were joined by a 5th later in the afternoon, as well as 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 4 Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula, and 20 (13♂♂) Northern Pintails Anas acuta. I thought I spotted one of the Greater Scaup in the drizzle, but despite going back for another look this afternoon, I couldn't find either bird later. At the Lodge I spotted a ringed adult Herring Gull Larus argentatus:

Wednesday 15th November [A very pleasant day]

This afternoon there were 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and a Little Egret Egretta garzetta around the lake, and a Dunlin Calidris alpina in front of the Lodge at Polish Water. Tomorrow, we will be carrying out the WeBS count.

Thursday 16th November [Bright & sunny, before clouding over later.]

The WeBS team of Roy, Phillip, Terry, Robert and myself carried out the count this morning and saw an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis, 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, singles of Little Egret Egretta garzetta and Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, the first Goosander Mergus merganser of the autumn, and a probable ♂ Tufted x Pochard Aythya hybrid that looked superficially similar to a Greater Scaup, and was probably the bird I saw in the drizzle on Tuesday. Ringed birds included one of the Great White Egrets and a Herring Gull:

There was also a ♂ Tufted Duck that appeared to have a red/orange nasal saddle that puzzled us for quite a while off Rugmoor Point - way too far away to read though. Top counts were 1366 Common Coots Fulica atra and 1160 Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula (full details on the WeBS Page).

Friday 17th November

I'll try to upload daily bulletins with a few photos from Thailand, and will post any lakeside news I receive, when I have internet connectivity, so keep your messages coming in. I have an overnight flight tonight from Bristol, via Amsterdam, to Bangkok, meet up with the others on Saturday, and set out on the bat expedition on Sunday morning (while keeping an eye out for birds and other wildlife, of course).

Saturday 18th November

Mark Hynam spent some time at the lake today (not trying to grip me off, or so he says), and only had 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba at Top End, and 3 Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula off Rugmoor to report. Thanks Mark.

BatThai 2017 Expedition:

I met up with most of the rest of the group at Bangkok airport before going to the hotel nearby, where we stayed for our first night. It was beside a waterway so there were bats and birds present. I went to bed after dinner and fell asleep until midnight. I eventually dropped off again and was woken by music and noise from the next room at 0230hrs. I gave up trying to sleep and got up. Jet lag rules!

Sunday 19th November

Mike O'Connor sent me news of 2 Goosanders Mergus merganser in Butcome Bay this morning. Thanks Mike.

Mark Hynam sent me the following too: "I’m at the lake now, it’s been a cracking afternoon weather wise, but not much change on the bird scene. 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba at Top End, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta, and 2 Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula." There was a large flock of Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis, and no egrets in Butcombe Bay, "just lots of people with loose dogs." He also recorded a couple of Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus there later.

BatThai 2017 Expedition:

I sat by the river in Bangkok as the sun came up and did some more birding. Then, after breakfast, we drove 450 km northeast along route 2 to Khon Kaen, where we spent the late afternoon with the farmers in the rice paddies (as seen on the Thailand documentary shown on the BBC recently) looking for and finding a number of Painted Woolly Bats Kerivoula picta, including a ringed ♂ in his mating roost with a ♀ under a banana leaf (see Merlin Tuttle's account and superb photos, taken on trip with Daniel a few years ago, of this stunning bat). We took some roost photos and hope to trap and photograph one or two in a flight cage tomorrow evening, after searching for more, plus any other species present during the day. I'm beginning to build a decent bird list as well, but unfortunately I can't share any photos while I'm away because I didn't pack my card reader.

Birds noted included: Black-capped Kingfisher, Coppersmith Barbet, Peaceful Dove, Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Cattle Egret, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Feral Pigeon, Asian Openbill, Streak-eared Bulbul, Asian Koel, and Black-winged Stilt.

Monday 20th November

No news from the lake today.

BatThai 2017 Expedition:

We've had a busy day here in Northeast Thailand. We were up at 0600 hrs for a shower and some breakfast before heading out to the Painted Bat village. We spent the morning looking under Banana leaves for roosting bats and found a few Painted Woolly Bats Kerivoula picta, and I found a Tomb Bat sp., possibly Long-winged Tomb Bat Taphozous longimanus, roosting on a palm trunk. We stopped for some lunch in the field, then continued looking for more bats before going back to the village in the early afternoon where we went to a lake and found some Horsfield's Myotis Myotis horsfieldii in a culvert. Various diversions to look at birds, invertebrates and tree frogs eventually found some of us back at the farmers house where his wife and mother were weaving silk. We asked if they could show us the process from silk worm to cloth, which was fascinating. After a short break, we headed out again to plant some Banana trees as part of the conservation effort to provide more homes for the bats, then we went back to the fields to set up some nets and a photo studio where we photographed a couple of the bats we'd found earlier in the day, before releasing them. We didn't catch any bats in the nets, so packed up and went back to the farmers home where we were treated to a fantastic spread and group photos, bought some silk, and then headed back to the hotel for the night.

Painted Woolly Bat, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Painted Woolly Bats roosting in a Banana leaf, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Common Tree Frog in a Banana leaf, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

♂ Yellow-striped Flutterer aka Yellow-barred Flutterer Ryothemis phyllis, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Birds noted included: 2 ♂ Black-shouldered Kites sparring, a ring-tail Pied Harrier, a pair of Collared Scops Owls, Scaly-breasted Munia, Ashy Woodswallow, Pied Bushchat, Red-collared Dove, Plain-backed Sparrow, Chinese Pond Heron, Brown Shrike, White-vented Myna, and Paddyfield Pipit.

Tuesday 21st November

No news from the lake today.

BatThai 2017 Expedition:

Lyle's Flying Fox in a Tamarind Tree, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Lyle's Flying Fox, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

We spent virtually the whole of the day driving from NE Thailand, through Central Thailand towards West Thailand today before stopping overnight in the ancient capital of Ayutthya. We did stop at a private property to see a camp of Lyle's Flying Foxes Pteropus lylei and take some pictures before moving on, to one only 11 Buddhist Temple sites used by the bats (where they are protected). Daniel reckons there are probably no more than 20 camps of this species in Thailand. We had a quick look around a street market before retiring to bed absolutely shattered.

Birds noted included: Black-collared Starling, Asian Pied Starling, White-breasted Waterhen, and Oriental Magpie Robin.

Oriental Magpie Robin, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Wednesday 22nd November

No news from the lake today.

BatThai 2017 Expedition:

Today we drove for another 3 hours to Kanchanaburi to visit the Bridge over the River Kwai to do our tourist bit. Then, we headed out further long the railway line to visit a cave where we saw Kitti's Hog-nosed Bats Craseonycteris thonglongyai (aka the Bumblebee Bat which weighs only 2 grams), and Black-bearded Taphozous melanopogon and Theobold's Tomb Bats T. theobaldi with a couple of rangers from Sai Yok National Park. Then, on reaching our hotel, we walked across the road to do some trapping in an area of cultivation. We caught 15 bats of 6 species, I think it was. Tomorrow is more of the same, as we're going on the river by dragon boat into the National Park to survey some more caves, away from the tourist areas with Park Rangers.

Greater Short-nosed Fruit Bat, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Black-bearded Tomb Bat, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Thursday 23rd November

No news from the lake today.

BatThai 2017 Expedition:

This morning we headed downriver to visit a cave in the jungle. I didn't make it to the cave because I chose not to wade a river with all my gear. However, Daniel sent us a Great Roundleaf Bat Hipposideros armiger to have a look at, while those who went across the river also saw Kitti's Hog-nosed Bats Craseonycteris thonglongyai again. Duuring the trip downriver we saw about a dozen Red-wattled Lapwings Vanellus indicus, a couple of Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, as well as Black-capped Halcyon pileata and White-throated Kingfishers H. smyrnensis. While some of us were waiting outside the cave we saw Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus and an unidentified blue and white Flycatcher. There were lots of butterflies coming to the water's edge to drink and no end of dragonfly spp. Afer lunch, we headed upriver by minibus to a new cave, where we tried to do some flight shots of Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat and look for new species. We didn't trap in the evening.

Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat (aka Bumblebee Bat), Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Friday 24th November

No news from the lake today.

BatThai 2017 Expedition:

This morning we checked one last cave before leaving the Kanchanaburi district by walking along a short length of the railway line. To everyone's delight we found Lesser False-vampires Megaderma spasma; a bat that mainly eats large insects, unlike its bigger brother the Greater False Vampire Megaderma lyra that will also eat lizards and small birds, the feathers of which we've found in several roosts without seeing the bat, unfortunately. There were also a few Kitti's Hog-nosed Bats Craseonycteris thonglongyai (aka the Bumblebee Bat) in there too. Afterwards we set off for our next destination, Ratchaburi district, stopping for lunch along the way in Kanchanaburi. The streetside restaurant had a couple of Pied Fantails hawking insects in it! I now have a super room, next to Iain Hysom, overlooking a small lake full of Lotus flowers with Bronze-winged Jacanas on it. Nearby, we also saw Asian Koel, Green Bee-eater, Pied Fantail, Brown Shrike, Asian Pied Starling, Red-collared Dove, Flame-backed Flowerpecker, Oriental Magpie Robin, Coppersmith Barbet and, of course, egrets and pond herons while having a drink at the wonderfully named Starbat Cafe. As dusk fell we visited the temple grounds to witness the emergence of nearly 2 million Asian Wrinkle-lipped Bats Chaerephon picatus from the two caves in the grounds, then visited the night market for a stroll. We've got permission from the temple monks to go into the cave tomorrow morning while one of the local community co-operatives are also in there collecting bat guano for sale as fertiliser. They share the profits with the monks. It'll be a very early start, at 0530 hrs, before first light to see the bats come back to their roost.

Lesser False-vampire, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Pied Fantail, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Flame-backed Flowerpecker, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Javan Pond Heron, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Saturday 25th November

News from Mark Hynam today: 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba at Top End, an Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca, and 2 Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula. Thanks Mark.

BatThai 2017 Expedition:

What an awe inspiring spectacle awaited us this morning as the bats came back to roost from their overnight foraging. We spent quite some time with them in the cave and added two new species to our trip list, Intermediate Roundleaf Bat Hipposideros larvatus and Ashy Roundleaf Bat H. cineraceus, as well as seeing Black-bearded Tomb Bat Taphozous melanopogon again,and Asian Wrinkle-lipped Bat Chaerephon picatus in the hand. I climbed to the temple on the top of the hill with our guide, and after an afternoon exploring the paddy fields around the hotel with my binoculars and camera, we went back to see the bats emerge from the cave from a different viewpoint.

Intermediate Roundleaf Bat, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Black-bearded Tomb Bats, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Wrinkle-lipped Bat, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Long-tailed Macaque with Tamarind fruits, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Red-wattled Lapwing, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Black-winged Stilts, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Sunday 26th November

No news from the lake today.

BatThai 2017 Expedition:

We had a lovely group BBQ beside the pond at the hotel last night, with a few beers and the odd Brandy or two, before heading off to bed. This morning was a more leisurely affair as the batting had finished, we saw a Purple Heron on the pond, and after breakfast at Starbat, we were driven back to Bangkok to the fabulous Ariyasom Villa where myself, JoEllen Arnold, Ross Baker and Lynn Whitfield are staying for three days to do some guided birding with Nick Upton of ThaiBirding. Tomorrow morning he's picking us up at 0500 hrs for the 2 hour drive to Laem Pak Bia - Pak Thale to look at some shorebirds. We're 7 hours ahead of you guys in the UK, so you might get to see some pictures later, now that Iain has lent me a lead to download shots off my camera for storage.

Bedroom view at dawn, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Monday 27th November

No news from the lake today.


Four of us went out with Nick Upton today, leaving Bangkok at 0500 hrs for a visit to the saltpans and coast of Laem Pak Bia - Pak Thale. Our first port of call was to see the Spoon-billed Sandpiper at Pak Thale among the hundreds of Red-necked Stints, Broad-billed Sandpipers, Kentish, Lesser and Greater Sandplovers, Marsh and Curlew Sandpipers. We moved on to look at the several hundreds of Great Knot, (some) Red Knot, 1 Far Eastern and lots of Eurasian Curlews, Black-winged Stilts, Nordmann's Greenshanks, Common and Spotted Redshanks, White-winged Black and Whiskered Terns. Then another move to see Pacific Golden Plovers, Asian Dowitcher, Long-toed Stints, Common and Wood Sandpipers, 1 Bar-tailed and hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits. There was also an Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Richard's and Paddyfield Pipits along the salt bunds. After a Thai lunch stop, we had a boat trip out to the sand spit, almost flooded by the high tide, and saw Black-crowned Night Heron, Brahminy Kite, Malaysian and White-faced Plovers, Great Crested, Little and Common Terns, Chinese Egret and Pacific Reef Heron. When we got back we went to look at some Painted Storks, singles of Spot-billed Pelican, Temminck's Stint and Grey-headed Lapwing in flight, among the many species I could also add. But you get the flavour of what's on offer at this excellent site. A great day out with the shorebirds.

Long-toed Stints, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Marsh Sandpiper, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Pacific Golden Plover & Red-necked Stint, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Spotted Redshank, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Temminck's Stint, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Ruff, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Asian Dowitcher & Black-tailed Godwit, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Whimbrel in the Mangroves, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Malaysian Plover, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Great Knot, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Pond Heron, Pacific Reef Herons & Great Egret, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Painted Stork, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Spoon-billed Sandpiper with assorted shorebirds, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Tuesday 28th November

No news from the lake today.


JoEllen and I were picked up by Nick Upton at 0500 hrs again for another day of birding in the Phetchaburi District, but concentrating on inland birds today. We initially headed to a patch of half-decent woodland where we saw Black-headed Woodpecker, Hainan Blue Flycatcher, Puff-throated Babbler and Greater Necklaced Laughing Thrush among others, before we headed out towards the rice paddies. Unfortunately, the area was pretty severely flooded which made finding birds there extremely difficult for Nick in his usual hotspots. However, we gradually amassed a pretty decent day list that included Asian Golden Weaver, Oriental Reed Warbler, Blue-tailed Bee-eater and Yellow-bellied Prinia among many others. We had a good day, and Nick looked after us well on our two excursions, serving up up some great birds to round off the trip in an amazing country.

Asian Spotted Owlet & Black-headed Woodpecker, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Brown Shrike, Thailand © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Wednesday 29th November

Travelling home today and looking forward to visiting my patch again tomorrow.

I've been adding photos to the blog, taken in Thailand, that can be viewed by scrolling down the page. These will be added to over the coming days and will feature birds from the last two days and mainly bats for the preceding days. Enjoy!

Thursday 30th November [Sunny & cold]

I didn't get to the lake until 1618 hrs, when it was nearly dark, after running around during the day. I saw an Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca and a Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus in front of the Lodge. There was a curious distribution of waterfowl in several tight flocks for no apparent reason. Strange. Perhaps, I might get an opportunity to see what's going on tomorrow.

I received a phone call from Mike Bailey at CVRS this morning; he'd found a bat in the kitchen sink there. I went over at lunchtime, saw that it was underweight and dehydrated, so gave it a drink of water and took it to Kiri Green, our local carer, who gave it more water and a couple of mealworms. Hopefully, it'll pull through, but I wasn't too hopeful when I first saw it.