Birds of Laem Pak Bia, Thailand

If you are a nature lover, don’t miss a chance to go birdwatching in Thailand. The country’s varying ecosystems and its location along a major migration route account for the fact that nearly 1,000 species have been identified here. One of the best places for birding, particularly for shorebirds, is Laem Pak Bia, an area just about 2 hours from Bangkok. This region is also the best place to visit salt pans Thailand. The land juts out into the Bay of Thailand forming a sand spit and the shoreline includes some mangroves. This is also the site of Laem Pak Bia Environmental Research and Development Project (a Royally initiated “King’s Project”), which is the best location of all. Admission here is free and you can drive within around ponds using your car as a blind. There is also a proper observation platform/blind and a boardwalk trail into the mangroves. The variety of birds and their abundance is noteworthy. This photo gallery is composed of shots taken during two separate visits to the park. (All photos © Kevin Revolinski. Not to be used without permission.)

 

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Great Cormorant

 


Grey Heron

 

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Grey Heron

 

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Grey Heron

 

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Great Egret

 

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Not the best shot — too far, a bit blurry, so-so light — and I almost didn’t take it all. I figured, what, a pelican? Meh. Turns out this is a Spot-Billed Pelican. Back in 2002 there were less than 10,000 of them in the world, but now is up over that number a bit. Its appearance in Thailand is credited to better protection of breeding sites in Cambodia. It is still “Near Threatened” and was more important a sighting than I thought.

 

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Little Egret

 

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Little Cormorant drying itself

 

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Little Cormorant

 

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Brahminy Kite, always a tough one to get a good shot of as I always see them soaring high above us against a bright sky.

 

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Black-winged Stilt in flight

 

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Black-winged Stilt. You can see a lot of them in salt pan areas.

 

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Black-winged Stilt

 

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White-throated Kingfisher just a couple meters from the car.

 

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White-breasted Waterhen, an elusive little guy I finally got a semi-clear shot of it.

 

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Whiskered Terns are common here.

 

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Red-Wattled Lapwing

 

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I am separated from my birding books, so the Unknown Bird for now.

 

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The park has a number of rather large monitor lizards, crawling or swimming about…

 

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… and rudely sticking their tongues out at us.

 

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Little Green Bee Eater

 

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Little Green Bee Eater in flight.

 

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Little Grebe bearing its non-breeding plumage.

 

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Little Cormorant

 

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The series of ponds is just loaded with birds.

 

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Javan Pond Heron in nonbreeding plumage.

 

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In contrast, a Javan Pond Heron in breeding plumage.

 

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Javan Pond Heron in breeding plumage

 

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Common Snipe. And you thought snipe hunting was a myth?

 

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Great Cormorant

 
All photos © Kevin Revolinski. Not to be used without permission.

If you spot any mistakes in bird identification, please point them out. The guide I typically use is by Craig Robson:

 

If You Go:

This trip requires a car and is just over two hours driving from Bangkok (toward Hua Hin, see map below). Birding is best in the morning and late afternoon, but we’ve had an enjoyable time any time of day here. This excursion is in an area abundant with salt pans. Seeing Thai salt pans is another worthy activity and combines nicely here. Plus, there’s an amazing Thai seafood restaurant reachable only by boat (but only on weekends and by reservation often a week or three in advance).

Area hotels:

 

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