Thailand is invaded by thousands of waders every winter… Kho Kham it’s a fantastic site to photograph them!

Just over an hour away from Bangkok, Kho Kham Salt Pans it’s a great meeting and feeding spot for resident and migrant species of waders. On the right time, you can see thousands… Literally!

Kho Kham represents a perfect chance for bird-photography, as you can get into the pans and use your car as a blind. You need -just- some patience and experience to find a pan with little water, which they prefer to feed. Park, use the car camera mount and let them get back and closer without moving or making much noise… They’ll come…

Lesser Sand Plover - female - breed by Alex Vargas

Lesser Sand Plover - female - breed by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

At first sight, Kho Kham doesn’t look -at all- as a hot birding spot… salt pans all over, muddy roadways and nothing, absolutely nothing else, but birds in big numbers.

Kho Kam is -even- one of the most famous and reliavle sites to find the -sought after and elusive- Spoonbill Sandpiper. If you are specifically looking for this mega-rarity, then you should get out of your car and walk around carefully… that is -of-course- if you don’t mind scaring everything else away and have certainly clear that nothing is guaranteed… specially a photo!

Ken and Chira, Chasing a Spoonbill Sandpiper by Alex Vargas

Ken and Chira, Chasing a Spoonbill Sandpiper by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2009

Here a few samples of birds at Kho Kham that will come near  your car…

Greater Sand-Plover non breed by Alex Vargas

Greater Sand-Plover non breed by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2007

Common Greenshank - non breed by Alex Vargas

Common Greenshank - non breed by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

Pacific Golden Plover - molting by Alex Vargas

Pacific Golden Plover - molting by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2007

This year it was unusual and exiting, as -’cause of the crazy weather- some birds stayed longer than they normally do, showing us -by a very first time- their breeding galas…!

Broadbill Sandpiper - breed by Alex Vargas

Broad-billed Sandpiper - breed by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

Curlew & Broad-billed - Sandpiper - breed

Curlew & Broad-billed - Sandpiper - breed by Alex Vargas

Something worth mentioning here, is that just a few kilometers further, the same day you could visit the Mahachai Mangrove Research Station. This is another great spot with large mudflats charged with waders on migration, but it also adds some color and diversity to your birding day, as the rangers had placed some clay pots with water -behind the public toilets- and this draws several -mangrove- species out in the open… particularly a big, fast and fun to watch flock of good looking Oriental White-eyes!

Japanese White-eye by Alex Vargas

Oriental White-eye by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

Just check in this video, how many and how fast they show up at the bathing site!

Kho Kham… the waders Photo-Hotspot near Bangkok…

 

Happy Bird-Photo Adventures

Sandpipers Sunset by Alex Vargas

Sandpipers Sunset by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011


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  • Ken Wilson

    Hi Alex, many thanks for bringing back good memories of sandpiper/plover birding in Thailand. Ken Wison

  • http://www.azbirdbrain.blogspot.com Jeremy Medina

    I thought your photo of the White-eye was pretty great.  Then I saw the video of how fast they are and now I realize it’s a spectacular capture!

  • Chatterbirds

    Thanks for sharing your amazing photos about one of the top sites for shorebirds in the world.

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