Hey, I’ve also been to Laem Pak Bia!

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by DaleForbes on December 17, 2011 · 3 comments

in Birding Asia, Digiscoping & Bird Photography

Alex Vargas – our Costa Rican birder/photographer/birdingblogs blogger living in Thailand – is currently running a 3 part blog series on Laem Pak Bia; a wonderful birding area just south-west of Bangkok. It all happened this last August when Alex graciously offered to take my wife and I out to Kaeng Krachan National Park (an absolute gem of a spot!), and on the way down there, we stopped in at Laem Pak Bia and the surrounding paddies, fields and wetland areas.

Now my photos cannot hold a candle to Alex’s, but I’ll share a few anyway, just because they bring back some great memories of a few wonderful moments. Thanks again Alex!

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis), Laem Pak Bia, Thailand 2011

I had the privilege of growing up in South Africa with a myriad of  kingfishers in various different shapes, colours and forms, but the first time I saw a White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis), it really did make me look. With that stunning glowing blue and the dark chocolate to contrast the white breast, it really does stand out. But the thing that stood out to me most were its evil eyes. Just look at that expression on its face!

Now, talking about evil eyes, the Indian Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis), hanging out on the very next pole passed the kingfisher was sure intent on competing in the evil-eye competition. If there were such a competition, the kingfisher would take the prize for sternness, but the cormorant that for the craziest hypnotic eyes:… stare in to my eyes and present me your soul … har har har har!

Indian Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis), Laem Pak Bia, Thailand 2011

The Javan Pond Heron (Ardeola speciosa) is a ridiculous bird. Those wonderful colours, contrasts and variety of textures just stole my breath every time I saw them. That day I took thousands of photos of them, and I am pretty sure neither my wife or Alex could understand just how I excited I got about Pond Heron number 500 for the day…

I even wrote a love story about me and my Pond Herons.

Javan Pond Heron (Ardeola speciosa) digiscoped with a Swarovski STM80, TLS800 & Canon 5DII

more evil eyes: these guys will do whatever it takes to catch their food, even if it takes just scaring it to death

The paddies in the area teemed with wonder Javan Pond Herons (did I say how much I loved them?), but there were also plenty of other great birds about, like Yellow Bitterns, Black Bitterns, Asian Openbills and other beauties like this Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus).

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Thailand 2011

Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus) hunting over a paddy near Laem Pak Bia

As Alex has said, this really does seem to be a great place to visit if you are in the area. Well, I loved it.

All photos digiscoped with a Swarovski STM80 HD, TLS800 and Canon 5DII and are copyrighted.

Happy birding,

Dale Forbes



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