Friday, 22 January 2016


Sorry for the delay in posts/news over the last three weeks. Internet and time during my tour was hit and miss, will catch up with posts on India soon (It was great! - 400+ species including some of the best birds in the world, and some more feline activity...), but for now I'm back in Thailand. Have been having a bit of R&R in Bangkok the last couple of days and have just started a 10 day trip to a few places.

First up on the list of places to go was Bueng Boraphet about 4 hours north of Bangkok, for one reason. Baer's Pochard. One of the rarest ducks in the world. Three birds had turned up on the lake whilst I was in India and I decided to head straight across for them once I'd organised myself. Baer's Pochard used to be fairly frequent, even a common winter visitor to Thailand but the recent population crash (last 20 or so years) has seen this species become listed as Critically Endangered - I think there's only been a couple of records in Thailand in the last 5 years.

I heard an interesting talk by Dr Debbie Pain (Director of Conservation at the WWT) whilst at the Oriental Bird Clubs AGM in September last year and afterwards thought my chances of seeing this species were getting lower and lower by the minute! Lets hope all the work going into conserving this species works...

So late yesterday afternoon I got a boat out onto the lake and saw the three birds with a flock of Ferruginous Ducks, Common Pochard and Tufted Duck. Views were distant and not great and the light was practically gone so I decided to go back again this morning...

I headed out just after first light and after an hour or so of twisting through the various channels seeing numerous really nice birds we picked up the Aythya flock. It was apparent that the Baer's were not with them! After an hour or so of searching the surrounding area we picked them out and manoeuvred the boat towards them a little.

There was a pair of birds present, the third bird was out of sight still. I managed to get the following shots on my Iphone through my Swarovski ATX95 - not an easy task handheld on a rocking boat with moving ducks! But at least I've seen them and hopefully they are clear enough. I didn't want to be the one to flush them!

Baer's Pochard (male)

Baer's Pochard (female)

Baer's Pochard (male left and female right)

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