Nightjars and Pratincoles

It had been a long time since I visited this particular site in Nakhon Pathom province; prompted to return from reports of a large number of Small Pratincole. Small Pratincole, in my opinion, are the cutest wading bird in existence. Having not seen them in person before, I planned a trip. In the vicinity is the only place I’ve encountered Indian Nightjar, so I was going to photograph them again also.

Painted Storks flying overhead.
Chestnut Munia were present

The area is full of aquaculture ponds, and in Thailand, this usually means dead birds entangled in nets, hanging after a slow torturous death. Thankfully, it seems most ponds here in Nakhon Pathom utilise lines of string above the ponds which prevent these unjustified deaths. Although I was informed this method can still harm larger birds such as Asian Openbills, it’s still a step in the right direction.

Large number of Indian Cormorants.

Large dark clouds were hovering around in the general area, causing some strong winds and a risk of rain. It was pleasant due to the coolness. Reaching a large flat area I encounter the Pratincoles, which included at least 67 Small Pratincoles and a fair number of Oriental Pratincoles.

Small Pratincoles which were in large numbers on the flat expanse of land.
Short clip of this cute species.

The aforementioned Oriental Pratincoles were nesting alongside the Small Pratincoles. Pratincoles are very elegant with angular swallow-like wings, they catch most of their food in the form of insects on the wing. Making them atypical amongst other waders. Their small beak is a feature for this adaptation.

Oriental Pratincole nesting.
Short clip observing Oriental Pratincole.

It was great to see all the Pratincoles, I wouldn’t recommend driving into this area though as their nests are scattered around and it would cause a lot of disturbance. Afterwards, I was going to photograph the Nightjars and the other waterbirds present on the ponds. There were Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Bronze-winged Jacana, Little Grebe, Lesser Whistling-Duck and Cotton Pygmy-Geese.

Lesser Whistling-Ducks
Cotton Pygmy-Geese

Before leaving I went to look at the Indian Nightjars. They are incredibly hard to spot, so you need to be slow and check in-front of you thoroughly. Their camouflage is so good I don’t recommend entering their ‘area’ but scan on the side-skirts to observe one.

The amazing Indian Nightjar.

Continuing with the theme of hard-to-see, walking along one of the paths I came across what seemed to be the nest of Red-wattled Lapwing. I was about 1 metre away before noticing, lucky I did!

Nest of Red-wattled Lapwing.
Juvenile Red-wattled Lapwing

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2 thoughts on “Nightjars and Pratincoles

  1. Hi. I’ve been in Thailand a couple of years but only birding for the last 5 months or so. Your reports are great and very helpful.
    I’m pretty sure I know where in Nakhon Pathom this report is from (having seen a report about the small pratincoles), but I have a question if you don’t mind. Most of my birding has been in parks or research centers with clear public access. I’m a bit wary of access to private lands such as paddies or aquaculture ponds, because my Thai is very basic. Do you have any hints or advice on how to manage that? I can say “I’m looking at birds” in Thai, but not much more. Thanks.

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    1. Hi, thanks for reading! For the most part, all hotspots on eBird that don’t say ‘restricted access’ are okay to enter. I’ve not had any trouble at this spot or any others with people so far. I don’t think you’ll have any issues as long as you’re just birdwatching.

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