Copyright © 2018 by Ali Bernie Buga-ay, all rights reserved. Spoon-billed Sandpiper: this photograph may not be used without permission.

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper or Calidris pygmaea, a small wader breeding in north-eastern Russia and wintering in Southeast Asia.

The Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper has been a cause of exhaustion, dehydration, disappointments, gallons and gallons of fuel consumption, hotel expenses, photography equipment expenses, hours and hours, days and days, months and months, years and years; all these, for a small bird, my wife and I had been wanting it for some years until we decided to be serious with it. For the past three years, we had it, but this year is the best of all; it showed at exactly the same spot and everyone is getting the best of it.

Thailand’s conservation on the Spoon-billed Sandpiper is a success, the bird is happy and safe to come. It is the star.

Our search for the Spoonbill Sandpiper last November 12, 2016 has ended, but our support in conservation will never end. I have dedicated 100% profit of my bird paintings to be given to the Spoonbill Sandpipers Conservation effort in which the amount can at least help the program of BCST.

To be there yesterday was critical for ourselves, me and Arpha were sick, with fever, we continued with our journey in prospect of finding this lovely bird before they will totally be gone, perpetrated by humans. I was giving up the search, I drove from Bangkok at 3:00 a.m. just to have more daylight in finding them. Because of the blistering sun, we decided to go to Kaengkratchan National Park, while we were on our way, after a roadside nap, Arpha’s phone rang, she was told by Ajarn Phil, an expert on Spoonbill Sandpipers that he found them. What a blessing, we made a u-turn and dashed the 40 minute drive back with a truck, it was a race to not miss them.

There were three of them, it took us some time to find them as they are not easy to find since their heads are always in the water. Looking into a scope helped us and then a pair of binoculars were really helpful. We could have taken better shots yesterday but the birds were agitated, as they are always, by additional people on the bank. We are coming back for more.

The conservation effort of the BCST is working at its best now, signs, maps are prepared for any prospecting photographers. We implore and insist on discipline as we come to the area. Please do not leave your rubbish. Share your spot, share the bank where you are, sharing is the key. It is not about the photographs, but it is how we participate into a global conservation effort in saving bird habitats and the planet.

Petchaburi, Thailand
October 14, 2018
Nikon D500 + Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR
Fotopro EGL-94 | Fotopro LH-10A
Carry Speed FS-Pro
Nitecore UNK1 | Toshiba FlashAir 64GB

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