Poo, in Samut Prakarn province, at first seems a strange
place to go birdwatching; it is scrappy area of offices, ponds,
mudflats, mangroves and wasteland where locals go for a picnic,
to do tai chi, to release crabs for merit making, to feed the
gulls and to dine at the restaurant. However, by poking around
the whole site quite an amazing number of birds can be seen;
I have personally seen over 100 species here!
It is for
shorebirds that most people will visit and this means that the months
between October and May are the best for birdwatching and the site's
close proximity to Bangkok is ideal for a half day trip by taxi,
or make a whole day of it by going to Muang
Boran Fish Ponds in the morning and then move on to
Poo can get exceptionally crowded at weekends so it is a good idea
to schedule your visit for a weekday if you appreciate peace and
quiet whilst birding.
October to May, 2000-3000 Brown-headed Gulls are normally
to be seen at Bang Poo with small numbers of Black-headed
Gulls nearly always present. This large gull flock is easily
observed, with many locals feeding the birds scraps of food,
and it is worth checking for less common species; Slender-billed
Gull is sometimes found here as are Heuglin's Gull and very
occasionally Pallas's Gull. Terns
are also a feature here, Whiskered is the most numerous and
most of the other Thai species often turn up here.
Poo is also a good place to see waders on the mudflats at
low tide and on the inland pools at high tide. Inspecting
the wader flocks can reveal some interesting birds with Grey-tailed
Tattler being the speciality here in April and May and Asian
Dowitcher sometimes amongst the large flock of Black-tailed
Poo doesn't at first appear as if it would be an ideal birding
venue, but a good number of unusual birds have been seen here;
Frigatebirds, Thailand's first Mew Gull and Glossy Ibis
have all been found in recent years, and people who regularly
watch this site, particularly during migratory periods, will
be rewarded with interesting sightings.
from these highlights, any walk around Bang Poo will afford
good views of many other species such as Collared Kingfisher,
Brahminy Kite, Egrets, Plain-backed Sparrow and Golden-bellied
Gerygone, and a seafood lunch in the restaurant at the end
of the pier is a non-birding highlight of any visit to Bang
here for a checklist of the birds ofBang
Trips : Check the suggested itineraries for
ideas on creating a tailor-made birdwatching trip to Thailand:
first time I tried to visit Bang Poo I got completely lost
and ended up at Samut Prakarn Docks, not one of the world's
ornithological hotspots. The mistake I made was trying to
get there by bus, which involves changing at Samut Prakarn
and a walk between buses: I would not recommend this method
at all as the distance between buses is considerable and finding
the correct connection is difficult.
method is to take a taxi and tell the driver SaTarn Tee Tark
A-Kart Bang Poo or if that is a bit too tricky to get your
tongue around show the taxi driver the Bang
Poo Thai Script. Most taxi drivers seem to know
it, but you may have to help them as you get nearer to the
site. On the meter the cost should be about 250 baht from
Bangkok city centre and taxis for the return journey are easily
obtained by walking the short distance back to the main road
and waiting for one to come along.
alternative method is to drive yourself if you have already hired
a vehicle for your holiday; follow Sukhumvit road from central Bangkok
all the way to Samut Prakarn. At the town centre this road turns
left with signposts for Muang Boran showing you the way. After a
few kilometres there is a junction with some traffic lights; turn
right here, this is still Sukhumvit road. Follow this road and you
will see Muang Boran signposted on the left after about 4-5 kms,
continue past this and the Bang Poo site is on your right, just
past a pedestrian bridge, about 2 kilometres after Muang Boran.
This route is very busy and frequently subject to traffic jams;
my recommendation is to leave before sunrise for an easy drive or,
if timing your visit for the tide, leave central Bangkok at least
1.5 hours before your desired arrival time.
Look out for
the three-headed elephant museum on Sukhumvit road, a little before
Samut Prakarn, its quite impressive!
large number of species can be found at Bang Poo at the right
time of year, and due to the small size of the site most of
these can be easily found. There is always potential to add
to the site list, with unusual migrant species showing up
every year with some surprising species having been seen over
come here to see shorebirds and indeed these are easily found
on the mudflats at low tide (observing them from the pier
is the best tactic) and on the inland pools at high tide,
however, it is also worth taking a walk around the site where
a lot of common open-country species can be found as well
as a number of interesting migrant species. The Spring migration
tends to produce the richest pickings in terms of unusual
migrants here, with Grey-tailed Tattler often seen in small
numbers in April and early May.
Gerygone (Flyeater) is very numerous here and its high-pitched
whistle can often be heard coming from any of the mangrove
fragments. It can be quite difficult to observe due to its
tiny size and colouration, but be patient and you are sure
to get good views of a few.
number of places around the site are likely to provide the
most interesting sightings:
Pier and the viewing platform beyond the restaurant provide
the best place to observe birds on these mudflats and as with
any shorebird watching getting the tide at the right time
is important or the birds can be distant specks (tides can
be found here: My
Forecast, Marine Reports); it is important to have a telescope
here. Whiskered Tern, Marsh and Curlew Sandpipers, Greater
and Lesser Sand Plovers and Kentish Plover, as well as Gulls,
are all common birds here and in the Spring many of these
birds can be seen in their summer plumage before they leave
for their breeding grounds.
like a walk whilst birding then a trail eastwards along the
foreshore also offers the chance to look over the mudflats.
If you can find a rock to hide behind it is a good idea to
wait along here whilst the tide comes in to get some close
views of the birds - unfortunately this trail now begins behind
a locked gate so it is not possible to follow it any more
unless you jump over the gate!
a clump of mangrove trees is a colony of Black-crowned Night
Herons, Little and Indian Cormorants with small numbers of
Egrets, all of which can be observed at close range. Some
good photo opportunities here!
: It is here that many of the wading birds go to
roost when the tide comes in. A large flock of Black-tailed
Godwits often harbours an Asian Dowitcher or two with Wood
Sandpipers and Long-toed Stints prefering this habitat over
the mudflats at all times. This area is now a nature reserve
and contains a number of hides where birders can sit and watch
the birds without disturbing them. In the past the gate to
this nature reserve area was locked, but recently it seems
to be opened to all who wish to enter and view the birds.
1 : In
this area Plain-backed Sparrows can be found; listen out for
their call which has a subtle difference from that of Tree
Sparrow. A few other passerines can be found here too including
Chestnut Munia, Golden-bellied Gerygone and Common Iora.
theory it would be possible to find a small hotel locally,
there are certainly a few in the town of Samut Prakarn, but
why you would want to stay in one of these grubby little places
beats me; a much better idea would be to make this a day trip
from your hotel in Bangkok: Bangkok
of refreshments there are plenty available to revive you if
the heat becomes too much; a number of small kiosks around
the gate to the pier have cold drinks and snacks for sale,
sometimes food such as barbequed chicken is available here
too. The real treat though is the restaurant at the end of
the pier which specialises in seafood. Lunch or dinner here
after watching the birds is a good way to relax and the menu
is in English and Thai making it easy to order - the friendly
staff will do all they can to help you order something good.
who are interested, there are a number of vendors on the pier
that sell food to feed to the gulls with and, rather obscurely,
you can purchase crabs to be released in the mangroves in
order to atone for your sins!
location is not a National Park and you will not be charged to go
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