Boran Fish Ponds
Boran Fishponds, in Samut Prakarn province,
consists of a patchwork of shallow fish ponds and drainage ditches
of varying size, with areas of typha, reeds, open water,
hedgerows and lilies. The area is completely surrounded by industry
and housing but it is a really good place to visit whilst staying
in Bangkok, a taxi will only take about 30-40 minutes from the
city centre early in the morning, ideal for a half day of birding.
The best time to visit this location is between November and
April, when there are large numbers of migrant birds present
as well as fine weather, and sixty to eighty species are easily
seen in just a four to five hour visit. However, bird watching
at Muang Boran Fishponds between the months of May and October
will still provide views of lots of interesting species and
this is the time to see breeding birds, most notably the weavers,
Pheasant-tailed Jacana and Javan Pond Heron, at their most colourful,
when they can be seen in their colourful breeding plumages.
(Photo by Nick Upton)
area is state owned and farmed by a number of families who don't seem
to mind people walking around to see birds, but please remember to
be polite and keep out of some areas if asked. People here are quite
poor and some trap and shoot birds to supplement their income (Persecution
of birds) or to protect their fish stocks (Dead
Birds at Muang Boran Fishponds) and there is also a problem
of industrial waste. These activities are upsetting but
I would suggest not removing hooks or lines yourself; it is best to
take a photo and report them to the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand;
and open-country birds are the main reason for a visit to this
venue. As well as numerous Egrets, Herons, Bitterns, Cormorants
and Jacanas, the Crakes/Rails and Reed Warblers are particularly
well represented here.
Striated Grassbird is probably more numerous here than anywhere
else that I've visited in Thailand, and it is easily seen all
year round uttering its noisy call for much of the year. The
sheer number of Acrocephalus warblers allows good views
of many species and the separation of Black-browed from Manchurian
Reed Warbler. Oriental Reed Warbler is very numerous in the
dry season and Thick-billed Warbler can sometimes be found.
Rusty-rumped (Pallas's Grasshopper) Warbler is occasionally
seen here with Blunt-winged Warbler being available for those
willing to spend time checking out all the" small brown
White-breasted Waterhen, Common Moorhen and Ruddy-breasted Crake
are very numerous and both White-browed Crake and Slaty-breasted
Rail are commonly seen here. In addition, Watercock can be found
throughout the year and Baillon's Crake puts in an appearance
in the winter months; Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed
Jacanas are common throughout the year.
(Photo by Suppalak
checklist of the birds for this location can be found here - Muang
Boran Fish Ponds
If you need help organizing a bird watching
trip to Thailand, take a look at the suggested itineraries
for ideas on creating a tailor-made trip and contact me
for advice: Thailand
the interactive map below to plan your route to Muang Boran Fish Ponds.
Boran Fish Ponds in a larger map
to this site can be a little tricky. The first step is to make the
journey to Muang Boran (Ancient City) which is a little-visited
tourist attraction with recreations of cultural landmarks from around
the country. Muang Boran can be found in most guidebooks that deal
with Thailand and/or Bangkok. The easiest way to get to Muang Boran
is to take a taxi from central Bangkok; virtually all taxi drivers
know the site; the fare will be somewhere between 250-350 baht.
To make sure you do not have any trouble communicating with the
taxi driver I have prepared Muang
Boran in Thai script for you to print and show drivers
so that you can make sure they know where to take you; remember
to check that the driver switches on the meter of the taxi.
I would not suggest trying to get here by bus or songtaew as, although
it is possible, the chances of a visitor who cannot speak Thai getting
lost are extremely high and it would take a very long time on slow
local transport; finding the right bus to get you here would be
next to impossible.
From Muang Boran
to the fishponds is no great distance, but having to make a short
journey through some residential areas has the potential for difficulties
so I shall describe the route with the aid of the simple sketch
is necessary to take a motorcycle taxi from next to the footbridge
and follow the route to the other motorcycle taxi stop marked
in red on the map. The tricky bit here is to turn left immediately
after the apartment block and not turning into the apartment
car park itself. From the second motorcycle stop it is easiest
to walk; simply walk along the road past a couple of small
shops where it is a good idea to buy water if you do not already
have enough. Foreigners walking through here are a source
of entertainment, so be prepared to be stared at. At the end
of the road is a small walkway in order to cross a ditch heading
towards some wooden shacks. Turn left here and you are into
the fishponds; congratulations!
Although this sounds difficult in reality all the tracks quickly
turn into dead ends if you go the wrong way, so if you do
not get it right first time a little perseverance will get
you to the right place.
|Plenty of people
have e-mailed me telling me that they successfully followed these
directions! If you try to follow them and get lost let me know where
the directions became hard to follow and I will try and improve them.
birds at Muang Boran Fish Ponds is fairly easy due to the open nature
of the site, although some of the Warblers can take some time to see
due to their skulking nature. Waterbirds are common throughout the
site and it is possible to see almost all the Thai Egret/Heron/Bittern
species here in a day. Over 100 species have been recorded here, and
a 3-4 hour visit between the months of October to April will typically
reveal around 70 species.
Striated Grassbirds can be seen throughout the site; adults favour
exposed perches to call from, or can be seen as they fly up out of
reedy areas to call.
Indian Cormorants are numerous here, being easy to see perching on
the few large trees around the extremities of this site. When perched,
they are easily separated from Little Cormorants by their size and
bill shape, when in flight separation of the species is not so simple,
but possible; Little Cormorants have rapid wingbeats whereas the Indian
Cormorant has a somewhat less panicky flight pattern.
A number of species of Acrocephalus warblers can be found
around the site; Black-browed Reed Warbler is common and easily observed,
but it is worth spending some time examining these, for Manchurian
Reed Warbler is often present and is separated by its longer, stouter
bill and thinner black eyebrow.
1: This is the first pond
one sees on entering the site and it is worth spending at least
half an hour watching birds here. Its shallow nature means it
is good for Pond Herons, Jacanas and Egrets. This is also where
large groups of Whiskered and White-winged Tern congregate and
both can bee seen fishing here.
Another bird which can usually be seen in this vicinity is Striated
Grassbird, with one bird favouring a dead tree to the left of
the trail here as a songpost; watch for it as it launches itself
off into brief song-flights.
Blue-tailed Bee-eaters often perch on some wires or casuarina
trees (large pine-like trees) here too.
2: This deep-water pond
contains permanent water and as such is a favourite fishing
spot for Little and Indian Cormorants. In winter months at least
one Osprey can often be observed catching fish here and a roost
of Black-crowned Night Herons is in the surrounding trees. To
the left of the main trail here is an overgrown ditch which
seems to be a good place to look for Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler.
The track here passes alongside an area of low and often burned
vegetation which is an excellent place to observe various
Acrocephalus Warblers. Black-browed Reed Warbler
and Oriental Reed Warbler will be seen easily and by spending
some time here it should be possible to find at least one
Manchurian Reed Warbler. Be careful to take time over identifying
these species as Blunt-winged Warbler also occurs and misidentification
is likely if good views are not obtained.
The water level in this pond seems to fluctuate quite frequently
and is a good spot for many species. A small colony of Asian
Golden Weavers nest in some reeds here and White-browed Crake
is usually easy to see. By walking around this pond all corners
can be investigated and in the past I have found Bluethroat,
Red Avadavat and Baillon's Crake. Although never common, virtually
all my sightings of Oriental Skylark have come from the vicinity
of this pond, and it can be picked out singing in the same
way as its European relative (with virtually the same song
A wide ditch here always contains water and is another excellent
place to find many species. Asian Golden Weaver, Black-browed
Reed Warbler, Baillon's Crake and Black-headed (Chestnut)
Munia are often to be seen along here.
(Photo by Alister
Trips To Muang Boran Fishponds:
If you have only a day or two
for birding from
Muang Boran Fishponds is an excellent location,
coupled with a visit to Bang Pra. In the dry season
this is an ideal place to see lots of waterbirds
and some Acrocephalus warblers, in the
wet season Asian Golden Weaver and Pheasant-tailed
Jacana are the highlights.
me to arrange a trip and/or to discuss the best
birdwatching options for you: firstname.lastname@example.org
large pond has varying depths and as such is a great place for
many species. A small flock of Lesser Whistling-duck usually
winter here and occasionally Cotton Pygmy-Goose can be found.
Watercock is not an easy species to find at this location, but
most of my sightings of this species have been from this pool
and Purple Herons can reach double figures here. Both Pheasant-tailed
and Bronze-winged Jacanas are nearly always to be found here
and sometimes can be in large numbers.
A number of large radio masts are placed in this pond but some
of the support cables tend to be a favourite place for Indian
Cormorant to roost, with numbers up to 100. Most winters a Peregrine
Falcon uses these radio masts to launch its hunting forays and
an Osprey can often be seen perched on top of some of the smaller
A lot of dry, thorny undergrowth in this region plays host to
plenty of Warblers such as Black-browed Reed Warbler, Dusky
Warbler and Oriental Reed Warbler. Although I haven't seen them
here, this seems like a good area to search for Lanceolated
Warbler and Baikal Bush Warbler.
This is another shallow pond which frequently contains a good variety
of species. This seems to be a favourite with Jacanas and Cotton Pygmy
Goose as well as White-browed Crake. At the point I have marked with
a star, there is an obsevation point over the pool and from this spot
Black-browed Reed Warbler, Oriental Reed Warbler and Asian Golden
Weaver are easily found at the appropriate times of the year. In this
spot I have also seen Manchurian Reed Warbler, Blunt-winged Warbler
and an Acrocephalus that i was not familiar with; either
Blyth's or Large-billed! Either one would have been phenominal.
part of Samut Prakarn isn't the most picturesque place anyone will
visit on their travels and it is unlikely that anyone would want to
spend the night here, nor is it necessary due to its accessibility
from central Bangkok. Far better to stay in a nice hotel in the city:
Bangkok Hotel Reservations.
Once birders have found their way onto the site there is nowhere to
buy water, although I have been offered drinks by some of the families
farming the area in the past. For food and water it is best to bring
a packed lunch, the lack of shade at this site means that plenty of
water is a must. It is a good idea to buy some ice-cold water from
one of the small shops in the small housing development one passes
through to gain access to the area. This area is not a National Park
and you will not be charged to go birding here but by spending some
money in the small shops here it means that the poor people in this
area benefit in a small way from your visit. These shops also sell
snacks and other soft drinks which are always welcome when leaving
When leaving, motorcycle taxis are available from outside a small
shop a short walk from the fish ponds; see map above, the fare back
to the main road is 10 baht.
Central Thailand Birding Locations
use, moult and biometrics in the Manchurian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus
tangorum wintering in Thailand
Polluted by Fly-tipping of Industrial Waste
Count at Muang Boran Fishponds
Birds of the Bangkok Area
Dead and Dying at Muang Boran Fishponds
Birds at Muang Boran Fishponds
the thumbnail photos to see larger images.
Workers draining pools
Wetlands & Factories
Temple at Muang Boran
Temple & Wetlands
Cattle Egrets & Factories
Asian Golden Weaver Colony
of Muang Boran Fishponds
of Muang Boran Fishponds
Muang Boran Fishponds is a good place
to include on a tailor-made bird watching trip to Thailand
as there are a number of species which are easy to find
here that are not so frequently seen on most tours.
a look at some suggested itineraries and contact me
for more information: Thailand
Golden Weaver - posted 07/07/10
Waterbirds at Muang Boran Fishponds
- posted 12/08/08
Jacana - posted 29/05/08
& Open-country Birding near Bangkok
- posted 26/04/08
Wonderland - posted 22/04/08
Boran Fishponds - posted 10/03/08
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