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Hat Nopparat Thara, 16th March 2004
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Whilst staying at Ao Nang, Krabi, my girlfriend, Srasri, and I decided to go for an evening paddle at Hat Nopparat Thara to wade out to one of the small islands there and to watch the sunset. When we arrived the tide was coming in, but it was still possible to get all the way out to the nearest island. I took my binoculars as I'd heard reports of small numbers of Pale-capped Pigeon roosting on the islands.

We arrived by car and as I was waiting for Srasri to change into her swimsuit I watched the ubiquitous Eurasian Tree Sparrows jumping around in the company of a few Common Mynas. To my amazement, as the sparrows were fighting over some scraps of food left by nearby picnicers, a small male Japanese Sparrowhawk swooped in low through the trees but aborted its effort when it realised it was surrounded by noisy people!

Finally we were ready to get out onto the beach where we quickly spotted a Common Sandpiper and a single dark form Pacific Reef Egret by the water's edge. As we waded towards the nearest offshore island Srasri spotted a Brahminy Kite overhead. Tthe water started to get a bit deep, and with the tide coming in we decided to stop where we were and swim. However, my attention was quickly drawn by a small party of pigeons flying in from the North. Unfortunately I couldn't identify them but waited in hope of more coming in. I wasn't dissappointed as a few more arrived from the same direction and this time a caught sight of the pinkish cap of a Pale-capped Pigeon as it landed. As I was celebrating this sighting Srasri called to me to say that there were some birds coming from behind us. As they flew past we could quite easily see, without the use of binoculars, that these too were Pale-capped Pigeons; eight more birds in fact.

Over the next half an hour we counted a minimum of 27 individuals of this species flying to this island to roost. Most of these birds came so close that we were easily able to observe and count them as we swam in the warm water; the setting sun added to the atmosphere as did the harsh call of a Collared Kingfisher.

At around 6.30pm we walked back to the car where a Large-billed Crow seemed to be waiting to see us safely off to Ao Nang for a shower and dinner.

Nick Upton
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