Yesterday I rose relatively early in order to reach the patch in Nakhon Pathom and get back to Bangkok for another commitment in the afternoon. The trip was conceived because of a rare bird which had arrived in the last few days, a Great Thick-knee. A bird from a family I’ve never encountered. In Thailand the Great Thick-knee, or Great Stone-Curlew, is a very rare resident and visitor.
I was already warned that the area would be muddy, so it’s quite risky in a car as you could get stuck. I wasn’t too worried, despite getting stuck at Pathumthani Rice Research earlier this year. I enjoy driving off-road, so I blasted through the bumps and puddles en-route to the Great Thick-Knee. On the way in I enjoyed a very close encounter with a Brown Shrike.
There was another car venturing around the spot, they were birdwatching too! Going deeper into the area, I impulsively drove to a very wet and sticky area; I knew it wasn’t a good idea but for some reason I did it anyway. I was instantly stuck in this front-wheel-drive car. Eventually the others came to help but there wasn’t any rope so they had to leave me. I was feeling like giving up on the birds and leaving the spot after I could be rescued.
The other pair of birders past by into the area with really sticky mud. They also got stuck but using ingenuity, and two bodies, they eventually got out. Cutting to the chase, somehow, a few minutes later, they conjured a rope and towed my car out of the muddy trap. I asked about the rare bird and they also guided me towards it. Like in my last post, there’s always good things in perceived bad. Getting stuck led me to a lovely interaction with fellow birders and locating the bird. Maybe it’s all fate, destined to happen based on your openness to the present moment. After getting out we went straight to view the Great Thick-knee which was around 200m away.
To get the shot, I had to do some gymnastics to sit on top of the car. Otherwise the reeds obscured the view. It was also necessary in order to get a more stable shot and sharp focus. After getting the video and photographs, I was wary of the sticky mud and gave up on seeing anything more, heading straight to the exit. I observed the Little Grebe on the fish pond before heading back to Bangkok.
All images and videos © 2022 Sam Hambly