Making the welcome Warmer
Greater efforts will be needed, both at home and abroad, to prevent the extinction of a plucky little bird which breeds in Russia and then makes a marathon annual migration to Southeast Asia
'Does it matter if a bird goes extinct?" someone asked not long before the opening of an international monitoring workshop on the spoon-billed sandpiper organised by the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand. The gathering was held in conjunction with BirdLife International, a global partnership of conservation organisations with more than 3 million members and supporters in 121 countries
On Oct 26 last year, the first spoon-billed sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus) of the season reached its winter home at Khok Kham, on the shores of the inner Gulf of Thailand at Samut Sakhon province. Two days later, three more appeared at another regular wintering site, Ban Pak Thale in Ban Laem district, Phetchaburi province. A handful of others seen since bring the total for the season up to seven so far, and more are expected.
The very first sighting of a spoon-billed sandpiper in this country was recorded in January 1984 at Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Thirteen more were seen in Pattani Bay, in the far South, that same year. Alas, none have been spotted in Pattani since then. But the exciting news is that these birds have been spied every year since 1999 on Bangkok's doorstep, in the single greatest coastal wetland in the Kingdom, the inner Gulf of Thailand.
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