One of Thailand’s most important, and scenic, protected wetlands, Thale Noi Bird Sanctuary is located in South Thailand’s Phattalung Province. Thale Noi – meaning Small Sea in Thai comprises of the northern limits of the large Thale Sap, (Freshwater Sea) which stretches off to the south eventually connecting to the Gulf of Thailand at Songkhla Town. The southern reaches are, despite the name, brackish but the northern end consists of freshwater marshes and lotus-covered lakes that are home to a spectacular array of waterfowl. Thale Noi wetland is also one of Thailand’s most significant Ramsar sites.
Thale Noi is at its busiest bird-wise – it’s never busy tourist-wise since sadly very few visitors ever make it out there – during the winter months of November to February when many birds migrate down from Siberia and Manchuria, but there are plentiful all year round, resident species such as the Brahminy Kite below.
A particularly comical resident is the Purple Swamp Hen which resides amongst the floating lilies and water hyacinths. The problem being that this stocky bird is too heavy for most leaves so seems to spend all its time hopping from one sinking perch to another!
Members of the Egret family found here include Great, Intermediate, Lesser, Chinese and Cattle Egrets. Pictured here is the Intermediate Egret – a dull name for a beautiful bird!
Whilst Purple, Grey and Chinese Pond Herons are all common species of heron. Seen below a Purple Heron that struck up a great pose right in front of our boat.
….and myriad varieties of waders.
Thale Noi is not only about birds though – it’s also a picturesque spot in its own right and a beautiful setting for a boat cruise amongst the lilies and lotuses, plus there are lots of human activities going on lakeside so all round a fascinating way to spend a morning.