Bang Pu – Samut Prakan

Bang Pu Recreation Centre/Seaside Resort is an area composed of a nature reserve – complete with bird hides and mangrove walkways – accommodation buildings, as well as other areas encouraging outdoor recreation. Perhaps the most prominent feature of the area is a pier from which gulls, waterbirds and shorebirds can be readily viewed at the right times of year. And because of the varied habitats at the site – mudflats, mangroves, and some areas that encourage open country species – Bang Pu is a fantastic place to spend a few hours, with most trips there during migration/winter yielding well over 50 species in a single trip. As of April 2021, I’ve personally seen 168 species at Bang Pu, but the actual site-list is over 280 species.

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The following is a short run-down of some areas of Bang Pu Recreational Centre I’ve personally found to hold significance to a day of birding.

A – This is the entrance road. While usually nothing too interesting is seen while walking down here, during the right time of year, it is the place I’ve seen Paddyfield Pipit the most often. Always plenty of birds flying overhead while walking along here. Additionally, during the winter months there often seems to be Little Ringed Plovers in the often inundated margins of the carpark along the western side of the entrance road.

In this photo (courtesy of Google Maps), everyone to the right of the entrance road in the nature reserve, which is mostly made up of mangroves and roosting pools; to the left of the entrance road is what I refer to as the western section of the complex and is a mixture of accommodation blocks, residences, and habitats more akin to open country. There are also so ponds and mangroves.

B – Located at the south-west corner of the largest high-water roosting pool is a two-story birdwatching tower, that was renovated mid-2017. Obviously this is a great place to watch waterbirds and shorebirds, but the close vegetation from the second story also often allows great, close views of birds such as Oriental White-eye and Golden-bellied Gerygone.

Other birds that are infrequent that I’ve seen from here are Garganey, Great Knot, Long-toed Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Grey-headed Lapwing, Black-necked Ibis, Milky Stork, Asian Dowitcher, Spotted Redshank and Pallas’s Gull.

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C – The pier is the best place to look for gulls and terns during the winter months at all  times, and other shorebirds during the same time when the tide goes out. At times the tide goes a looooong way out, so as usual with shorebirds, a scope definitely comes in handy; however, if you are there when the tide is coming in or going out, you can be afforded quite close views of whatever shorebirds are present.

Significant personal sightings from the pier include Slender-billed Gull, Mew Gull, Mongolian Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Indian Pond-heron and Terek Sandpiper.

D – This area is a mixture of habitats that seems to attract open country species, and while it can be hot walking around here, I usually make sure I walk around this area at least once every visit, and have been rewarded with Red Avadavat, Chestnut Munia, Plain-backed Sparrow, Baya Weaver and Brown Shrike when the season permits.

E – This road at the far western edge of the complex is often quiet and has a small area of woodland on one side of the road. Given its quiet nature, I always give this area a quick look and have seen Brown Shrike, Thick-billed Warbler, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Yellow Wagtail, Drongo Cuckoo, both Asian Brown and Verditer FlycatcherPacific Swallow, as well as a pair of (probably escaped) Blossom-headed Parakeets that I’ve seen on several occasions from early 2018, and seemed to have even been exploring nesting holes. The road parallel to the shoreline that leads here from the pier is also the location that I’ve seen both White Wagtail and Red-whiskered Bulbul, but both of these birds I’ve only ever seen once each.

F – At this location is a large statue of a crab, next to a couple of fig trees with adjacent assorted areas of grass and horticultural endeavours, and this mixture of small, but different habitats seems to be a magnet for passage migrants. Birds that I’ve seen here include both Orange-headed and Eyebrowed Thrush, Asian Brown, Yellow-rumped, Taiga, and Verditer Flycatcher, Brown and Tiger ShrikeGrey Nightjar, Hair-crested and Ashy Drongo, Dusky and Yellow-browed Warbler, as well as both Sakhalin and Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, Blue-winged Pitta and Black-naped Oriole. This area is also a great place to see Racket-tailed Treepie, Oriental White-eye, Pink-necked Pigeon as well as both species of tailorbird that are present at Bang Pu.

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G – Here you’ll find a three-story tower, with a suspension bridge running from the second story south towards the coastline. From this location one can get great views over the mangroves, and if looking north, you will be able to see a cormorant/egret/heron roost, where Purple Heron can often be located. From the tower one can also get good views of birds in flight, and here is probably the best place to see Brahminy Kite. From near the suspension bridge’s southern terminus is also where on one occasion I saw a Laced Woodpecker flying above the mangroves.

Aside from these locations, the nature reserve itself has many concreted paths, mangrove boardwalks, and smaller bird hides and blinds, but the boardwalks and other hides are mostly in very poor condition, with missing or crumbling planks.

As well as birds at Bang Pu, I have encountered at least three species of snake here, too: Reticulated Python, Dog-faced Water Snake, and (what I assume was) Oriental Whip Snake.

2021

EBird Checklists for 2021

January 19th  –  April 3rd  –  April 16th  –  September 10th  –  September 26th  –  October 31st  –

2020

At the start of 2020, I was focusing more on Lat Krabang paddies than Bang Pu, and then once Covid-19 hit, Bang Pu Recreation Centre was actually closed to the public for several months, meaning I missed the key migration period. Nonetheless, I still visited the site 11 times in 2020, adding 2 species to my site list, with the undoubted highlight being a magnificent juvenile Christmas Island Frigatebird seen soaring low above me on September 20th.

Ebird Checklists for 2020

January 11th  –  February 9th  –  March 16th  –  May 20th  –  May 22nd –  August 15th  –  September 20th –  October 10th  –  November 14thDecember 6th –  December 12th

2019

2019 was another year where I increased my yearly visits, helped greatly by the purchase of a car in April. Before then, I’d always relied on taxis to get there and back. With this coupled with my new(ish) home location, I managed to get to Bang Pu no less than 23 times. And whereas in 2018 I visited the site at least once in eleven of the months, my 2019 visits were concentrated far more during the migratory periods, with November alone seeing five visits. My other visits were spread as such – March (4); August, September and October (3 each); January and April (2 each); and a single visit in February.  Throughout the year I added 23 species to my personal site list, taking it to 162, with new additions including a first ever sighting of Eastern Marsh Harrier for Bang Pu, as well as Oriental Darter, Sulphur-breasted and Claudia’s Leaf Warblers, Chestnut-flanked White-eye, Kentish Plover and Ferruginous Flycatchers all in November.

Ebird Checklists for 2019

January 4th  –  January 20th  –  February 17th  –  March 9th  –  March 10th  –  March 23rd  –  March 30th  –  April 6th  –  April 20th  –  August 12th  –  August 17th  –  August 24th  –  September 8th  –  September 14th  –  September 22nd  –  October 4th  –  October 6th  –  October 10th  –  November 1st  –  November 10th  –  November 15th  –  November 17th  –  November 24th

2018

My greatly increased number of visits to Bang Pu in 2018 mirror my overall increase in birding throughout all of Thailand in 2018, with 17 visits: thrice in August, twice in March, May, September, and November, and once in January, February, April, July, October, and December. On top of an overall increase in birding, I moved house in July this year which moved me closer to Bang Pu. At the end of 2018, my Bang Pu list was at 139 species.

Ebird Checklists for 2018:

January 20th  –  February 24th  –  March 1st  –  March 24th  –  April 22nd  –  May 20th  – May 26th  –  July 3rd  –  August 5th  –  August 12th  –  August 18th  –  September 8th  –  September 15th  –  October 7th  –  November 10th  –  November 24th  –  December 5th

2017

I began visiting Bang Pu more frequently in 2017, with nine visits spread across eight months: two visits in March, and one each in February, April, August, September, October, November and December. At the end of 2017, my Bang Pu list was at 107 species.

Ebird Checklists for 2017:

February 18th  –  March 5th  –  March 25th  –  April 22nd  –  August 20th  –  September 17th  –  October 29th  –  November 4th  –  December 11th

2016

2016 saw six visits to Bang Pu: once each in April, August, September, October, November and December. At the end of 2016, my Bang Pu list was at 77 species.

Ebird Checklists for 2017:

April 16th  –  August 21st  –  September 24th  –  October 1st  –  November 5th  –  December 17th

2015

I only went to Bang Pu once in 2015 as this was during the time I first re-found birding, and as I was very much a birding novice birding in a new location, I didn’t see anything of significance. The birds that I saw on this first visit in November 2015 were birds that I’ve undoubtedly seen on most of my other trips here.

Ebird Checklists for 2015:

November 20th

BIRD LIST (162 species)

  1. Lesser Whistling-Duck – Apr 7th 2019
  2. Garganey – Nov 5th 2016 (Only seen on this one occasion – at high tide roosting pool)
  3. Rock (Feral) Pigeon – Aug 21st 2016
  4. Red Collared-Dove – Dec 17th 2016
  5. Spotted Dove – Aug 21st 2016
  6. Zebra Dove – Aug 21st 2016
  7. Pink-necked Green Pigeon – Oct 1st 2016
  8. Greater Coucal – Aug 21st 2016
  9. Chestnut-winged Cuckoo – Jan 20th 2018
  10. Asian Koel – Aug 21st 2016
  11. Plaintive Cuckoo – Dec 17th 2016
  12. Square-tailed Drongo-cuckoo – Mar 24th 2018
  13. Large Hawk-cuckoo – Oct 29th 2017 (Only seen this once – in the nature reserve)
  14. Grey Nightjar – Apr 22nd 2017 (Once seen this once – near ‘the crab’ at the entrance of the nature reserve)
  15. Germain’s Swiflet – Aug 20th 2017
  16. House Swift – Oct 1st 2016
  17. Asian Palm-swift – Feb 18th 2017
  18. White-breasted Waterhen – Aug 21st 2016
  19. Black-winged Stilt – Nov 20th 2015
  20. Pacific Golden Plover – Nov 20th 2015
  21. Grey-headed Lapwing – Dec 17th 2016
  22. Red-wattled Lapwing – Aug 21st 2016
  23. Lesser Sand-plover – Apr 16th 2016
  24. Greater Sand-plover – Oct 7th 2018
  25. Kentish Plover – Nov 17th 2019
  26. Little Ringed Plover – Aug 21st 2016
  27. Whimbrel – Nov 5th 2016
  28. Eurasian Curlew – Aug 12 2018
  29. Black-tailed Godwit – Nov 20th 2015
  30. Great Knot – Nov 4th 2017
  31. Red Knot – Aug 24th 2019
  32. Broad-billed Sandpiper – Sept 8th 2019
  33. Curlew Sandpiper – Mar 25th 2017
  34. Long-toed Stint – Mar 9th 2019
  35. Red-necked Stint – Oct 10th 2019
  36. Asian Dowitcher – Sept 8th 2018
  37. Terek Sandpiper – Aug 18th 2018
  38. Common Sandpiper – Nov 20th 2015
  39. Common Greenshank – Apr 16th 2016
  40. Marsh Sandpiper – Aug 21st 2016
  41. Wood Sandpiper – Aug 21st 2016
  42. Common Redshank – Nov 20th 2015
  43. Spotted Redshank – Dec 5th 2018
  44. Oriental Pratincole – Aug 20th 2017
  45. Slender-billed Gull – Feb 24th 2018
    1. Slender-billed X Brown-headed Gull hybrid –
  46. Black-headed Gull – Apr 16th 2016
  47. Brown-headed Gull – Nov 20th 2015
  48. Mew Gull – Feb 24th 2018 (Spotted and ID’d with help from a fellow birder from the pier)
  49. Pallas’s Gull – Nov 24th 2018 (Seen at the roosting pool)
  50. Black-tailed Gull – Jan 19th 2020
  51. Mongolian Gull – Apr 22nd 2016 (at the pier at this time, and once on 5/12/18)
  52. Heuglin’s Gull – Nov 10th 2018 (at the pier)
  53. Little Tern – Mar 24th 2018
  54. Gull-billed Tern – Oct 29th 2017 (Only seen this once from the pier)
  55. White-winged Tern – Oct 1st 2016
  56. Whiskered Tern – Nov 20th 2015
  57. Common Tern – Aug 18 2018
  58. Asian Openbill – Aug 21st 2016
  59. Painted Stork – Apr 16th 2016
  60. Milky Stork – Sept 8th 2018 (After missing out with a few Milky-Painted hybrids, I finally saw the real deal!)
  61. Christmas Island Frigatebird – Sept 20 2020
  62. Oriental Darter – Nov 1st 2019
  63. Little Cormorant – Nov 20th 2015
  64. Indian Cormorant – Feb 18th 2017
  65. Yellow Bittern – Mar 23rd 2019
  66. Black Bittern – Apr 16th 2016
  67. Grey Heron – Nov 20th 2015
  68. Purple Heron – Sep 24th 2016 (Best seen from the suspension bridge tower roosting in the mangroves)
  69. Great Egret – Nov 20th 2015
  70. Intermediate Egret – Feb 18th 2017
  71. Little Egret – Nov 20th 2015
  72. Cattle Egret – Mar 24th 2018
  73. Indian Pond-heron – May 20 2018 (Seen only once on the mudflats)
  74. Chinese Pond-heron – Nov 20th 2015
  75. Javan Pond-heron – Apr 16th 2016
  76. Striated Heron – Aug 21st 2016
  77. Black-crowned Night-heron – Aug 21st 2016
  78. Black-headed Ibis – Sept 17th 2017
  79. Black-winged Kite – Aug 21st 2016
  80. Shikra – Oct 29 2017
  81. Japanese Sparrowhawk – Oct 4th 2019
  82. Black Baza – Dec 5th 2018
  83. Eastern Marsh Harrier – Sept 22nd 2019 (First ever record at Bang Pu!)
  84. Brahminy Kite – Feb 18th 2016
  85. Barn Owl – Apr 7th 2019
  86. Common Kingfisher – Nov 20th 2015
  87. White-throated Kingfisher – Dec 17th 2016
  88. Black-capped Kingfisher – Nov 20th 2015
  89. Collared Kingfisher – Nov 20th 2015
  90. Blue-throated Bee-eater – Apr 16th 2016 (Only seen once – in the nature reserve)
  91. Blue-tailed Bee-eater – Oct 1st 2016
  92. Indian Roller – Oct 1st 2016
  93. Dollarbird – Mar 25th 2017
  94. Coppersmith Barbet – Oct 1st 2016
  95. Laced Woodpecker – May 26th 2018 (Only seen once – in the nature reserve)
  96. Common Kestrel – April 3rd 2021 (At the car park harassing a Peregrine Falcon)
  97. Peregrine Falcon – Mar 23rd 2019
    1. Eclectus Parrot – Aug 12 2018 (Escaped exotic – seen in the nature reserve)
  98. Blossom-headed Parakeet – Mar 1st 2018 (Seen in the far western section of the complex)
  99. Blue-winged Pitta – Dec 11th 2017 (Only seen this once – near entrance to nature reserve)
  100. Golden-bellied Gerygone – Apr 16th 2016
  101. Ashy Woodswallow – Feb 24th 2018
  102. Common Iora – Sept 24th 2016
  103. Ashy Minivet – Oct 29th 2017
  104. Black-winged Cuckooshrike – Sept 26 2021 (at the Crab)
  105. Tiger Shrike – Apr 22nd 2018 (Seen twice – near entrance to nature reserve)
  106. Brown Shrike – Sep 24th 2016
  107. Black-naped Oriole – Nov 4th 2017
  108. Black Drongo – Oct 1st 2016
  109. Ashy Drongo – Oct 1st 2016
  110. Crow-billed Drongo – Apr 20th 2019
  111. Hair-crested Drongo – Nov 4th 2017
  112. Malaysian Pied-fantail – Nov 20th 2015
  113. Black-naped Monarch – Nov 4th 2017
  114. Blyth’s Paradise-flycatcher – Nov 10th 2018
  115. Amur Paradise-flycatcher – Sept 14th 2019
  116. Racket-tailed Treepie – Oct 1st 2016
  117. Large-billed Crow – Aug 21st 2016
  118. Barn Swallow – Aug 21st 2016
  119. Sand Martin – Apr 6th 2019
  120. Pacific Swallow – Nov 4th 2017
  121. Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher – Jan 4th 2019
  122. Red-whiskered Bulbul – Sep 17th 2017 (Only seen this once)
  123. Yellow-vented Bulbul – Apr 22nd 2017
  124. Streak-eared Bulbul – Aug 21st 2016
  125. Yellow-browed Warbler – Mar 24th 2018
  126. Eastern Crowned Warbler – Oct 7th 2018
  127. Sulphur-breasted Warbler – Nov 10th 2019
  128. Claudia’s Leaf Warbler – Nov 10th 2019
  129. Sakhalin Leaf Warbler – Oct 7th 2018 (ID’d via call)
  130. Pale-legged Leaf Warbler – Dec 5th 2018 (ID’d via call)
  131. Arctic Warbler – Dec 14th, 2020
  132. Dusky Warbler – Mar 5th 2017
  133. Thick-billed Warbler – Jan 20th 2018
  134. Common Tailorbird – Aug 21st 2016
  135. Dark-necked Tailorbird – Mar 25th 2017
  136. Plain Prinia – Sep 24th 2016
  137. Swinhoe’s White-eye – Nov 20th 2015
  138. Chestnut-flanked White-eye – Nov 15th 2019
  139. Asian Brown Flycatcher – Sep 24th 2016
  140. Oriental Magpie-robin – Nov 20th 2015
  141. Hainan Blue Flycatcher – Oct 4th 2019
  142. Verditer Flycatcher – Jan 20th 2018
  143. Yellow-rumped Flycatcher – Mar 25th 2017
  144. Ferruginous Flycatcher – Nov 17th 2019
  145. Taiga Flycatcher – Nov 5th 2016
  146. Orange-headed Thrush – Mar 25th 2017 (Only seen this once, near ‘the crab’)
  147. Eyebrowed Thrush – Apr 22nd 2017
  148. Black-collared Starling – Aug 21st 2016 (Not seen very often at Bang Pu)
  149. Asian Pied Starling – Aug 21st 2016
  150. Common Myna – Nov 20th 2015
  151. White-vented Myna – Aug 21st 2016
  152. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker – Oct 1st 2016
  153. Brown-throated Sunbird – Oct 1st 2016
  154. Olive-backed Sunbird – Apr 16th 2016
  155. Ruby-cheeked Sunbird – Mar 30th 2019 (Bang Pu’s 2nd record – I think)
  156. Eastern Yellow Wagtail – Sep 24th 2016
  157. Grey Wagtail – Feb 17th 2019
  158. White Wagtail – Jan 20th 2018 (Only seen this once, along the road along the mangroves running west from the pier)
  159. Forest Wagtail – Oct 7th 2018
  160. Paddyfield Pipit – Sep 24th 2016
  161. House Sparrow – Aug 21st 2016
  162. Plain-backed Sparrow – Apr 22nd 2018
  163. Eurasian Tree Sparrow – Nov 20th 2015
  164. Baya Weaver – May 20th 2018
  165. Asian Golden Weaver – April 20th 2019
  166. Red Avadavat – Oct 29th 2017 (Only seen this once, in the western part of the complex)
  167. Scaly-breasted Munia – Apr 16th 2016
  168. Chestnut Munia – Apr 22nd 2017

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