There were so many incredible bird sightings in Thailand over the past winter. It’s impossible to choose which one was the best, but the sighting of a Wood Snipe (Gallinago nemoricola) at Doi Inthanon has got to be a personal favourite. There are few reasons why I was particularly excited about this sighting. First, I love snipes and it’s obvious. Check out my other posts about snipes here. Second, the Wood Snipe is an extremely rare bird in Thailand and very little known elsewhere even in the breeding grounds. I have seen it once in Arunachal Pradesh, India in 2007 but I had never seen one in Thailand before, so it would be a country lifer for me. Lastly, there were so few photos of this species on any image databases. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of documenting and expanding our knowledge about such a mysterious bird.
The Wood Snipe at Doi Inthanon was first spotted by a group of visiting birders led by Wings Tour on 9 February 2023. It was found in the dark forest bog in Ang Ka Nature Trail at the summit. It wasn’t seen again for at least 2 weeks only to reappear at the same spot and showed up well daily until at least 28 February 2023. This is only the fourth confirmed record of this species in Thailand. Interestingly, the first record was also from Doi Inthanon, but at a much lower elevation on 13 April 1931, when a bird was shot and collected near Ban Pha Mon by Deignan. The second record was from Doi Pha Hom Pok on 24 October 1965 when a bird was netted at 2,220 m above sea level by Ben King. The third record was from Mae Wong National Park when a bird was seen and photographed on several occasions around Khun Nam Yen campground between December 2014 to January 2015. There were also few other sight records from both Doi Inthanon and Doi Pha Hom Pok but there was no photographic evidence.
Since the most recent bird at Doi Inthanon hasn’t been seen for almost a month now, I guess that it’s already on its way back to the breeding ground either in eastern Himalayas or China. I really have no idea when the next one will appear in Thailand. We might have to wait another 8 years or more!
Congratulations! Wood Snipe is indeed a rare and vulnerable species. Great to see its photos for the first time. In Japan, only Common Snipe, Greater Painted Snipe and Eurasian Woodcock can be seen in winter.
Thank you so much! I was really happy to see and photograph this mysterious species. Glad to see comments from Japan.
Congratulation! thanks for your sharing