The Chinese pond heron, Ardeola bacchus, is a migratory species that is common in Thailand during the winter months. Habitat loss and degradation, including the impacts of hydropower development, threaten their wellbeing.
This one, found near the river at Nakhon Phanom, had run into trouble and appeared injured as it crouched, shivering, in the shallows. Sadly, it died while being taken to veterinary help. It was likely a young bird, as its plumage shows it to be a non-breeding or immature specimen.
The low Mekong river levels being reported in Northern Thailand and Lao PDR will be reflected in reduced fish harvests later in the year. Impacts on other animal species have yet to be widely documented, and they should be.
Scientists report that the Asia-Pacific region has the highest proportion of migratory birds that are classified as globally threatened—and that the Mekong River is an important landmark and stopover habitat for many shorebirds and other migrating bird species.
With thanks to Joey Aung for these pics.
 Schwilk, J.A. and Claassen, A. Evidence of the Mekong River as a migratory corridor for shorebirds, including the first country record of slender-billed gull Chroicephalus genei, Cambodian Journal of Natural History 2012 (2) 111-114
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