Seagulls descend on Don Hoi Lot for first time, prove a tourist magnet
Samut Songkhram’s Doi Hot Lot tourist destination has a new attraction this year – a large flock of always-hungry seagulls.
Locals said a flock of hundreds of seagulls arrived at Don Hoi Lot late last month and have become a new magnet for tourists, who are eager to feed them.
This is the first time this year the locals have seen seagulls descending on the area and revitalising tourism after a quiet spell during the Covid-19 crisis.
The birds swoop down on fried chicken and pork skins offered by tourists from 5pm until sunset, the locals said.
For tourists, it is an exciting experience to get close to the seagulls. Many visitors arrive on picnics just to wait to see the birds.
Normally, seagulls travel to breed in the winter at the Bang Pu Recreation Centre in Samut Prakan, another site that draws tourists who head there to feed the birds and capture snapshots.
Don Hoi Lot is a sandbar at the mouth of the Mae Klong River, created by sandy soil sediment, or “Khee Ped Sand” as the locals call it.
It occupies a vast area 3 kilometres wide and 5km long. Tourists love to stop over to buy dried or fresh seafood and dine at seafood restaurants there.
Trader Nopparat, 32, said the flock of seagulls has benefited many groups of people, including foods shops, workers, traders and local fishermen.
“I’m very glad because Don Hoi Lot has been quiet for a long time,” Nopparat said happily.
Suparp Kongraksa, the village headwoman of Moo 4 village in Tambon Bang Chakreng, Samut Songkhram’s Muang district, said she spotted the first group of seagulls late in October.
At first they appeared in a small number but their number kept growing and their presence have attracted crowds of tourists.
She said local people sell fried chicken and pork skins to tourists to feed the seagulls. The birds are expected to stay until April before migrating back to their habitat.
Sarawut Kluaychamnong, mayor of Tambon Bang Chakreng Municipality, said the arrival of seagulls proved the sea at Doi Hoi Lot is fertile with abundant food.
“This is good for Tambon Ban Chakreng. The municipality will assign workers to keep the place tidy and will plan a long-term tourism promotion programme,” Sarawut added.
Experts said the seagulls are brown-headed gulls of the Laridae family. They normally live in areas from Turkmenistan to Mongolia and migrate to Thailand, Indonesia and Australia during the winter to breed. Then migrate back in early May after their chicks can fly.