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Ko Pha-ngan, Thailand

Bob Marley and the Hornbill
Sometimes you amble unawares into the most truly astonishing scenarios, that in retrospect seem like something out of a strange and beautiful dream. Such was the case when I was out once on the tropical island of Ko Pha-ngan in the Gulf of Thailand, rambling with my camera. The sea whispered blue-green secrets as I negotiated the bamboo and rope bridges over the coastal rocks. A guy appeared at one point, nodding towards a thatched shack built into the cliff face. 'Do you want to see the bird?' he said. Hoping this wasn't a local euphemism for a private body part I said, 'sure.' Images of swallows and larks or possibly seagulls flooded my brain. He brought me inside to where his friend - who looked uncannily like Bob Marley - was rolling up some medicinal herbs and smiling and nodding at the rail where - I was astonished to see - a huge black and orange hornbill stood, cocking its great head inquisitively. A photographer rarely gets this type of opportunity presented to her, such moments are pure grace. I accepted humbly before getting stuck in with the camera.... then graciously accepted a cup of tea.

Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Pha-ngan District, Surat Thani 84280, Thailand