It was a wet and gloomy New Year morning and the rain had just subsided as I made my way to the mangroves at Sungai Burung in Penang Island. A female Asian Koel was eagerly waiting for the first rays of the morning sun as she dried herself on a dead tree. However with no signs of the conditions improving anytime soon, her wait may well end up in vain.
A Black-naped Oriole joined the cuckoo momentarily. This species is one of the first few exotic-looking birds I could remember seeing during my childhood days. Nowadays, it is still an attractive species to me but it is also one of my jinx birds because despite of its common status, I still do not have any images I can be truly proud of. The lighting conditions this morning literally squashes any hope of improvement shots.
Wandering out onto the coastline, I came across a rather confiding Brahminy Kite calling persistently from a low perch. The call of this beautiful raptor is easily recognizable because it sounds like the mewing of a house cat. Brahminy Kites happen to be one of the commonest raptors on the island and the population is thriving due to their highly adaptive behaviour.
The Japanese Sparrowhawks may be recorded in the thousands during migration but birds actually wintering in Penang are not a common sight. I just had a few seconds to photograph this handsome male resting on the edge of the mangroves before he had enough of my intrusion and flew away. Although the encounter was brief one, it was probably the highlight of the trip.
It is almost impossible to overlook a Stork-billed Kingfisher especially if perched right out in the open. I guess its massive size gives it all the confidence it needs to face the challenges of everyday life.
Don't even think about it, squirrel boy!
I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year and may the year 2013 be filled with lifers and memorable birding experiences.