Saturday, 5 December 2009

05/12/2009: Bandar PERDA & Kubang Semang (Penang)

I managed to convince myself to visit the paddy fields of Bandar PERDA again despite dipping out on the last few visits to locate the Greater Spotted Eagles.

The ploughed fields attracted the usual patrons like this Jungle Myna...

And Pond-heron...

I find the Brown Shrikes here to be exceptionally tame and like the last visit, I managed to obtain great portraits of little predatory bird. Here are a few females which are not camera-shy at all...

This male was hunting from a signboard at the edge of the paddy field...

From this vantage point, it swooped down and caught a dragonfly with its feet in mid air and returned to the same perch with its prized catch.

He then removed parts of the wings, transfer to poor insect to its gaping mouth and swallowed it whole. I feel so lucky to be at the right place and the right time to capture these images.

As I was about to give up hope on the eagles and move to the adjacent paddy fields, a large dark raptor resting on one of the pylons caught my attention immediately. After further scrutiny, it turned out be an adult Greater Spotted Eagle - finally! I tried to get closer to the resting eagle but I soon realized that this was the closest I could get without getting myself knee-deep in mud and water of the flooded field. Well, beggars can't be choosers and I was just happy to observe the eagle from a distance and took a few record shots.

As I was observing the first eagle, a second one flew across the horizon, unfortunately also at a great distance. The birder in me was more than satisfied with observing two of these magnificent raptors but the bird photographer in me felt otherwise. I couldn't help but to feel a little disappointed as I made my way to the adjacent paddy fields.

Upon my arrival at the paddy fields in Kubang Semang, I was greeted by a foraging immature Purple Heron. This species will usually take flight when approached but not this time though...

My disappointment with the Greater Spotted Eagles earlier vanished with the sight of another eagle circling low over the paddy fields.
When it landed in an overgrown patch of the fields, I drove as quickly as possible to the vicinity and searched frantically for about 15 minutes before I managed to pick it out from the dense vegetation and it turned out to be an immature bird. I waited patiently for it to show more of itself but I guess it wasn't in the mood to be photographed.

All was not lost when another eagle circled overhead. Initially, I thought it was another Greater Spotted Eagle. After seeking Dave's help and doing some homework, it turned out to be a juvenile Imperial Eagle. Looks like Christmas came early again for me this year and with the same species providing the magic. About this time last year, I recorded my very first Imperial Eagle at this very locality. This raptor is a scarce migrant and it took me nearly 2 decades just to see one. Merry Christmas, big guy!

Large raptors have to put up with constant harassment from House Crows at a locality like this and if the crows are not around, there are always others to take their place. In this case, it was a Black Kite.

I managed to capture both the raptors in one frame and I guess size is not a hindrance to the smaller kite at all.

7 comments:

yen said...

always a delight to see your flight shots, great feeding shots of the shrike.

Well done Mun.

madibirder said...

Nice sequence shots of the Brown Shrike. Congrats on the GS Eagle and the Imperial Eagle. I agree with Yen , your inflight shots are always crisp and clear. Well done

terence said...

Mun,

The last picture of the Juv GSE is a female.
There is not mistake on the Imperial Juv,and I will go as always said in movie... walaueh!!!!
Well Done Mun. You have been Lucky for 2 years now both in December.

rainfield61 said...

The flying eagle looks so great.

On the way to Kulim, I can spot many birds on both sides of the highway.

Wilma said...

Great photos from a great day of birding!

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks all for your compliments.

yen said...

wow! love the new banner, great contrast of the white bird and a deep blue sea. Great shot.