Thursday, 24 December 2009

23/12/2009: Pulau Burung (Penang)

I guess deep inside every birder there is a twitcher. Every birder loves to observe rare birds. In fact, it is certainly one of the main perks in birding. In most cases, a rare bird will usually be a lifer and it is double the ecstasy then. Well, the twitcher in me has been twitching ever since news broke out 4 days ago of Terrence' sighting of a Pheasant-tailed Jacana in good old Pulau Burung landfill. Although I have seen this species in neighbouring Thailand, I have yet record it here in Malaysia. A birder may have many life lists but the one dearest to his heart is his own country's life list. I was finally put out of my misery when I managed to take the day off and search for what I guess would be my last lifer for the year.

I was there at the location where it was last seen before the break of dawn. Shortly after my arrival, my lifer flew into view and landed on the water's edge. As the lighting was rather poor at the time, I could only managed to capture record shots.

Although I did manage to photograph it later in the morning, it did not come as close as the first encounter. Choo Eng and Peggy also showed up to observe this rather uncommon migrant but much to our dismay, it kept to the water's edge on the other side of the pond.

In flight, this species has a striking similarity to the Pond-heron due its white wings and brownish body. In fact, I also mistook it for one when it first flew to the pond.

While waiting for the jacana to give me a better view, I managed to capture a few other birds that were foraging in the area. There was a family of Black-winged Stilts that were rather confiding and showed little fear to my presence. Dad, mom and child...

This Pond-heron must have gotten used to my stationery vehicle because it gradually foraged almost next to me.

A detour to the adjacent mangroves produced a Pied Fantail was that extremely confiding. This immature bird continued to hawk for insects while I was photographing it from a near distance. It may well be the same individual that also gave me a good performance during my last trip.

I simply adore the colours of this Great Egret against the blue sky...

Blue seemed to be the colour of the day as this Common Sandpiper also posed against a blue background...

Striated Herons are not the easiest of birds to approach as they tend to be quite wary of human presence. Apparently, this fellow decided not to give in to conformity and allowed me to capture quite a few great portraits...against a blue background again.

A slightly flooded patch along the access road was quite the center of activity as there were quite a number of different species foraging together in perfect harmony. My vehicle again provided me the perfect hide to observe and photograph the birds. Once the birds got used to my car, they will come quite close like this Little Ringed Plover...

This White-breasted Waterhen didn't even give me a second glance...

A Yellow Wagtail on a mission came so close to my car that I had to position myself in a rather uncomfortable position in order to capture the hunt. I guess the caterpillar that was moving about near my car was simply too good to resist.

Pulau Burung is the best place to observe and photograph Blue-tailed Bee-eaters...I rest my case.

The Oriental Magpie-robin has been much reduced everywhere due to trapping for the bird trade. Being a famed songster has its price, which is pretty sad. Anyway, the population here is still healthy - for now.

4 comments:

madibirder said...

Lovely series. Congrats on the Jacana, I've yet to see one.

Hawkeyes a.k.a Kiah said...

Hi,

Congrats, nice catch.

terence said...

I didn't know it was your lifer for Malaysia List. I though you have got it ages ago. Congrat to you

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks all for your compliments.

Terrence, this jacana is one of my "jinx" birds. Now, I'm waiting for my Bronze-winged!