Monday, 1 March 2010

20/02/2010: Pulau Burung (Penang)

Initially, I thought I wouldn't be able to bird this morning as I had my annual Chinese New Year poker night with my buddies the night before. I guess age must be catching up with us as we called it the night much earlier than usual. The dilemma of choosing a site to bird at the last minute did not surface as the thought of possibly having a Red-throated Thrush was good enough a reason as any. I arrived at the locality slightly later than usual to conduct my second attempt in finding this rare vagrant but it was another letdown. However, you'll never end up empty handed from any trip to this birding paradise. Not when you have elusive species behaving like this - a White-browed Crake right out in the open...

Later on in the day, I did bump into a few more and they were in their more typical behaviour...

A pair of Collared Kingfishers provided me with a very memorable encounter by being extra confiding...

Now if the Black-capped Kingfisher was to follow them, then I'll be pretty worried...that I'm dreaming all of this.

This Blue-tailed Bee-eater alighted so close to me that I could even get a clear head shot...

Quite a number of birds were taking advantage of the beautiful weather to get a good sunbath like this juvenile Large Hawk-cuckoo.

I found another cuckoo enjoying the same activity further along the mangrove access road and it was a beautiful Green-billed Malkoha. The long tail of this species has always intrigued me from the days when I first started birding. In fact, it was at this locality that I saw my first Green-billed Malkoha about 2 decades ago.

I waited patiently in my car hoping that it will gradually move to a better position for me to photograph but when it finally did, it had its back towards me.

My favorite Black-winged Stilts were also out and about and with such great lighting conditions, I couldn't help myself but spend some time photographing them. I even managed to capture all 3 different plumages of this graceful wader - breeding male, breeding female and non-breeding plumage.

The ever-confiding Wood Sandpipers are always in the mood for photography.

I came across a resting Crested Serpent-eagle immediately after taking a bend along the access road. I was just as surprised as it was and I left it is peace after taking a few shots as the angle was little steep.

I did come across a pair circling low above the mangrove forests later on and despite the almost overhead sun, I was rather happy with how the images turned out.