Thursday, 25 November 2010

24/11/2010: Mainland Penang (Part 1)

I decided to visit the Batu Kawan wetlands because of the rather promising result from the first trip. However, I should have checked the tidal forecast the night before as it was high tide upon my arrival. Most of the waders kept to the far end of the canal where there was still some exposed mud flats. Eventually, I did come across a couple of waders that ever resting close enough for me to photograph and this Common Redshank was one of them.

Just like the last trip, the Pacific Golden Plovers here are surprisingly confiding as long as you do not intrude too much into their “space”.

A small flock of Pink-necked Green-pigeons foraging on a low bush was good enough a reason as any to linger at this locality for a little while longer. Although this species also occurs in urban gardens, I prefer to photograph it in wilder areas – away from suspicious stares and unwanted attention. As expected, the duller females were more confiding and came closer to my stationery car.

The more vibrant male was more hesitant and kept his distance.

The Collared Kingfishers were quite conspicuous, again exactly like my last trip.

As I was contemplating where to go next from the comfort of my car, a Common Kingfisher alighted on an exposed stake just next to me. This pretty little girl was more than willing to be photographed and the images I managed to obtain were worth the trip here itself. That’s a good girl!

Initially, I wanted to visit the paddy fields after this locality but since I still had plenty of time in my hand, I decided to visit the Pulau Burung marshlands first. In life, sometimes things happen for a reason and on this faithfully morning, the reason was a Red-necked Phalarope. The ill-timed visit to Batu Kawan indirectly provided me the opportunity to try for the phalarope again. I dipped out on this scarce migrant a few days after it was seen and photographed about two weeks ago. Although this is my second encounter with this graceful wader, my first sighting was never really accepted back then. But this time, thanks to the help of my buddy Sigma, the tick next to this bird in my life list just got a whole lot bolder.

It behaved exactly like how the guidebooks say it would – tame and confiding; habitually swims and forages by making circling motions with constant stabbing of its needle-like bill to capture food. My personal observation of this particular individual is that it seldom forages out in the open waters and tends to keep close to driftwoods and the marsh vegetation.

Unfortunately, my observation came to an abrupt end when a nearby foraging Little Grebe was suddenly overwhelmed by aggression and charged directly towards the poor phalarope which reacted quickly and took flight. It alighted quite a distance away and disappeared from view due to the dense vegetation. I was truly grateful that I had taken a fair share of photographs by then.

The Little Grebes could be the culprits for a number of birders dipping out on the phalarope earlier on including yours truly, as the bird was rather tame throughout the duration of my time with it. You guys ought to be ashamed of yourselves. That’s no way to treat such a privileged guest.

The Lesser Whistling Ducks have settled in quite comfortably at this locality. As of late, they have being recorded on every visit.

As usual, the tame Wood Sandpipers are always here to delight any bird photographer.


M. A. Muin said...

Nice catch! I wish the phalarope will stay long enough so i get to see it...

Anonymous said...

What can I say?
Well done, will try to make
it there for the Phalarope.
Like the blue background of
most of the photos.
Choo Eng.

Ari said...

Wonderful catch! Love your green pegion and common kingfisher photos, and the rare phalarope...

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks all for your compliments

digdeep said...

Arrrgggghhh! from Canberra!!


Choy Wai Mun said...

Dave, now I'm after the Black-headed Ibis that was seen in Permatang Pauh!