I was a little sad and disappointment upon my arrival at my beloved marshlands of Pulau Burung because of the significantly lower number of water birds present when compared to previous seasons. Perhaps its days of being a birder’s wonderful is coming to the end due to the encroachment of the landfill. Or perhaps the habitat is gradually turning against the birds’ favour. I, for one, am just grateful to have been able to experience countless hours of birding delight in the past. All good things (especially in birding) will usually come to an end and that is a fact that I am pretty well acquainted to. The Whiskered Terns still finds it suitable to winter here – much to my relief.
I was just as surprised as this Purple Heron when we almost bumped into each other along the access road. Apparently, it was foraging just next to the access road when my approaching car startled it. However, it did fly away as I had expected of this shy species but just gradually moved deeper into the marsh.
As the marshlands were not really happening this morning, I diverted my attention to the adjacent mangroves and came across a particular patch where there was quite a substantial amount of rubbish that has accumulated. There, at least 3 Pied Fantails were feasting on the insects that are attracted to the rubbish. I stopped my car near the foraging birds and tried to capture their images.
The direct translation for its Malay name is “Crazy Thrush”. It comes as no surprise as its foraging habits can be quite vigorous and erratic and that makes life very difficult for photography. Anyway, I managed to obtain a fair share of images when they rested momentarily during forays. They were particularly confiding today and one of them even alighted on my car’s side mirror!
The insects also attracted a few other species to the vicinity like this Common Iora. I just try to remain as still as possible and enjoyed the companionship of all that came by. And of course, capture an image or two in the process.
The Golden-bellied Gerygone is a common species that is more often heard than seen as their distinctive song is easily recognizable. However, observing and photographing this extremely active little warbler can be quite challenging. The old name for this species was the Flyeater and that is an apt name for this occasion as most the insects the birds were feeding on are flies.
The Ashy Tailorbirds were certainly enjoying a hearty meal from the abundance of insects found here. The dense vegetation was quite a hindrance for me to capture more images of this beautiful bird.
Among all the commotion, a stunning Great Tit suddenly came into the picture. Although it was quite close, the vegetation deprived me of obtaining unobstructed images. Nevertheless, it was a rather exciting encounter as I have longed to photograph this mangrove specialist.
The Black-capped Kingfisher is never an easy subject for photography. It has a reputation of being the shyest of all our wetland kingfishers. Despite coming across it on several occasions, the images still lack the quality that I had hoped for.
Otters are always a welcomed sight due to playful nature and adorable appearance. Naturally, I took a moment to capture this pair that was resting on a bund next to a canal.
My next destination was Juru to check on the Indian Roller. A White-throated Kingfisher provided a photographic opportunity that was quite impossible for me to turn down.
The Indian Roller was still at the same locality but I did not stay for long as there were other birders in the vicinity as well admiring this scarce migrant.
At the paddy fields at Permatang Nibong, the farmers were ploughing the fields in preparing for the next batches of crop. As the farmers got to work, so did the egrets as they took full advantage of food stirred up by the machine.
A juvenile Black-crowned Night-heron even abandoned its usual nocturnal habits to take part in the feast.
The Common Myna, being the ever opportunistic feeder, hardly misses out on tempting offers like this.
A flock of Purple-backed Starlings were indulging themselves on a fruiting plant next to the paddy fields. Although I could see the birds, the dense vegetation as well as the active nature of the birds prevented me from getting any really good images.
A male Yellow Bittern resting on top of some marshland vegetation provided the perfect opportunity for me to photograph this usually elusive species.