I found myself when some time to spare for birding on 2 separate days and decided to try my luck with the rarities that have been recorded in Penang recently – mainly the Red-necked Phalarope and the Black-headed Ibis. I did basically the same route on both days but birding is very much like life itself – it has its ups and it certainly does have its downs. The rarities were no where to be seen despite all my efforts. All was not lost as in their absence the commoner species prevailed and provided several outstanding performances. At the marshlands of Pulau Burung, the Little Grebes finally received my undivided attention as they swam along the “phalarope-less” waters.
The Wood Sandpipers, as always, provided more great images to my ever-growing collection of this common wader. I have said it before and I will say it again – this is the best place to observe and photograph Wood Sandpipers.
The Common Sandpipers occasional do get as confiding as the Wood Sandpipers like the particular individual.
It was a delight to see a pair of Black-winged Stilts resting at the water’s edge as their absence over the past few weeks certainly did not go unnoticed by me. Where have you guys been?
Pulau Burung is undoubtedly an awesome spot for bird photography and it has been accommodating more and more bird photographers. I even bumped into an old college mate and her husband together with a couple of friends on the second day I was there and was really surprised that she took up bird photography about 5 months ago. Good for you, girl! Anyway back to the birds and this is the one place where even the common species like Pond-herons still do it for me.
The Black-headed Ibis that was reported at the Permatang Nibong paddy fields has eluded me on so many occasions since its discovery that I have lost count. I guess some things are just not meant to be. Even the mighty aquila eagles were sorely missed on both days. A flock of rather confiding Grey-headed Lapwings relieved me of my disappointment on the second day. I know from experience that it is quite difficult to approach these skittish waders even when using your car as a hide. I guess these fellows took pity on me and willingly pose for my camera under the hot mid-day sun.
I also managed to obtain several delightful images of this White-throated Kingfisher thanks to its rather tame behaviour.
There were no unexpected surprises at the Batu Kawan mudflats as well. The variety of wader species seen was more or less the same as all my previous visits. Ever since nature worked its course over the mudflats at Bagan Tambang and filled the vicinity with mangrove vegetation, I have been looking and waiting for another site to pop up that will be able to fill the void this once amazing wader site left behind. Sadly, none have come close in terms of accessibility and observation distance from the subjects. The Pacific Golden Plovers were quite confiding as usual and did remind me slightly of the past glory days at Bagan Tambang.
This Common Redshank was taking it rather easy today and was unfazed by my close approach. When you try to “stalk” a Common Redshank, you will usually end up with the wader taking flight and screaming its head off and indirectly warning others of your intrusion. Then only the empty mudflat is left for you to observe or photograph.