I had to abandon my plans for some forest birding when I felt the first few drops of the pre-dawn drizzle as I made my way to my car. Rather than to risk a possible soaking-wet birding excursion, I opted for the marshlands at Pulau Burung where I can still bird from my car no matter how the weather turns. The birds were rather sluggish, like these Whiskered Terns, on this cold and gloomy morning and who could really blame them.
I found quite a few raptors drying themselves off on exposed perches. This particular Black-winged Kite was a rather feisty individual and chased off a much bigger Brahminy Kite that wanted to share this tree to rest and preen.
This puff-up ball of feathers is a Jungle Myna shaking off the effects of the earlier drizzle before getting on with its day.
However, the Black-capped Kingfisher was as wary and active as usual despite the weather. This species is by far the most difficult open-country kingfisher to approach and naturally, it also happens to be the most gorgeous.
I was delighted to see that more Black-winged Stilts are coming back to this locality. The open grassland that was slightly flooded because of the rain was like a magnet to these graceful waders and a particular birder.
At the paddy fields of Permatang Nibong, I was greeted by a familiar sight that was sorely missed these past few weeks. The Asian Openbills were back at their usual spot – all 5 of them as recorded earlier on in the year.
As I was observing the openbills, the thought of a fellow birder being robbed at this very locality a few days back did crept into my mind. Sometimes I can be quite “submerged” into my observation or photography and these are the times that I am most vulnerable to these predators. That is one of the reasons why I like birding in remote areas where there are hardly any fellow human beings around. I rather take my chances with Mother Nature than humans anytime. Anyway, the only intruder this time was a Great Egret trying to bulldoze itself to a perch next to the openbills.
A couple of the openbills were distinctly whiter than the rest. They appeared to be moulting in their breeding plumages. The million dollar question now is will it start to breed here in Malaysia? It is quite possible as the once migratory Cattle and Little Egrets have also started to raise their families on our shores.
I came across my first Imperial Eagle of the season and it was a juvenile resting on a distance pylon.