Wednesday, 28 December 2011

24/12/2011: Mainland Penang

I decided to start off today’s birding at the lowland forest habitat of Bukit Panchor – a location which I have neglected for quite a while now. It is mostly because birding has been poor of late and today was not much different. I did manage to do a little catching up with some old friends at this locality – the leeches. And they certainly gave me a warm (and bloody) reception. A couple of hours and 10 leech bites later, I was off to the marshlands of Pulau Burung which happens to be located in the neighbouring district. The Garganey pair was enjoying some blissful slumber under the warm tropical sun and so was the Lesser Whistling-duck. 

I was a little disappointed to find there was not much waders at the ‘Little Stint Corner’. However, Pulau Burung has this tendency to present a surprise or two just to regain your faith and get you coming back to the place again and again. This time, it was a dark-phased Changeable Hawk-eagle that took center stage. Although the raptor was quite close and confiding, the lighting condition was a little too harsh for photography. Otherwise, the encounter would have been so much more memorable.

I was elated when it decided to make a swoop down towards the scrublands and alighted on a very low perch. Unfortunately, the excitement was short-lived when I realized there was no way I could get close enough to obtain the type of images I wanted for my archives of this beautiful raptor.

The Great Egret is a beautiful and elegant bird that is frequently taken for granted because of its abundant numbers during the migratory season. Anyway with nothing much about, I took the time to admire and photograph this individual resting on some low bushes overlooking a canal before making my way to my next destination.

Thing were also a little quiet at the paddy fields of Bandar PERDA with the exception of the adult Eastern Imperial Eagle resting on a distant pylon. The Pale/Sand Martin was also around. I did follow its movement for a while – hoping that it would alight somewhere close in order for me to capture some good images that could help shed some light on the true identity of this mysteriously Martin that has been wintering here for the past couple of seasons. The presence of a small flock of mixed waders foraging on a flooded patch provided a glimmer of hope that this trip could have one last surprise before I called it a day. And it did – in the form of a lone Little Stint foraging among a few Long-toed Stints and a Wood Sandpiper. Hopefully with the field experience I gained from the Stints at Pulau Burung, this fellow will not eventually be re-identified as a Red- necked Stint.

Although I adore waders, they are certainly some of the most difficult birds to identify – especially when they are in their drab and similar-looking winter plumages. I guess the challenge is what makes them so interesting. They also seem to somehow know where the limit of your photography gear is and will rest, preen, forage or even pose just a little beyond that. Anyway if by any chance, you are having difficulties picking out the Little Stint from my first image, here is another one for good measure.


digdeep said...

Hi Mun

The stint looks good for a Little to me. Good job. Probably one of the 'Byram Four', in which case, it's an interesting insight into the interchange of birds around the various sites. Perhaps they move around to check out the best sites just like us birders!

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks for the confirmation of the Stint's id, Dave.