Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Pulau Burung (27/01/2012)

After a rather taxing trip to Perlis yesterday, I decided to take things easy today and visited good old Pulau Burung in my home state of Penang. However, all the rare migrants must have moved on as they were nowhere to be seen. And the locality is back to normal again – in terms of birds and the number of birders present. Today, I had the locality all to myself. Perhaps the thought of spending the day at a landfill is a little inappropriate since it is the Lunar New Year after all. But spending time with family and friends is part of the joy of this festive season and to me, the birds are certainly friends.

The Watercock may be the largest rail in Malaysia but it is also one of the shyest. Although still relatively common throughout its range, good views are hard to come by. This locality is well known for its exceptionally friendly birds but I guess that does not apply to the elusive Watercock – not completely anyway. So, when I came across a non-breeding bird foraging at the water’s edge, I naturally stop and took a few record shots.

The Common Moorhen is slightly more tolerant to human presence and I took the time to observe this lovely pair basking in the early morning sun. Pulau Burung has a healthy number of this species and is also probably its last stronghold in the state. 

With the Garganeys absent, it was back to admiring the commoner Lesser Whistling-ducks.

And the ever-present Little Grebes.

I decided to spend more time at the surrounding mangrove forest for a change and hoping to possibly come across something interesting. Who am I kidding – I was really hoping to find a rare! A small hawk resting among the foliage provided a glimmer of hope for a rarity. These small raptors are certainly not easy to identify especially the females and juveniles and upon further scrutiny, it turned out to be a female Japanese Sparrowhawk – the commonest of all the migratory hawks. It is still a good sighting as I feel that its number is dropping here in Penang and I can’t recall when was the last time I saw one perched. 

An improvement shot of the Brahminy Kite from what I managed to take during the last visit. In fact, I think it is the same individual because it was in the same area and just as confiding.

It was certainly a hot and sunny day and I could see that I was not the only one affected by the heat. This Collared Kingfisher taking shelter deep inside the mangroves couldn't agree with me more.

A male Oriental Magpie Robin proclaiming his territory with his tantalizing song from an exposed perch.

The highlight of the trip was undoubtedly this pair of Lesser Adjutant Storks foraging along the vast expanse of mudflats. With no possible way of getting any closer to these majestic birds, I was just happy to be given the opportunity to observe them and take a few record shots from this distance.


digdeep said...

Great selection as usual! I especially like the Collared Kingfisher shot. Well done!

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Dave. ThIngs are really starting to slow down at this site.

Anonymous said...

Was there late morning that Fri....sad missed the Garganey

Ari said...

I too was there a couple of days before the New Year but the Garganeys were nowhere to be seen....Btw...lovely shot of the Collared KF Wai Mun..

Choy Wai Mun said...

Sorry to hear you guys missed the Garganeys. Hopefully, they come back again.

Thanks Ari, for your compliments.

Phil said...

Some super shots there, especially like the kite and the kingfisher -lovely poses you captured.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Phil.

Madibirder said...

Super shots Mun. I'm still hoping to see the Garganeys.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Madi.

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

Nice shot of the Watercock! I rarely see it out in the open like that. Most of the time, I only get to see its head popping up from the rice fields.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Ayuwat, I guess lady luck was by my side!