As usual, I did my annual New Year’s Day short birding trip today. But one thing is different this year; I no longer have a New Year resolution. I managed to uphold my resolution (the one and only for the past 20 years or so) last year and I finally managed to quit a rather addictive and unhealthy habit of mine. With that said, it's back to the birds. The first bird that greeted me on this first day of the year 2012 was a majestic White-bellied Sea-eagle circling low over the scrublands at the break of dawn. The gloomy weather made it impossible for any sharp images despite being quite close to the eagle.
A rather confiding Brown Shrike kept me entertained for a good while. This was a much welcomed change as I have had no luck with this common migrant so far this season.
When I flushed a pair of Red-wattled Lapwings from the access road, it took me some time to realize how significant it was. Although it is now quite common in mainland Penang, I’m not on the mainland now. So after more than 20 years, I finally managed to record it on the island. It may only be a local rarity but it is still a rarity nevertheless. Happy New Year, guys!
Although the Crested Serpent-eagle is a common raptor through Malaysia, it still does it for me – especially the more confiding individuals like this one. Overlooking its domain from the edge of the mangroves, it was totally unperturbed by my presence and the continuous shutter clicks of my camera. In fact, it seems to be enjoying all the attention it is receiving from me.
Ironically, a Crested Serpent-eagle with its crest fully visible is not a common sight - not here in Malaysia anyway.
I did drive to the coastline to check if the waders are back on this stretch of mudflats and they certainly were. Unfortunately, they were a little too far to capture any reasonable images. Identification was quite difficult as well but one species did stand out from the rest or should I say stand above - the Eurasian Curlew. With a bill like that, it is almost impossible to mistake it for anything else except only for the much rarer Eastern Curlew.
Collared Kingfishers are usually quite tolerant towards human presence and make good photography subjects like this individual hunting from a wooden stake at the river mouth. Now if this trip is a sign of things to come, I can certainly look forward to another outstanding year.