Monday, 23 December 2013

Finally, some Christmas cheer (21/12/2013)

This migratory season has thus far produced some truly outstanding records which included two first records for Malaysia. When Dave recorded one of these “firsts” again in one my regular birding spots in mainland Penang, the paddy fields at Permatang Pauh, I took advantage of a free morning to search for this distinguished guest. I thought I was up to a great start when I spotted a medium-sized raptor resting on a low wooden stake. But the possibilities of it being the Himalayan Buzzard recorded by Dave earlier evaporated into thin air when I got close enough to it. I took a record shot of it anyways maybe just as a reminder that I let a juvenile Brahminy Kite got the better of me.

The mighty Aquila eagles are back from their breeding grounds up north. Here, the Eastern Imperial Eagle looks over its winter domain.

It is always good to see Grey-headed Lapwings. But fortunately, the numbers seen today are nothing compared to the high numbers recorded on previous seasons.

With the marshlands at Pulau Burung still recovering from all the “beautification” works, I will just have to live with shy Common Moorhens like this one for the time being and hope the former will once again be able to provide sanctuary to the water birds there.

On the other hand, some water birds like the Pond-heron is usually quite confiding most of the time.

Now, the reason for my visit here is to look for a little brown job called the Manchurian Reed-warbler. I am truly grateful for Dave’s comprehensive account of his encounter with this rarity in his blog and on how to differentiate this species from the commoner Black-browed Reed-warbler (thanks, Dave!). Typical of all Reed-warblers, it was a nightmare to observe and look for the field ids on the bird as it was foraging among the dense reeds. And I am not even going to elaborate how I spend almost an hour shooting at reeds – just reeds. In the end, it was still a great lifer. In fact, a much-needed lifer.

A rather confiding Oriental Reed-warbler nearby kind of lifted my spirits as I managed to obtain my best images of this species to date. Compared to the smaller Manchurian, photographing this fellow was a walk in the park!

Merry Christmas to you too…

Despite missing out on photographing the Manchurian Reed-warbler, this morning’s birding was quite a good one. I guess this flock of low-flying Black Bazas had something to do with it as well.

To everyone who is celebrating Christmas, may your and your family have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!