Monday, 12 January 2015

Birding the easy way

It is always interesting to meet and get to know birders from other parts of the world and this time, I had the companionship of two lovely ladies from Scotland. I took Lucinda and Louise out for a day trip around Penang and we started off at my favourite local patch, the freshwater swamp forest of Air Hitam Dalam in northern mainland Penang. This small patch of forest has never fail to deliver and the birds there are quite accustomed to human presence and confiding. There is also a good mix of forest and open country birds here at this locality. That makes it a little easier for birders who are not used to birding in a tropical rain forest. A typical rain forest may be rich in diversity but it is quite challenging to actually locate the birds at times.

The denizens of the swamp forest gave the ladies a very warm reception with the striking male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher leading the way. The confiding individual was certainly the highlight for my foreign guests on this occasion.

The open area was also alive with bird activities. Woodpeckers, kingfishers and cuckoos were going about their daily routines and practically ignored our presence. It was a great way to observe these fascinating birds in their natural environment. The wintering Black Kites entertained us with their graceful sallies as they moved about their roosting trees.

Birding along the paddy fields by car was something new to my guests but the experience was a memorable one for them. This was probably one of the most pampered ways they have ever done birding in and some of the open country waders at Kubang Semang like this Grey-headed Lapwing performed admirably to further enhance the experience.

My favourite moment of the trip was encountering a flock of Purple-backed Starlings foraging on a low bush. These winter visitors are not uncommon to this locality but are usually wary of human presence. This time the distance between us and the birds was within their comfort zone and we were rewarded with reasonably good views as they foraged about. This female provided one the best images I have so far of the beautiful species.


John Holmes said...

Great birds..... apart from the Black Kite, all passage migrants in HK, presumably on their way to you.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, John!