For the past six years, I have had the first morning of the year to myself. It's almost like a tradition. My wife has to do the closing of the accounts for her company on the first day of each year for a few hours. I take this opportunity to have some time alone to reflect on the year that has just past. I do not have any New Year resolutions anymore since the day I quit smoking for good. I do not see any harm in doing some birding whilst reflecting. Any excuse will do to get myself into the field. So this year, I witness the breaking of dawn of the brand new year over the horizon of the swamp forest at Air Hitam Dalam in mainland Penang.
The resident Crested Serpent-eagle was the first bird to greet me in 2015. Happy New Year, bud...
The New Year's Eve celebrations must have been a real blast as most of the birds were not up and about on this beautiful morning. A male Ashy Tailorbird finally gave me a reason to put my gear into work again. Confiding as he may be, the lighting condition and his active nature prevented me from obtaining better images.
Are you looking for me? This cocky Abbott's Babbler was teasing me from the cover of a dense clump of Nipah Palms.
A lone migratory Drongo Cuckoo hunting from the edge of swamp forest was a pleasant find. Although not that uncommon, I have not recorded this species at this locality before.
The characteristic song of the tiny Golden-bellied Gerygone is a regular sound of the swamp forest here. It is not an easy subject for photography but today, it was a little more confiding than usual.
Looking a bit lost out in the open, this Green-billed Malkoha used whatever means to try and conceal itself from me…
I kept my cool and just waited as I knew exactly where it was heading - the forest on the other side of the open area. True enough, it eventually made its way, in its typical laboured flight, to other side. I missed out on the flying shots but I absolutely made sure I got the landing shots. It landed on an exposed Nipah frown at eye level and in good light - what more can I ask for on New Year’s Day.
The resident Mangrove Blue Flycatcher must be feeling a little depressed I have been ignoring him the whole morning. You know I still love you, right?