When I came to know of a Wader Workshop conducted by the MNS that will include a practical session along the Selangor coast, it sounded very interesting and tempting. The workshop was held in Kuala Selangor Nature Park (KSNP) which is another birding site that I have not been to in ages. Together with Choo Eng, James and Beryl, we braced through the horrendous Friday evening traffic along the Penang Bridge and gradually made our way south. Accommodations and food was provided for at KSNP. They were nothing fancy but you will not hear a whim from me. After all, it is not the food and board that I look forward to in any birding trip.
I managed to squeeze a couple of hours of birding in the park before the workshop commenced. Now, I have been through all sorts of stuff in the name of birding and so far, nothing can be much of a hindrance. But the mosquitoes here are in a class of their own. Relentless and unforgiving, I had to dig deep to carry on birding after the first quarter of an hour. I have encountered the mosquitoes here before during my past visits but I cannot recall it being so bad.
The adorable Coppersmith Barbet was calling from an open perch a little too far for my liking and did very little to help me get over the bloodsucking ordeal.
The only other shot that I took within the boundaries of the park was this Lesser Adjutant. Flying low but against the sun, the image turned out pretty much how I had expected.
The main objective for the workshop was to create awareness and educate about the importance of wetland conservation and the wonders of waders. It included an identification course and when it comes to waders, one does not stop learning about this fascinating family of waterbirds - no matter how long you have been at it. I can always use a few new pointers to help me in the field. The next day, we had our practical session at the coastline of Sungai Janggut which was a short distance from KSNP. In order to take full advantage of the receding tide that day, we had to be there at first light. Admiring the morning sky flushed with brilliant hues of purple and pink was a great way to start off the day.
The timing was near perfect as the waders were waiting on the sandy shore for the tide to recede. Apart from the usual peeps, there were a good number of Ruddy Turnstones - another common species that has eluded my attempts to obtain good images. A few of them were showing flashes of their brilliant breeding plumage and I tried to get as close as possible without putting them to flight.
I was very conservative with my approach as I do not want to risk being the reason the rest of the group has nothing but sand and mud to look at.
The arrival of a Eurasian Curlew diverted my attention from the turnstones. We were still in the 'golden light' hour and that improved my image tremendously.
The highlight for this excursion was this lone Asian Dowitcher. Not quite in the same league as the Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmann's Greenshank, it is still a rare wader and a good sighting. Despite its shortcomings, it is fending quite well for itself. This trip was certainly a memorable affair that will certainly go down as one the best. Being in a restricted is a blessing in disguise for the wader roosts at Kapar and they stand a very good chance of surviving in the world of man.