With the migratory season coming into full swing, we decided to do a site recce up north to plan out our own "migration routes" for this season to check out all the wintering grounds there. My companions this time were Choo Eng, Hor Kee and Tulsi (a raptor specialist from Nepal currently doing a course at our local university) and the grasslands of Chuping in Perlis was our destination. We noticed some significant changes to the site but there is still hope. Some portions of the grasslands remain just the way they were last season.
It was a little too early to expect encountering anything out of the ordinary. However, there is now a huge heronry right in the middle of the grasslands. Hundreds of Black-crowned Night-herons and Purple Herons were seen nesting and resting at that patch of reed bed that is that well beyond harm's reach.
There was not much migrants encountered this trip but this confiding female Siberian Stonechat, hopefully, is a sign of things to come. Doing her little balancing act on a strain of grass, she had us transfixed on her every move as we observed her from our stationery vehicle.
Just like my last trip to Sungai Sedim, male birds appeared to be lacking in courage. He remained much further away from our vehicle during our observation. Or maybe he was a little reluctant to be photographed as he has almost moulted all of his striking breeding plumage.
In the absence of notable birds, we had plenty of time to appreciate the beauty of these lands. The view of limestone hills set against beautiful blue skies and soothing green grasslands is like gazing onto the canvas of a piece of art. Who am I kidding? I didn't travel all the way here from Penang just to soak in the scenery. I am here for the birds. It has always been the birds for me and will always be…
It is good to see resident species still able to call this place home despite all the looming threats of converting the grasslands into rubber estates. The highly vocal Red-wattled Lapwings will never go unnoticed.
Indian Rollers are scarce on the western side of Peninsular Malaysia. So, to see pair is an exciting record regardless of the distance and the lighting condition.
To wrap things up for the day was this female migratory Brown Shrike having some trouble with the locals - a Garden Fence Lizard. Neither was big enough to overpower the other. Eventually, the shrike just hopped onto the next fence pole. End of conflict. Life goes on. If only it was this simple for all species that share this Earth to settle their differences - including us humans.