Air Hitam Dalam has been struggling to return back to its former self after the uprooting of one of its main trees. This morning’s birding excursion was off to a very slow start. My guests this time were from England and they have been residing here in Malaysia for the past 6 years and have a significant number of our bird species under their belt. And that only made matters worse. Under performing birding sites can be stressful. Even a family of Mangrove Blue Flycatcher could not improve the situation much. The next location was the mudflats of Bagan Belat where my guests were hoping for their first ever Nordmann’s Greenshank and I was determined to see their wish fulfilled after the disappointing start. The weather was beautiful and the tide ideal but despite a careful search, no Nordmann’s Greenshanks were found. Fortunately, the mass gathering of waders at this high tide roost was a spectacle by itself.
Asian Dowitchers have been showing well so far this season and today was no exception. A reasonably big flock was foraging along the tide line together with Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits. This presented a good opportunity to compare the differences between the dowitcher and the godwits – especially when the former is relatively foreign to my guests.
A trio of Black-tailed Godwits sweep the coastal waters for nutritious morsels at their winter sanctuary…
The arrival of a few Brown-headed Gulls to the roost diverted our attention from the waders momentarily. I cannot help it but I do not forget bad experiences easily. The bitter memory of dipping out on the Black-tailed Gull here a few weeks earlier resurfaced to torment my thoughts.
The distinctive call of the Coppersmith Barbet started to resonate nearby our position. A quick search at the nearby trees revealed this adorable little bird. In an avian-scape of browns and greys, the vivid colours of this barbet was a welcomed sight.
The paddy fields in Permatang Pauh holds a few would-be lifers for my guests and finally, they were not to be denied. To be able to enjoy three lifers at a single location will turn any ordinary trip to an exceptional one. One good turn deserves another and in return for the lifers I found for them, my guests spotted Penang’s second Glossy Ibis which was discovered here yesterday by Hor Kee. This peculiar water bird was foraging at a distance and the lighting was harsh. However, I would not be able to forgive myself if I did not even attempt to obtain some images from this encounter because the last this species showed up in my home state, it stayed for only one day and I missed it on the second day. And this rare migrant is a fine way to conclude this half day excursion despite the slow start.