A bit of a long silence lately - I've been out visiting a number of oil palm plantations - courtesy of one of the larger plantation companies. They want to identify and develop plans to conserve the natural habitat and wildlife that exist on the estates. Here's a selection of the fauna and flora I managed to photograph.
Some species seem to do really well on the estates; Black-shouldered Kites seem extremely common, and several nesting pairs were found.
Purple Heron is another species that occurs commonly in the swampy areas.
In the mature oil palm, Barn Owls do really well, aided by the nest box scheme run by the estates - one is placed every 10 hectares - and the result is natural control of rats and other rodents that feed on oil palm fruit.
Large-tailed Nightjars are also common in the mature plantations.
The newly-planted areas provide more open habitat that favours Savanna Nightjars...
...and Red-wattled Lapwings.
Black-crowned Night Herons, Yellow and Cinnamon Bitterns feed in the irrigation ditches at night. This is a male Cinnamon Bittern.
And the swampy areas provide a wonderful haven for migrant waterbirds such as Watercocks.
The mangroves provide roost sites for waders such as Common Sandpipers.
And here's a rare mangrove specialist - a Great Tit! It's a common garden bird in much of Europe, but here can only be found in mangroves. Can it really be the same species?
Some other wildlife: two of a large family of Smooth Otters we saw along the river. These are large otters, much larger than Eurasian species.
Rhyothemis phyllis, a common dragonfly, cruises around in the midday heat.
And here's a Mangrove Skink, a species that exists in Asia only on the west coast of Malaysia, and on Singapore and Penang islands.
A fruiting Xylocarpus granatum tree overhangs a river bank thick with mangrove; a real treasure of the plantation, and one well worth preserving.