Monday, August 06, 2007

August 6, Landfill Site, Nibong Tebal, southern mainland Penang

I got directions to this site from a good friend and headed out there this morning. The landfill is located on the edge of mangroves and oil palm estates. In front of it are two large areas which have been cleared in preparation for future landfill. In the meantime, they are a haven for waterbirds. To the right of the site, the swampy area is covered with broken and dying trees, creating dense watery thickets perfect for Purple Herons and Little Grebes. The latter seemed to be everywhere, and their calls were a constant feature of the place.

This is a well grown juvenile. I counted 8 pairs of adults, at least three of which had young. There were probably many more.

Face off! Wherever there were grebes, there were Water Monitors on the prowl. This juvenile grebe appeared to have a dangerous fascination for the lizard.

An adult with a younger juvenile. Interesting to see how the plumage, including the eye-ring, changes with maturity.

Wood Sandpipers were another common occupant of the swamp; they were quite happy perching on branches and tree stumps, just as they would be on their breeding grounds.

Standing tall. This Wood Sand checks me out!

And even taller! In an adjacent pool, a pair of Black-winged Stilts were standing vigil ...

Here's the reason for their watchfulness - one of two fledged young birds.

I was intrigued by the swollen tarsi of the young birds, especially near the tarsal joint. I presume this helps strengthen the legs while they are still forming.

Not the sharpest pic, but a colourful background! The wingshape of the juvs is a lot rounder than the adults.

Around the back of the swamp, I came across a couple of Little Ringed Plovers. The extreme wear on the coverts, tertials and primaries, and the presence of some juvenile coverts, ages this bird as a first year, and it may well have oversummered here.

Perhaps it was kept company by this Oriental Pratincole, which also looks like a first summer bird.

Here's an odd-looking bird! It's a juvenile Yellow-bellied Prinia, and looks quite different from the adult. What was even odder is that it was singing, or trying to! The 'song' was a kind of scratchy impression of a typical adult song, sounding not ulike an acrocephalus warbler's song. Interesting!

On the the left of the gate was an area of flooded red earth and thick tussocky grass, looking just perfect for waders. Unfortunately it wasn't accessible, so I was limited to telescope views. There was quite a colony of Black-winged Stilts - I counted at least 15 adults, including a pair with 3 juveniles. There was a reasonable flock of Cattle Egrets - around 80 birds, and a smattering of waders, all adult birds, most still in partial summer plumage, as follows:

Little Ringed Plover 10
Red-wattled Lapwing 9
Common Sandpiper 1
Common Redshank 10
Lesser Sand Plover 9
Red-necked Stint 2
Long-toed Stint 4
Curlew Sandpiper 5
Greater Painted Snipe 1 male
Little Tern 15
Grey Heron 2

There was a marauding flock of Brahminy Kites, much to the consternation of the Black-winged Stilts!

A juvenile Brahminy takes a break from hassling the waders!

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