I ran a two-day workshop on wader identification with MNS Penang branch bird group. The 'classroom' session was on Saturday afternoon at Pantai Mutiara Hospital, attended by about 13 people.
Me recommending a reference book. Photo credit: Tan Choo Eng
One of the slides from the Saturday session.
On Sunday we did our field session at Teluk Air Tawar. Here the emphasis was on taking field notes and sketches to get to know some of the more numerous species. It was a chance to put some of the input from Saturday into practice! By the end of the session, participants were confidently checking off many of the more obvious species, and even tackling some of the more tricky ones.
Not a field guide in sight! Participants were encouraged to make notes of the birds they saw, and to use a field guide only afterwards.
A Far Eastern Curlew poses helpfully with a Eurasian Curlew (right)
Watching the birds come into the high tide roost from a shady spot!
Getting it all down on paper while the bird is still fresh in the memory!
After all the protestations of "But I can't draw!" it was great to see some really good examples of field notes emerging, once people got started.
My thanks to all the participants, who were great students, to Kanda for organizing the event, and to Daisy for bringing along an extra 'scope for participants to use.
We managed to see around 1,100 birds at the high tide roost, a number well below what we were expecting. Wader species recorded were:
Far Eastern Curlew
Pacific Golden Plover
Greater Sand Plover
Lesser Sand Plover
Worryingly, there were no Nordmann's Greenshanks seen. I haven't seen one yet this season, and it makes one wonder what effect the destruction of the Saemungam Estuary in South Korea may have had on migratory waders.
Later on I had brief views of a Sand/Pale Martin over the rice fields at Penaga.