Wednesday, February 13, 2008

9th and 12th February,2008: Tanjung Tokong

The 9th was my first real chance to go back to the site where I've taken many wader photos since late 2006.

The former high tide roost area is now a shanty village of workers' accommodation, and the intertidal area has also changed greatly. The area where I found the "White-faced' Plovers last year is now almost constantly in use by local fishermen, with the result that the plovers have moved onto the expansive mudflats. Numbers of birds in general have declined greatly, though the number of Kentish and "White-faced" Plovers using the site is about the same as this time last year - 12 and 5 respectively. Birds are, however, extremely wary and hard to get close to.

It was a good opportunity to try out my newly acquired bird hide!

I watched the tide come in, and as no birds came close for long periods, I had plenty of time to observe the other fauna!

These Blue-spotted Mudskippers were trying to out-pout each other to gain ownership of this clump of mud!

No sooner had the bigger one seen off the smaller to the lump in the distance than an even bigger pouter arrived!

This attractive blue-clawed crab was busily picking up morsels on the rising tide with his chopstick-like pincers.

When a stray wave catches him unawares, you can definitely see the advantage of having eyes on stalks!

As the tide retreats the birds start to leave their roost in search of freshly-exposed feeding areas - here's part of the large Common Redshank flock.

Here come some Red-necked Stints!

And then a mixed flock of stints, Kentish and "White-faced" Plovers. The "White-faced" Plovers are the left hand bird (a breeding plumaged male) and second from right on the middle row (possibly a 1st summer male).

Three "White-faced" in this shot. The more extensive white on the wing, the paler brown upperparts and more restricted lateral breast patches make them stand out readily from the Kentish Plovers.

You should be able to spot the two "White-faced" in this flock, as well as a nice bright male Kentish.

A close-up showing the difference in wing pattern.

This was about as close as they let me get to them.

And this is the best shot of the breeding female I was able to get after two days (about 7 hours) of sitting in the hide!

The Kentish weren't much more co-operative either!

A lone Little Egret was one of the few birds that seemed to accept my presence.

This Common Sandpiper was definitely suspicious!

I remember once telling someone that Common Sandpipers don't flock. Here are 12 exceptions to that rule!

Pacific Golden Plovers definitely do flock, so I've no objection to this group flying across the mud in the last rays of sun.

My 'bird of the day' on the 12th was this Whimbrel - the first of the race 'phaeopus' I remember seeing in Malaysia. I'm not sure what the official status of this race is in the country, but most birds I see are the 'variegatus' race, which has a strongly barred underwing and rump, and only a small amount of white on the back.

And to end up with, a mystery...How did these plovers go unnoticed for so long when they are this obvious???!


Anonymous said...

Superb photos. Thanks for sharing them.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your storyline and photos. It was an educational few minutes and I love it!

Want to join us on an organized boat trip to discover the bays of Teluk Bahang?

Highlights of the
1) Wait for tide to get in to view the only Meromictic Lake in Malaysia.
2) Specially organized Turtle Releasing.
3) Flora and Fauna Photography.
4) Sunset shooting in the "Bay of Glowing Ember"