Thursday, July 03, 2008

2nd July, 2008: Alamander Homes, Kulim, Kedah

On the way back from Bintang Hijau, I made a late stop at Alamander Homes estate, where Small Buttonquails were first discovered a couple of years ago.

I did manage to get brief views of one Small Buttonquail - proof that they are still hanging on there, but no photos. A calling Savanna Nightjar was nice - still a novelty for us northern birders - though their rapid spread northwards will soon no doubt make them commonplace.

There were a few Oriental Pratincoles around. They were mildly bothered by my presence. I didn't see any sign of chicks or nests, but didn't hang around to make a thorough search.

This is a good instructive illustration of wing moult. Primary moult starts with the innermost primary (roughly in the middle of the rear edge of the wing) and proceeds outwards. Once primary moult reaches roughly half way, the secondary moult starts - from the outermost, moving toward the body. On this bird, the inner 5 primaries are new, the sixth is growing, and the outer four are old. The outer six secondaries are new feathers, leaving four old, unmoulted feathers nearest the body (only three are clearly visible here, as needle-like shafts).

Unfortunately it isn't possible to age this bird, since pratincoles undergo a complete wing and body post-juvenile moult. They are almost unique among waders in this respect; most species only moult the body plumage (not wings and tail) in post-juvenile moult. So this could be an adult or 1st year bird.

The low evening sunlight complimented their warm colours perfectly.

A swiftlet to finish off with. At this time of year, this surely cannot be Himalayan Swiftlet, but if I saw it in December the tail fork seems deep enough to get me wondering.

And so to the end of a unique day in my many years of birding!

1 comment:

michelle eu said...

great shot!