Monday, October 13, 2008

13th October 2008: Bagan Nyior, mainland Penang, and Yan, Kedah

First stop this morning was Bagan Nyior. A few days ago Peninsular Malaysia's first Little Curlew was found south of Melaka, and I was hoping that perhaps I might chance across one in this quite suitable habitat.

This area is home to a herd of cattle and a herd of Water Buffalos. Cows I know about, and am not bothered when they start to follow me. I know they're just curious. But when Water Buffalos start advancing en masse towards me, uttering their deep cough-like bellows, I feel a little uneasy. I'm not sure of their intentions; those horns look mighty sharp, and this is no place to run! Fortunately they eventually left me alone!

Walking into the sun just as it crested the hill, illuminating every droplet of dew, made for some interesting photo opportunities. I found myself wading toward a flock of Pacific Golden Plovers.

Eventually the flock took flight, gold and silver in the low sun.

No Little Curlews though!

The local Crested Serpent Eagle waiting for the sun to get warm.

There were 8 Grey-headed Lapwings, up from one last visit, and I got a few fleeting chances to try photographing Pintail/Swinhoe's Snipes.

There were also a few Little Ringed Plovers and Wood Sandpipers around, and three Long-toed Stints, which I managed a few blurry flight pictures of.

At about 8.30 I drove over an hour north to explore a new area, the rice fields and coast west of Gunung Jerai. There have been some reports of waders along this coast, so I wanted to check it out. I arrived in the area as the tide was reaching its highest point. There was a small flock of 50 or so Lesser Sand Plovers roosting on the foreshore, and in an empty paddyfield there was about 150 birds, including Red-necked Stints, Curlew Sandpipers, Lesser Sand Plovers, Terek Sandpipers, and even a Ruddy Turnstone. It was the first time I've seen these species in this habitat.

Two very different-looking juvenile Common Redshanks. Both have the distinctive buff notches on the scapulars, coverts and tertials, but the lower bird has much larger buff marks, and a different pattern on the tertials. Individual variation or racial differences?

An Intermediate Egret, showing the distinctively small, round head, and short, black-tipped yellow bill.

This female Pied Triller appeared briefly somewhere near Yan as I drove along the coastal bund.

Got a couple of billion to throw away? Why not build a 2.3km bridge from the mainland to an uninhabited island?

And then never open it! Still, I guess we should be happy that the full plan to build a port on this island never took off. Now it's just the world's most expensive fishing jetty!

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