Wednesday, December 31, 2008

26th December 2008: Permatang Pauh ricefields, mainland Penang

Another morning visit to the ricefields in search of Aquila eagles - Greater Spotted and a possible Steppe had been reported since the one-day visit of the Eastern Imperial. I resisted most opportunities to photograph the birds I'd taken on 20th, as the light was overcast today.

There were a couple of 'lineatus' Black (eared) Kites about, both juveniles.

And I got slightly closer shots of one of several Intermediate Egrets.

Brown Shrikes are usually pretty shy but this one was more interested in breakfast than in me. The lack of flank barring identifies it as an adult male, probably of the 'cristatus' or 'confusus' race. It seems to have fresh scapulars and some new crown feathers. Svensson, in his Identification Guide to European Passerines, mentions that "rather uniquely there is a second complete, or almost complete...moult in late winter in most (all?) adult birds" after a full autumn moult. Could this be the beginning of this second moult I wonder?

When the sun eventually broke through the clouds this 1st winter Black Drongo took the opportunity to soak up some sun.

A group of snipe also indulged in a spot of sunbathing. The loral pattern (the dark lores getting broader and the supercilium narrowing toward the bill base), longish bill and restricted flank barring suggest that this is a Common Snipe. The smaller waders are Long-toed Stints.

The snipe id was confirmed when one bird obligingly spread its tail and angled it to catch the sun. The rather broad outer tail feathers confirm that these are Common Snipes. It is worth observing snipes in the field whenever the chance presents itself. They will quite often fan the tail, either when sunbathing or preening.

Around 11.30am a distant Aquila eagle appeared. Views through the scope revealed that it was an adult Greater Spotted Eagle, but unfortunately, despite driving closer to where I'd seen it, I wasn't able to relocate it.

1 comment:

frodo said...

Good to know that Spoonies are still coming back to Kapar.It has been some 4 years since I last saw two at the ash ponds.Nice pix.