Monday, September 07, 2009

7th September 2009: Teluk Air Tawar, Penang

Some more shots from the wader roost today. The heat haze unfortunately made getting sharp shots very tricky.

One of the first birds to arrive was a White-faced Plover - my first of the season. My earliest last year was 19th Sept. There was also a lone Kentish at the roost, but I never saw them near each other. Apart from the overall pallid upperparts and pale legs, the bright white nuchal collar (of even width, not bifurcated in the centre by brown extending down from the rear crown), the restricted extent of brown on the ear coverts (barely extending below eye level), and the white fringed wing coverts are the best distinguishing features from Kentish. Interestingly, when all the waders left the roost on the falling tide, the White-faced stayed.

Lots of Red-necked Stints today, but I couldn't pick anything odd out among them - not even a juvenile.

Uncropped. I had to wait till the bird bent forward so it would all fit in the frame!

Nice rock!

Interesting to compare the state of wear on the coverts of these two birds. Individual variation, or could the second bird be a 1st summer retaining its old juvenile coverts?

A couple of incoming Red-necks.

The distinctive white rump of a Curlew Sandpiper.

There were a few juveniles around today and I did manage to get a couple of shots. This is a very fresh bird with a delicate golden wash to the breast.

That wash soon wears away, leaving a much duller looking bird. The dark arrowheads or anchor-shaped marks on the upperparts are what identify it as a juvenile.

A Broad-billed Sandpiper arriving.

I managed to snap a fresh juvenile Broad-bill today. What cracking birds they are!

In the field there was quite an obvious size difference between these two birds, the right hand one being larger and longer-billed - so probably a female, with the one on the left probably being a male. Note that water drop again!

Very few Redshanks around today, though they always make themselves heard above the crowd!

Lesser Sand Plovers made up the majority of the roost as usual - I estimated around 2,000.

At this time of year, worn breeding plumaged Lessers are rather orange, similar to the colour of Greaters in spring. However, Greaters moult before leaving the breeding grounds, so are not in breeding plumage on southward migration. So any sand plover with some remnants of breeding plumage at this time of year should be a Lesser.

An adult Greater to illustrate the point! If want to know more about telling the sand plovers apart, there's a useful summary here.

Fearless or foolish? An ant decided to climb the sand plover's leg!

Presumably an early-hatched juvenile, already looking very worn.

A fairly fresh juvenile for contrast.

Next to a juv Lesser (with apologies for the crude Photoshoppery!).

There were three Ruddy Turnstones today, including the first juv of the season.

Two Tereks, one with fresh coverts and the other not.

Shade was at a premium!

Time to go - no pushing please!

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