Thursday, February 04, 2010

1st February: Kampung Permatang Nibong, mainland Penang

While I was away I received news that Hakim had found a new bird for Penang State, a juvenile Asian Openbill, which is also only the second record for the whole country. I won't say I rushed back home on Monday morning, but let's say I found time to make a brief stop at the site!



The bird performed exactly according to the directions I had been given, sitting on a tree near an area of rice paddies. In the heat of the day the lighting was rather harsh, but I wasn't complaining!



It seemed a bit odd that it spends all day perched in a treetop, even in the midday sun. Perhaps it's a nocturnal feeder?



At this point in the proceedings, an Aquila eagle appeared overhead, which proved, on closer inspection, to be an adult Greater Spotted. Later I saw two perched on the same pylon.

The Openbill decided to stretch its wings and have a short fly around.









Not far away, I found another new species for Penang State, although this one is far less welcome.





I'm not a botanist, but I believe this is Cabomba furcata, a South American species. It has recently been flagged by MNS as a noxious invasive plant which outcompetes native species and can cause eutrophication in waterways.

5 comments:

Katherine said...

Superb images! I'm only a novice birder, but doesn't the Openbill look a little like a pterosaur? That heavy-lookig bill...

digdeep said...

Hi Katherine

It definitely has a prehistoric demeanour!

Dave

Simon Taylor said...

Well done on catching up with the openbill...

Ike Suriwong said...

We only started getting them in Phuket a few years ago. I think they are moving south so you may start seeing them reguarly in a decade or so ...
Once persecuted to near oblivion by local farmers thinking they were ruining the rice crops, these birds are now the farmers' best friend (since they prey on cherry snails which eat the rice) resulting in an explosion in their numbers. I was in the central plains of Thailand last year and every morning flocks of hundreds would fly overhead to get to their feeding feilds.
-Thank God for a bit of education which helped these farmers to make the right choice and spare these helpful and beautiful birds!

frodo said...

Dave,
I went through some fieldguides and can't place anything else closer than a female Pied Harrier or female Eastern Marsh.I think we can rule out a female Eastern Marsh because of a lack of chestnut on the thigh and flank.Typically, female Pied harriers is unmarked and whitish,as in your photo. Like you said, the mottled body is unusual for juv. Pied Harrier and I would be inclined to discount that possibility.
ATiah