Wednesday, August 11, 2010

6th August 2010: Batu Kawan, mainland Penang

Quiz question: How many species are depicted here?

Answer - well just one actually!

Common species can be just as fascinating as rare ones if you get the chance to look at them carefully, as I did today! I went looking for waders at Batu Kawan. I managed to see a few Redshanks, Lesser Sand Plovers, Pacific Golden Plovers and Curlew Sandpipers, but nothing within photographic range. As I was driving along a dirt track I came across a puddle surrounded by Chestnut Munias.

Next to the track and the puddle was a disused guard hut, with a small hole in the side - a ready-made hide! I couldn't resist this opportunity, so settled down in my luxurious hide to await the birds. I was quite amazed by the variation in plumage of the juvenile Chestnut Munias.

I take this(1 in the montage above)to be a very young juvenile, judging by the gape flange, dark colouration of the bill and fresh plumage.

This one (6) also looks very young (dark bill, fresh plumage), but it is already starting to gain a few black adult-type head feathers. It's much less chestnut above and below than (1). It has a noticeable hooded effect (a shadow of the adult black head pattern).

This bird (7) (on the right) has already developed a pale blue adult-type bill colouration. It has black lores and chin, but oddly, seems to have some chestnut feathers on the throat (where the adult is black!).

This one (5) is different again! Very chestnut all over, with dark lores, pale chin and quite a lot of black head feathers coming through, yet without the blue-coloured bill.

This bird (2) has a dark head but no obvious adult head feathers yet. I can't explain its whitish underparts either!

This one (3) is in wing moult - the greater coverts are in pin (still growing out of their feather sheaths), and was rather cold brown.

This bird (4) is more advanced in moult into adult plumage. Perhaps the overall paleness of the old juvenile feathers is due to wear or bleaching, especially the rump and tail?

Birds moulting into adult plumage were no less variable!

A couple of adults to complete the 'set'!

Birds were coming to drink and bathe.

Bathing was more fun!

Excuse me - we're getting wet here!

Eventually some Scaly-breasted Munias arrived.

Both adults and juveniles have a bi-coloured bill - dark upper mandible and blue lower.

It's amazing how few images I have of really common species, so it was good to snap some of Spotted (upper) and Zebra Doves.

The eyes have it!


Jason Bugay Reyes said...

Hahaha nice set my friend !

Wong Tsu Shi said...

Interesting to note that the Bornean race has got much more black on the belly, extending to the breast.

digdeep said...

Thanks Azahari and Wong. I believe the race here is 'sinensis'


Ari said...

Great series and fascinating observation! What a wealth of info....

Unknown said...

Nice shots Dave. I saw a lot of these chestnut munia at the Penang Airport but too far for a good shot!