Monday, March 07, 2011
5-6th February: north-west Kelantan
A group of us from Penang set off on an exploratory trip to some rarely-visited Kelantan wetlands - To' Uban and Empangan Bukit Kwong (see map), in the wild hope of finding some long-lost rarity! Our imaginations had been fired up by Tony Sebastian's reports of vultures, dabbling ducks and pelicans in the early 90s.
It took us a couple of hours of driving till we finally located this beautiful lake, set deep in rural Kelantan.
There is a stunning white mosque known as Masjid Brunei on the shore.
We eventually found our way to it. It was just as impressive close-up as it had been from a distance!
We were unable to find a boatman so were reduced to scanning the many good-looking areas for waterbirds from the shore. A male Pheasant-tailed Jacana flew into the vegetation opposite and was lost to view, leaving us wondering what else might be in there. Definitely a place worth revisiting next winter.
A roadside pair of Indian Rollers caused an unscheduled pit-stop at Tok Bali.
A Black-naped Oriole shared the same tree. Judging from the width of the yellow at the tip of the tail, I think this is a male, and the restricted yellow on the tertials and secondaries reveal that it is a one of the resident 'maculatus' race.
A Grey-faced Buzzard flew by. I hope to get better shots of this species next week at Raptor Watch, Port Dickson!
Empangan Bukit Kwong is a man-made reservoir right on the Thai border.
We were surprised to see Javan Mynas were common in the area.
As were White-vented or Great Mynas. The origins of these birds are debatable, but they have certainly established a viable presence there.
A mixed flock of Jungle, White-vented and Javan Mynas!
A number of Pintail/Swinhoe's Snipes were feeding in the same area.
Master of disguise! Spot the snipe.
Our plans were hastily rescheduled when we met a boatman who gave us a description of 7-8 birds he sees on the lake daily which closely matched Oriental Darter! Unfortunately he wasn't free to take us out, but we found another boatman who was willing, though he himself had not seen the birds.
A wary Common Kingfisher watched us pass.
As did this Chinese Pond-heron.
This Osprey allowed us to approach fairly closely.
Before deciding to move elsewhere. No darters this time, but again, another place certainly worth revisiting.
A late afternoon visit to Pergau Dam on our way back home yielded a few good birds - Long-tailed and Dusky Broadbills, White-crowned Hornbills and Himalayan Swiftlet, but it was this impressive Rhinoceros Beetle which attracted the cameras!