Saturday, April 23, 2011

4th April 2011: Kapar - everything else!

Really must get this day's posting finished!

Tramea transmarina, I think. I've only ever seen this species in flight before, as they rarely perch.

If you've been wondering how I managed to get so many pictures of waders in flight, I mostly have these guys to thank! Their regular entertainment seems to be to fly lazily over the ashpond and - oops - look at all those waders flying around in blind panic!

Not quite so frivolous as my imagination makes it sound. Although Brahminy Kites could never catch a healthy wader, my guess is that they flush the flock to 'flush out' any which are weak or injured. Those are the ones they have a chance of catching. I spent quite a bit of time watching one such bird - a Grey Plover which could barely fly. Interestingly, it never associated with the main flock, but kept to the edges, in thick vegetation, and hid by crouching down when all the other birds took off. Smart guy/gal!

Some other overfliers - a local Grey Heron, which has a nest nearby, and a Little Egret, which was certainly worried about something - one of the kites perhaps?

Curlew Sandpipers.

A ringed bird. The orange colour is probably staining; the band is naturally silver-grey. The fact that this bird has no leg-flag probably means it was banded here at Kapar.

A Tringa, 2 calidrids and a Charadrius plover - can you identify them all? (Answer below!)

Common Redshanks (mostly).

I'll let you loose on this one! You should, if you click the image and get your scope out, be able to find: Greater Sand Plover, Lesser Sand Plover (including an odd one - details in the next post!), Common Redshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Great Knot, Red Knot, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Greenshank, Whimbrel. That's the order I found them in. Can you find anything I missed?

Whimbrels landing...

Some more gracefully than others!

Now here's an interesting shot! For some years I've noticed a wide variation in the extent of barring on the underwings of Whimbrels we get here. Here are two ends of the spectrum next to each other. It's not just the underwings. Check out the difference in extent of barring on the breast, flanks, axillaries and vent! According to the books, the paler version should be the nominate 'phaeopus' race and the darker one the 'variegatus' race. But, as other pics, even in this post, illustrate, there seems to be an infinite variety of intergrades rather than two distinct types. So, while underwing pattern on some species can tell us a lot, on Whimbrels, it doesn't seem to add up to very much at all!

Another interesting shot! Back on March 29, 2009, I was at Kapar with Simon B (Simon's great blog is here when he picked out an odd Whimbrel with a white face (see this pic). Two years later, here is the same bird! Since I specialize in 'white-faced' waders, I've named this bird "Simon's White-faced Whimbrel"!

[Digression: If you're an optimist, it can be a good idea to give some thought to what you're going to call that new bird for science which you will one day discover. I still remember a conversation with Dave Batchelor and friends at UEA, who were about to go on an expedition to Africa somewhere. His friend (whose first name escapes me, but his surname remains with me for reasons which will become apparent) had already planned that, if he found a new bird for science, he was going to call it 'Sulley's Donkeypecker" (regardless of its physical affinities). Since there is not yet a bird known as Sulley's Donkeypecker, I assume he hasn't been successful... yet!]

That's it for the 4th!

ANSWER: (L to R) Red-necked Stint, Lesser Sand Plover, Red Knot (front) and Common Redshank (rear)


Anonymous said...

Great postings Dave! Love it!
Peter Ericsson

Choy Wai Mun said...

I really enjoyed the entire series. Thanks for sharing.