Sunday, September 18, 2011

22 - 25 August, 2011: Pulau Tengah, Johore

Apologies for the long delay in publishing this post - I've been snowed under work-wise for the past month.

This was my second trip to the island, where Batu-Batu Resort and Wild Asia are working closely together to promote the study and protection of flora and fauna of this small island, located about 9km off Mersing. For more on the project and the island, see this post.

The main purpose of this visit was to see how intern/volunteers Jyun and Hakim have been getting on collecting baseline information on various aspects of the biodiversity of the island and surrounding area. It was still a bit early for passerine migrants, but returning waders were already in evidence.

A view looking at the north-east coastline. Plenty of cover for southward-moving migrants here!

A few more shots from around the island.

The Kraken awakes?

Stunning beauty everywhere you look!

Even the fish 'heart' Pulau Tengah...!

...for infinity!

A Black-naped Tern in front of an approaching storm.

I spent the last morning at the north end of the island trying to photograph the Black-naped Terns there. The low morning light was challenging!

There was a single newly-fledged juvenile being attended by 2 adult birds, including the very abraded individual here.

The juvenile had short, rounded wings, and reminded me of a Little Gull in flight.

The blood vessels in the wing showed pink as the sunlight shone through the wings.

One of the adults showed up with a fish, but was it for the chick or its mate?

The other adult didn't believe in queuing!

In pole position!

This time the juvenile had to wait. Well, they say the best way to love your kids is to show them you love your spouse!

After the fish was exchanged the giver engaged in some sky-pointing, courtship behaviour associated with several birds such as terns and boobies.

A few more terns.

An interesting rock near the terns. It appeared to have a map of England (or is that a mermaid washing her hair??!) and a light bulb etched upon it!

On our return to the mainland, it was good to see that wader migration was already well under way,with over a thousand birds visible, though most were extremely distant. Among the Lesser Sand Plovers, the most abundant species, were good numbers of juveniles, such as this one.

The peach wash on the breast soon fades. When present, it can make juvs look reminiscent of adults in breeding plumage. However, note the broad buff fringes to all the upperpart feathers, which are lacking in adults at this time of year.

Three juveniles and an adult (second from the right). The adult has much more uniform upperpart feathers and is also in wing moult.

A different group, three adults and one juvenile (far right) this time.


Gretchen said...

Dave, glad you found time to update us on the trip to such a beautiful spot. I viewed the last two pictures as quizzes, and figured out the first. However, I couldn't figure out on the last pic how to know that the far right one is a juvie.

Erwin said...

what an amazing place!

digdeep said...

Hi Gretchen

The easiest way to tell is that, at this time of year, all adults show two ages of flight feathers (ie they are in active moult), whereas juvs have evenly aged, fresh flight feathers - making a nice neat trailing edge to the wing.

Gretchen said...

Yes, I see what you mean now - easy when you know what you're looking for. Thanks!

John Holmes said...

Looks like a great spot... and Black-naped Terns must be one of the most attractive terns around.