Friday, April 06, 2012

23 - 25 March 2012: Kapar power station.5. Terns and Gulls

Gull-billed Tern and Caspian Tern are rare species pretty much everywhere in Peninsular Malaysia. I can't recall having seen either away from the Selangor coast, yet at Kapar, they seem to be always present.

We counted 1070 at the high tide roost, with many coming into breeding plumage.

The flock made interesting shapes when they periodically flew up in panic attacks which seem common to all tern species!

Sometimes the waders got up as well, lending extra texture and colour. These were mostly Great Knots.

Pairing up?

They look pretty hulking alongside White-winged Terns!

But if Gull-billed Terns are the Hulk, then Caspians are King Kong! There were 32 of these beautiful monsters present.

Regal on the deck or in flight.

It's always worth searching through the Gull-billed flock carefully for something rarer. See what other tern species you can find here (Answer below!).

Ah - here's something a bit different!

An adult non-breeding plumaged small gull with a strangely dark bill and rather white head apart from the dark earspot. Small gulls with blackish bills are exciting in these parts, but as always, it's good to start with the common species first!

Unfortunately, the combination of wing pattern (especially the dark underside to the primaries visible on the left wing on the landed bird), dull red legs and overall proportions reveal that this is not a Saunder's or Bonaparte's Gull, but a Black-headed Gull with an aberrantly-coloured bill. On 1 April 2000, some fortunate visiting birders found South-east Asia's first Laughing Gull right here. It was no April Fool, and I'd love to see it repeated, but ... looks like it won't be this year!


White-winged Tern (circled in blue); Common Tern (circled in red).

1 comment:

Choy Wai Mun said...

I could sure use a Caspian Tern. Stunning images as usual.