Thursday, May 03, 2012

21 April 2012: Pelagic off Tanjung Dawai, Kedah - the rest

Terrible weather we've been having!
Pulling in the nets.

The first few Short-tailed Shearwaters of the season. As always, it was difficult to estimate numbers, but, as seems to be the case annually, the first few birds of the migration period keep their distance from the boats. Later on, they approach much more closely.

Today's birds were the earliest on record (this is only the third year we have had records!). There are still a couple of weeks before peak season, and there's still time to make plans if you want to charter a boat!

The other bird of note was a first winter Sooty Tern. It's easy to see why they're so called from this shot! The fishermen call them 'black terns'.

This photo shows the distinctive forward-tilting flight shape these birds often show. It reminds me of the way skimmers fly.

Sooty Tern differs from Bridled in that its first moult (post-juvenile) is complete. This bird already has fresh outer tail feathers, inner primaries and greater coverts.

This Bridled was just beginning its first full moult as it enters its second moult cycle (the moults into 'first winter' and 'first summer' plumages are only partial moults).

 White-winged Terns are stunning at this time of year!
Black-naped Terns are always good value!
There are not so many Common Terns around now, but a few adults in smart breeding plumage remain.
The scene at the back of the boat as we headed back to port.
This gave a good opportunity to test my flight photography skills in the rapidly declining light!
There was still a bit of a swell even in late afternoon.

Time to reflect on a good day out and the wonder of God's infinitely varied handiwork!

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