Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tuesday 21st November

I learned something today. The high tide was due to reach 2.3m today, and there were birds galore! Last Wednesday the high tide was only 1.9m, and there were very few birds. Obviously a less than 2m high tide is not high enough to push birds off the mudflats in the area, hence the low count last week.

The roost pool was still deserted however, and the reason was fairly clear - construction work has now encroached to within an unacceptable distance for the waders. Though the work is still some way off, the workers are clearly visible, and lorries regularly rumble past.

A sad sight of dilapidation - the glory days for my coffin seem to be over! Time to try out a new strategy for getting close to the roosting birds.

The narrow strip of mud and sand above the high tide mark was fairly crammed with birds however, and I made the following fairly detailed count:

Bar-tailed Godwit 8
Whimbrel 249
Common Redshank 382
Common Greenshank 25
Terek Sandpiper 33
Common Sandpiper 13
Ruddy Turnstone 10
Red-necked Stint 412
Curlew Sandpiper 64
Pacific Golden Plover 454
Lesser Sand Plover 110
Greater Sand Plover 13
Little Ringed Plover 4
Little Tern 3

No sign of the Nordmann's today, despite much careful searching, nor of the Black-tailed Godwits.

A Kentish Plover. The race we get here is 'dealbatus'. These aren't common birds in Penang. My previous highest count was 2! Presumably this is a male, as it has rather blackish ear coverts and neck smudges. Note the pale fringes to the coverts - not unlike Malaysian!

A nice view of the upperwing ...

...and the underwing. Show off!

A Little Ringed for comparison. What a stubby bill!

What's this then? Just a Red-necked Stint or...? Quite a fine-tipped, tapering bill, slightly decurved, looks leggy too. Upperpart feathers are quite dark-centred and the shape is quite round-backed and bellied - all these are features I normally associate with Little... but - I think I'll wait till it moults into breeding plumage!! [Edit - After further scrutiny I think it is just a Red-necked!]

Another image of one of the swiftlets over the site to finish off with. Quite a tail notch on this bird. Comments welcome as always.

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