Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sept 20th and 21st, Tanjung Tokong, Penang

There wasn't a particularly good tide today, but I decided it was high time I checked out my last season's local patch. Despite the much increased construction activity and human disturbance, there was quite a pleasing variety of waders out on the mud, even if the numbers weren't that great.

I found a small group of stints feeding in the outflow of a small stream close to the shore, and they seemed to quickly get used to me sitting quietly a few feet away. I took way too many photos, hence the delay in getting the best uploaded!

I found that more or less the same individual birds came back to the area again and again, with just the odd non-regular customer.

Here's an adult Red-necked with a nice bit of summer plumage still remaining.

Another adult, this time with most of the body feathers being fresh winter ones. Looks as though the wing feathers are still unmoulted. The right hand out of focus bird is a juvenile.

This is a juvenile Red-necked. In fresh plumage those dark-centred scapulars would have whitish fringes, but these have mostly worn away now.

The faint greyish wash across the chest is characteristic of juv Red-necked, as are the rather pale sides to the crown.

Another juv showing off its wing pattern.

There I am, minding my own business, when suddenly I come across this fellow on the right.Long legs, fine, tapering, blob-tipped bill, small head and the straw-brown background colour all say ... adult Little Stint. Another one!

This adult has already begun to moult into its grey winter dress, and the remaining summer feathers are extremely worn. Still, you can just about make out some vestigial pale chestnut fringing to some of those rear greater coverts.

The difference between Little (right) and Red-necked (left) in body shape, head proportions and bill structure is very apparent at this angle. The Little looks more akin to a Long-toed alongside the chunky Red-necked!

Portrait of an adult Little Stint.

Oh yes, there were other birds there as well!

This Greater Sand Plover came to the stream for a drink of fresh water.

A juvenile Ruddy Turnstone just passing through.

On the 21st I took ace photographer Hum Kim Choy with me to try his luck. The Red-necked Stints were very obliging but the Little stayed well out on the mud this time. This fine fresh juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was something of a consolation.

What the waders have to put up with (among other things)!

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