Wednesday, March 19, 2008

18th March, 2008: Pulau Burung Landfill site, plus night excursion

This was my first visit back to the site since last October, and things have certainly moved on since I was last there. Vegetation has now taken over a lot of formerly open areas, and the number of waders at the high tide roost was significantly lower than last autumn.

On the plus side, the number of Cattle Egrest was up to around 400, many coming into good breeding plumage.

There were also more stilts around - about 60 birds, though no signs of breeding.

Plenty of Greater Painted Snipes too. This one is a female coming into adult plumage.

Among the very few stints, there were at least two Little Stints, along with two Red-necked and two Long-toed! In this picture, the Little is on the right, the Red-necked on the left. The difference in structure between the two species is well illustrated here; the small rounded head that seems stuck on top of the body on Little, and the larger, squarer head of Red-necked, that seems positioned more at the front of the body. The rounder body shape of Little is also apparent in this photo, as well as the finer-tipped bill.

Here's the same photo cropped to show the Little Stint. The distinctive broad chestnut fringes to the tertials and tail feathers are just about visible.

This is the other bird. It also has fresh tertials with broad chestnut fringes, as well as a few new upper scapulars and median coverts. The tail is not yet moulted however.

Check out the leg length, the head, neck and body proportions compared to Red-necked (left).

Red-wattled lapwings are numerous, and this pair obviously have eggs or young nearby.

Wood Sandpipers are among the most numerous migratory waders.

Over in the deeper water area, the trees fringing the water have been cleared, and vegetation is growing up in patches in the water.

White-browed Crakes and Watercocks have arrived with the thicker vegetation, as well as three Lesser Tree Ducks.

A pair of Moorhens seem unconcerned by the arrival of a Grey Heron (a rather English scene!)

Now for something completely different!

A short trip up to Air Hitam Reservoir with Choo Eng produced a trio of owls, despite persistent rain for the early part of the evening. Buffy Fish Owl and Brown Hawk Owl were seen, but the best of the bunch was this confiding Bay Owl, still wet from the rain!

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