Tuesday, August 12, 2008

12th August 2008: Sungai Burung

Some days are good days; today was not one of them! I decided to make a short morning visit to an old hunting ground in the south of the island. Later I realized I also went there on this very day last year.

When I arrived the first thing I discovered was that my water bottle had emptied its entire contents over the back seat of the car. Next I found a fisherman sat just where I had hoped waders would be roosting at high tide!

Abandoning the mudflats, I headed for an area where Copper-throated Sunbirds are always a good bet. However, I found that the undergrowth in the area has been cleared and planted with banana trees, so that, although there were a few Copper-throats flying around at tree-top height, only one female came anywhere close to being photographable, and she was right in the sun!

The bill is markedly longer than on Brown-throated, and the throat is whitish, contrasting with the yellow underparts. The tail is also quite long and graduated, with white tips.

While seeing if the birds would respond to playback, my MP3 player died without warning, so it may have to go back to the service centre for the second time since I bought it.

Back at the car, a number of swiflets and Asian Palm Swifts were zooming around low over the mangroves, so I pointed my camera in their general direction and started shooting.

Presumably, these pale rumped birds should be Collocalia (fuciphaga) germani - variously called Edible-nest, Germain's or German's Swiftlet. The problem is that all the descriptions I've read tell me they should have blackish shaft streaks on the pale rump, which these birds never showed. The pointed flight and tail feathers and pale fringes to the coverts presumably indicate that these are juveniles - perhaps they lack the dark shaft streaks. Can anyone shed any light on this tricky issue? It's frustrating to be able to get such good views and still be unable to put a name to these birds!

Anyway, they sure have big mouths!

I got lucky a few times with Asian Palm Swifts.

I guess this one's an adult, beginning primary and secondary moult. These birds have a really unswiftlike head , and a surprisingly large and long bill for a swift.

The fresh plumage and gingery fringes to the inner median and greater coverts make me think this might be a juvenile.

At a point soon after taking these pics my camera shutter suddenly refused to fire and I got an error message on my screen. The problem hasn't gone away, despite removing and replacing batteries, etc. So enjoy these pics, they might be my last for a while!

A day of technological rebellion and frustrating views - still, the swifts were fun!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Nice Dave as always! Bout the swiftlet me also no idea but agreed it's edible. After looking at your asian palm-swift,i solved my mystery bird,it has the same wing shape as the asian palm-swift. Thanks.