Wednesday, August 05, 2009

5th August 2009: Pulau Burung Landfill, Penang

I took a quick look at the local wader spots today to see if many migrants have arrived yet. In short, the answer is 'No'! There were a couple of Whimbrel, a Common Redshank and two Common Sandpipers at Tanjung Tokong, and even Pulau Burung was unusually quiet.

Lack of numbers was made up for by the exceptional tameness of the few that were there!

Judging by the state of the wings I would say that this bird is at the end of its first summer, moulting into 2nd non-breeding/winter plumage.

While this one is probably an adult.

Comparing the wings of the two birds, the upper one shows significantly more bleaching and wear on the old feathers, especially the primaries and tertials, than the lower one. That's because the upper one still retains its first set of juvenile feathers from when it grew them over 12 months ago. On the lower bird, the same feathers were grown late last year, so are probably only 9-10 months old. The upper bird probably didn't migrate back to the breeding grounds for the northern summer, whereas the lower one is more likely to have done, and be a genuine returning migrant.

There were a few Little Ringed Plovers in fresh non-breeding plumage.

Here's the same bird looking quite different colour-wise because of the different-coloured background. It's a good reminder that the colours we see are a product of the way light bounces off different surfaces.

White-browed Crakes are always vocal and relatively easy to see at this site.

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