Saturday, October 24, 2009

23rd October 2009: Tanjung Tokong, Penang

It's been a long time since I visited my old favourite wader patch. It's getting more and more difficult to access now, as you have to get through a barrier manned by security guards.

But I eventually made it in late afternoon, and was pleasantly surprised. The first bird I saw was this beauty! So for anyone who's been wondering - the White-faced Plovers are back!

I counted six birds in all.

Since the light wasn't great for digiscoping I took a lot of videos today - another White-faced Plover preening.

Along with a couple of Kentish Plovers.

It was interesting to compare the hunting method of Kentish (above) with White faced Plover (below).

Both together, albeit briefly!

There was a decent roost of about 600 birds at high tide, and as the tide went down, the birds flew along the tideline in front of me in ones and twos to fresh feeding areas. They were a bit distant but the lighting was nice. This Bar-tailed Godwit shows how dowitcher-like the bill can look when it's covered in mud! The prominent white rump shows that this is the menzbieri race, which winters in Australia. Check out the difference between this and the baueri race here.

I've mentioned the variation in Whimbrels here in previous posts, and I photographed the two ends of the spectrum again today. Above is a 'phaeopus-type' bird with very white underwing coverts. Below is a typcial 'variegatus-type', with well-barred underwings.

The same two birds showing the upperside. The lower one (the variegatus type)possibly has a browner base colour to the uppertail coverts. Both birds, and the Bar-tailed Godwit above seem to be at an identical stage of wing moult - all having replaced the inner four or five primaries.

A Whimbrel on the tideline.

And a Common Redshank (the light was nice for 'arty' pics!)

This Greater Sand Plover wasn't such a pretty sight. I wondered whether it had got squirted in the face by a shellfish or squid, or whether this was a man-made pollutant. Either way, things didn't look too good for this bird.

A dream for any wader-watcher in Europe! A couple of juvenile Great Knots.

A couple of Terek Sandpiper fly-bys.

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