Monday, March 01, 2010

1st March 2010: Kampung Permatang Nibong, mainland Penang

Another month gone! I managed a couple of hours in late afternoon at the Asian Openbill site. Two were seen there last Thursday, but there were none in evidence today.

Everywhere is so dry now - it's been weeks since we had any proper rain, and daily temps are a couple of notches above normal.

I watched some tractors ploughing up a fallow field. As the uncut area got smaller and smaller, various birds and rodents made a dash for safety at the edge of the field.

Shall I, shan't I? A Slaty-breasted Rail toys with the idea of breaking cover.

Go for it! A total of five of these birds came out of the final strip of grass - most likely a family group, as most were subadults.

An unbelievable number of rats also emerged as the final strip disappeared beneath the tractor. At first Hakim and I thought they'd got away with it, as there were no raptors around, but at the last minute this majestic White-bellied Sea Eagle arrived and quickly sized up the situation...

Unfortunately I missed capturing the moment of impact as the camera instantly focused on the background as the bird dived in. Here it is with its prize - the one that didn't get away.

Purple-backed Starlings are always very shy and difficult to get close to. The light wasn't great today due to the haze in the air from stubble-burning.

There were many Red-rumped Swallows about today, some of the worn adults had practically white rumps.

Late on the Greater Spotted Eagle came in to roost on its favourite pylon. It must have been choking on the smoke this evening.

My best find of the day though, was in the letterbox! My Dad sent me this article in the June 2009 issue of the Suffolk Ornithologists' Group bulletin, the Harrier. My own account of the meeting is here. It's nice to find myself still being referred to as a "boy" - that's good Suffolk that is...boy!


wondersf said...

A usual your flying shots are hard to ape! You are lucky again to get that Rail too.

Kate said...

Breathtaking sequence of the Eagle! Wow. Is it called a stoop? Or is that only for falcons?

digdeep said...

Katherine - I think eagles can stoop, but this was more staged than a straightforward stoop - it did it in several steps, losing height, then pausing, losing height, then pausing, before finally dropping onto the unfortunate rat.

Kate said...

Ah. Thank you for that. I've recently been learning a little about Karearea, the NZ falcon.