Saturday, August 14, 2010

12th August 2010: Think like a wader Part 2!

Today was the second day in a row with a 3m hide tide, so I decided to survey the possible wader roost sites south of the port.

Last month I had found several potential sites which might be suitable as wader roosts, so now it was time to see whether the birds agreed with my assessment!

First stop was the prawn ponds south of Pulau Burung. There are a number of newly created ponds which are still empty, but they were also empty of birds!

Next I checked the landfill at Pulau Burung itself. The top of the disused landfill area is now a plateau covered with red earth and some rainwater pools. It looked perfect as a wader roost...

This place is crowded with roosting Savanna Nightjars, and it's impossible to walk across it without disturbing half a dozen or more.

Somewhere I also crossed an invisible line into a pair of Black-winged Stilts' territory, and was told in no uncertain terms to clear off!

Apart from these and a few Wood Sandpipers, Little Ringed Plovers and resident Red-wattled Lapwings, however, there were no waders.

Next stop, Batu Kawan. There's a canal and an area of cleared back-mangroves which runs for several kilometers along the coast here. The trouble is that it is so extensive that birds are widely scattered over it and so only small numbers are visible in any one scan. Initially I bypassed this area, heading for a large area of recently cleared land which will soon become the approach road for the second Penang Bridge. Again, it looks perfect (to me!) for waders - wide open space and lots of freshwater pools - but no birds except a few Black-winged Stilts.

So back I went to the canal, and, thanks to the exceptional height of the tide, most of the area was underwater, concentrating the waders on a few islands still above the water-line.

Space at a premium!

There weren't that many birds - perhaps 400 or so - which bore out my theory that there aren't many rich feeding areas this side of the port. Still, among the Redshanks and other waders, I did spy a lone adult Asian Dowitcher.

The pics aren't great due to the phenomenal heat haze.

Last stop of the day was the paddyfields at Kampung Permatang Nibong. I was hoping to see the 5 Asian Openbills that have recently returned there, but there was no sign of them.

But what's this flying over at great height? A duck? A goose??

Or just an adventurous Watercock! You don't normally see them flying this high up!

A Cinnamon Bittern against a peachy sunset to end the day.

1 comment:

Wong Tsu Shi said...

Love the Asian Dowitcher, Dave, hope to see one here.