Monday, February 21, 2011

16th February 2011: Mainland Penang

Reports of an interesting falcon from Hakim send me over the bridge to the paddyfields at Kampung Permatang Nibong at first light. The falcon was not immediately evident, so I scoured the area, ending up at the ponds where the Asian Openbills roost. This is a superb little spot for marsh birds, and would make a perfect ringing site - hmmm - something for the pipeline perhaps!

The openbills were soon located in the early morning light, roosting separately on some low trees.

A couple of birds are now in pretty smart plumage.

Once the sun was well up, they went for a bit of morning exercise!

Interesting to see the exposed red skin on the underwing.

The inner primaries and outer secondaries of this bird are glossed with a beautiful green-bronze sheen.

A bristling reception from an Intermediate Egret!

The video gives a flavour of the other birds in the area - Oriental Reed Warbler, Asian Koel, House Crow and Black-crowned Night-heron can be heard in the background.

A few juv Black-crowned Night-herons were perched on the bushes. I don't often photograph these, so took the opportunity today.

A female Pink-necked Green Pigeon indulging in an early morning sunbathe!

The vegetated ponds looked very 'crakey', but all I could see were Slaty-breasted Rails and this White-browed Crake and its mate.

There were also some Greater Painted-snipes. Unfortunately I didn't get a sharp shot while they were in the open, but amazingly, the camera locked on when they went behind the bushes!

Hakim alerted me to an interesting-looking biscuit-coloured Aquila eagle soaring some distance away, but, while I was driving to get closer to it, he called to say that he had relocated the falcon, so I did a quick U-turn.

The bird was still present on my arrival, but very wary indeed! It turned out to be a fine juvenile Peregrine.

Having had a good look at the Peregrine, I decided to resume my Aquila-hunt, and got lucky when I relocated the 'biscuit-coloured' eagle on the other side of the highway.

I was hoping it might be a Steppe Eagle, but was happy enough to find that it was an Eastern Imperial - my guess is that it is a second calendar year bird. I'm not sure if this is the same bird that was seen regularly in the area a month or more ago.

Before long a second Eastern Imperial appeared - an adult this time. I couldn't see any white on the scapulars of this bird, but couldn't be sure that it was a different bird from the earlier adult.

The long, rectangular, parallel-sided wing and longish tail and head projection of Eastern Imperial are markedly different from the shorter, rounder wings and shorter tail and neck of Greater Spotted. This is a juv. At one point we had 2 Eastern Imperial and 3 Greater Spotted Eagles in the air together - quite a sight!

The differences are quite apparent in this picture of the adult Eastern Imperial (above) and a Greater Spotted together.

The young Eastern Imperial landed in a field, but it soon flew off as we approached. None of these pictures are particularly sharp unfortunately.

Still, I was pretty happy with the morning's birding overall!


Choy Wai Mun said...

Good shots and write-up as usual. The Imperials seem to be avoiding me this season!

Erwin said...

Beautiful! :-)