Wow – time has passed and I’ve been woefully bad at updating the blog!
An obligatory check of the post-dawn Asian Glossy Starling flock revealed nothing unusual, and the highlight of an uneventful morning was seeing two drongos flying high in off the sea into the forest – Crow-billed perhaps.
Finally, the rain we had prayed for came, and we were forced to take shelter in the nearest foodstall and stock up on teh tarik. Sadly, the rain only lasted an hour, but the impact was immediate.
This male Siberian Stonechat was conspicuous and active along the airport fence as we walked back for lunch. As we were eating lunch, we heard a familiar call and looked out to see a juv Blue-tailed Bee-eater hawking from some wires.
Though commonplace and unremarkable on the mainland, we gave this bird celebrity status as a newly-arrived migrant, and hopefully, a sign of better to things come.
Simon arrived on the Mersing Ferry, and with him, a telescope and a renewed chance of bagging Christmas Island Frigatebird in the evening roost.
A few fillers before the evening show: Scaly-breasted Munia, White-bellied Sea-eagle and Yellow Bittern. The munias reminded me of my daughters at the dinner table! Sadly, despite much effort, we were not able to unearth any more gems brought in by the rain.
Compared to the 17th, the frigatebirds came lower and closer, probably due to the cloud cover. They were still extremely distant compared to viewing conditions on Mantanani, but we were finally able, with the help of Simon’s Swarovski, to count at least 10 Christmas Island Frigatebirds. Sadly, we were unable to pick out a Greater, the ultimate prize bagged by Swee Seng and Carol a few weeks earlier.
In celebration of my 566th species in Peninsular Malaysia, Rafi generously treated us to a seafood meal. However, it soon became apparent – even before I got back to the chalet, that something had been less than freshly caught, and I was quickly plunged into 24 hours of exhausting food poisoning. During that time, we said goodbye to Simon as he went across to the east side of the island, to stay at Juara. My birding log for 20th Nov is a complete blank. The less said, the better!