All at sea: Tanjung Dawai, Kedah, 23 May 2013

Phew – it’s been … almost a year since my last trip aboard the anchovy boat, due partly to an overbusy work schedule.

The crew made me as welcome as ever – and the day promised to be hot and sunny as we made our way out. It proved to be one of the quietest days birdwise I can remember – hours and hours of not seeing a single bird. No jaegers or boobies, making me realize what a good year 2011 was!

Bridled Tern_Tg Dawai_230513_IMG_9977Bridled Tern was the most abundant species, around a 100 was the biggest number counted at one time.

Bridled Tern_Tg Dawai_230513_IMG_9992They were all adults in varying stages of moult. This one had a nice fresh set of median coverts sandwiched between unmoulted lesser and greater coverts.

Sooty Tern_Tg Dawai_230513_IMG_0060 Sooty Tern_Tg Dawai_230513_IMG_0053 Sooty Tern_Tg Dawai_230513_IMG_0051First year Sooty Terns seem to be regular at this time of year – always just one or two birds. June 3 2010 was my best day for this species, and the only time I’ve seen adults.

Lesser Crested Tern_Tg Dawai_230513_IMG_9962An adult Lesser Crested Tern was a brief fly-by, and another typical record for this time of year.

Great Crested Tern_Tg Dawai_230513_IMG_0108A single Great Crested Tern flew in to take a look too.

Common Tern_Tg Dawai_230513_IMG_0140 Common Tern_Tg Dawai_230513_IMG_0249There was a motley crew of around 20 Common Terns.

Black-naped Tern_Tg Dawai_230513_IMG_0226 Black-naped Tern_Tg Dawai_230513_IMG_0189 Black-naped Tern_Tg Dawai_230513_IMG_0172Black-naped Terns are always a noisy and graceful addition to the melee of terns around the boat. They probably only come from the nearby rocks where they are getting ready to breed, and always arrive with much calling. A single Little Tern completed the tern set for the day.

Short-tailed Shearwater_Tg Dawai_230513_IMG_0087 Short-tailed Shearwater_Tg Dawai_230513_IMG_0104The only other birds of note were a couple of Short-tailed Shearwaters. These are now expected at this time of year. The fishermen told me that they’d been around for about a week, and that one had even landed on the boat! They kept their distance today though.


Some of the now quite-famous members of the crew – they’ve been featured in the national press and more recently, in a popular men’s magazine! Great guys, one and all.


7 thoughts on “All at sea: Tanjung Dawai, Kedah, 23 May 2013

  1. Dave, just discovered we can leave a reply… June 4th at Tanjung Tuan I had about 200 Bridled Terns passing by, all flying north in a very determined way, in just over 1 hour. Nothing else, but it was my first attempt at sea watching from the cape and I was amazed to see so many birds in an hour. Keen to go out into the shipping lanes at PD again to see what else is out there.

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