Mainland Penang, 25 November 2013

The paddyfields around Kampung Permatang Nibong are being ploughed at the moment, and are a pretty good place for raptors, as I found out during an afternoon and evening foray last week.

Great Spotted Eagle_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5710Star of the show was this Greater Spotted Eagle. I don’t have any good raptor books in my collection, so am a bit wary of aging more precisely than ‘juvenile’, ‘subadult’ or ‘adult’ but Dr Chaiyan says this is a 3rd plumage bird (plumages don’t necessarily correspond to calendar years with large raptors).

Great Spotted Eagle_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5712Anyway, it was taking a good look at me!

Greater Spotted Eagle_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5773I counted at least three other birds, all distant views, including the juvenile above.

Greater Spotted Eagle_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5844This one, moulting its inner primaries…

Greater Spotted Eagle_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5831…and this one, in heavy moult. It seems long-tailed, but I’m pretty sure that’s an optical illusion caused by the still growing tertials and inner secondaries.

White-bellied Sea-eagle_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5743There was also a fine pair of adult White-bellied Sea-eagles cruising around, as well as a pair of Peregrines, a Black-eared Kite or two, several Black-shouldered Kites, many Brahminy Kites, and several each of Eastern Marsh and Pied Harriers.

One Pied Harrier in particular, a juvenile male (judging by the grey uppertail) was particularly obliging.

Pied Harrier_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5857It was unusual in that the whole tail was regrowing. This sometimes happens when a bird loses all its tail feathers. They were grey with a single dark band midway along their length.Pied Harrier_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5889

It seemed oblivious to me, and I got some very pleasing flight shots. Pied Harrier_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5902

Even better from my point of view (though not from his!) was that he was being persistently ‘harried’ by a House Crow, leading to an amazingly acrobatic flight display.Pied Harrier_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5875

Pied Harrier_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5895

Pied Harrier_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5900

Pied Harrier_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5878

Pied Harrier_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5907

Pied Harrier_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5914

Pied Harrier_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5923

Pesky and persistent – that crow just would not give up!

Pied Harrier_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5905Best just pretend it’s not there!

Pied Harrier_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5972Later in the evening, a juvenile female turned up (brown tail).

Pied Harrier_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_6005She’d recently eaten, judging by her bulging crop.

Paddyfield Pipit_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_5938I can rarely resist a posing pipit. In this case (as in most) a posing Paddyfield Pipit!

Near to dusk, I found a promisingly ‘crakey-looking’ bit of marsh, so I decided to stop the car and wait to see what would emerge.

Greater Painted-snipe_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_0014First to step out of the thick vegetation was a male Great Painted-snipe. I took this using my digiscope set-up at 1/50s, so I wasn’t able to freeze his nervously bobbing rear end. Eventually there were at least six painted-snipes in this little patch of marsh, including 2 females trampolining up and down with wings akimbo – a great display!

Slaty-breasted Rail_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_6051Three Slaty-breasted Rails and a Ruddy-breasted Crake crept furtively about, clearly nervous about my car.

Oriental Reed Warbler_Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_0055Oriental Reed Warblers became active near dusk, and sat in plain view preening. I was down to 1/40s on this one! I could hear at least one Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler calling in there too, but couldn’t catch a glimpse.

Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_0062Finally it really was time to go, but not before I had a chance to admire the rapidly setting sun.

Kg Permatang Nibong_251113_IMG_6080

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4 thoughts on “Mainland Penang, 25 November 2013

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