Air Itam Dalam, mainland Penang: 8 Jan 2014

Reports of performing Great-eared Nightjars at Air Itam Dalam were too tempting to resist, so I made my way down there after work. While waiting till the ‘witching hour’ I watched an endless procession of House Crow flocks following the river south-west, no doubt heading for a highway toll roost somewhere. I was also surprised to see about 230 Asian Openbills quietly dropping into the recreational forest as dusk approached.

Paddyfield Pipit_AID_080114_IMG_0787I tested out my camera settings one a pair of Paddyfield Pipits as the light faded, and quite liked the result on this one! This was digiscoped. I had a plan to try to shoot the nightjars in flight with the DSLR and then use the scope set-up for the perched birds later.

Great Eared-nightjar_AID_080114_IMG_9757A pair of nightjars emerged on schedule at about 7.30pm and flew across the river. I was struck by the very long narrow tail.

Great Eared-nightjar_AID_080114_IMG_9759 Great Eared-nightjar_AID_080114_IMG_9766They look harrier-like in flight, and are roughly similar in size.

Once they settled to start territorial calling, it was simply a matter of walking up slowly to a reasonable distance and then setting the camera up. Focusing was quite a challenge. Here are some of the better attempts.

Great Eared-nightjar_AID_080114_IMG_0834 Great Eared-nightjar_AID_080114_IMG_0840 Great Eared-nightjar_AID_080114_IMG_0842The bird was pretty active while on the post, so getting it still enough for a sharp shot with such a slow shutter speed was another difficulty.

Great Eared-nightjar_AID_080114_IMG_0846Not sharp, but this shows the pink gape as the bird was calling. The call is beautiful – I’ll try uploading a video later.

Here you go!

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6 thoughts on “Air Itam Dalam, mainland Penang: 8 Jan 2014

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