On my way home from Malim Nawar I decided to detour to Kuala Gula to take a look for Rosy Starlings, None have been reported so far this season, but they are irregularly seen at the site during the northern winter months.
The place to look, apparently, is an area of dead mangrove trees near the coastal bund, near dawn or dusk, when the birds gather before and after roosting. Inland of this is an oil palm plantation, where I found a few mynas in the late afternoon, including both Javan (left) and Jungle (right) in mixed flocks. This is about the northern limit of the current range of Javan Myna, which has pushed northwards over the past few decades, quickly becoming the dominant species and eradicating Jungle Myna almost completely in many areas. The easiest way to differentiate the two is the pattern of yellow at the bill base.
On Jungle, the bill looks dipped in yellow-orange paint, with a straight cut-off where it meets the dark grey/black of the head. This impression is caused by a blackish base to the bill (the gape area) which is absent on Javan, on which the yellow-orange on the bill includes the gape. Typically, Jungle has a browner tone to the grey of the under and upperbody, but this is somewhat variable.
Of course, there were Common Mynas too, instantly told at a distance by their white underwing coverts.
It became suddenly alert, peering around, and 10 seconds later, a Japanese Sparrowhawk came whizzing past. I wondered how on earth it had detected its presence so early. It could not have seen it – perhaps it could hear the wingbeats?
The day ended with no Small Pratincole or Rosy Starlings, but plenty of other good birds and interesting experiences!