Mainland Penang, 16 Feb 2014

David Wells, author of the 2 volume Bible of Malaysian avifauna, The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula (ubiquitously known simply as ‘Wells’) is spending an extended time in the region, and we arranged a short tour of the north for him to catch up on some of the many recent birding phenomena in our area.

After an overnight bus trip from Singapore, he was ready and raring to go, so we headed across the bridge to see what we could find on mainland Penang. First stop was the Manchurian Reed-warbler site, and the birds performed brilliantly, though not for the camera (i.e. I was too slow!).

Manchurian Reed-warbler_Kg Permatang Nibong_160214_IMG_2930It was interesting to see that they had completed their moult. The site was much drier than the last time I visited, and where there had been a deep pool previously, there was now a muddy puddle, out of which we flushed a black-and-white-looking wader with a distinctive, ringing call ‘t-veet-aveet-aveet‘. It flew directly away from us, and was gone too fast for a photo, but there was no mistaking the call or the appearance – a Green Sandpiper! This is a bird that’s familiar enought to me from the UK and further north in Asia, but it is truly a rarity in Malaysia, and one I have hunted for for many years. So that was a Malaysian lifer apiece for David and I – he had seen a Green Sandpiper many years previously, but the warbler was, of course, new for him. We soon added a second Malaysian lifer for him in the shape of a couple of Asian Openbills in the paddyfields.

Germain'sd Swiftlet_PermatangPauh_140214_IMG_2621Later in the evening we went sniping. This is one of many swiftlets hawking overhead – one of the domesticated variety of ‘white-nest swiftlet’ – which a recent Forktail paper has suggested may be a hybrid of imported taxa and native Germain’s.

Grey-headed Lapwing_Permatang Pauh_100214_IMG_2219David’s third Malaysian tick was Grey-headed Lapwing – it’s easy to forget that this was  a great rarity in Malaysia only 20 years ago. There were many snipe feeding in the pool too…

Common and Swinhoe's Snipe_Permatang Pauh_160214_IMG_1453…both Common (left) and Pintail/Swinhoe’s (right). I’ll devote a separate post to these later.

Pintail or Swinhoe's Snipe_Permatang Pauh_140214_IMG_2795An evening ‘Swintail’.

Black-winged Stilt_Permatang Pauh_140214_IMG_2698These Black-winged Stilts were taken at the same site a few days before. A flock in flight makes great shapes!

We turned in at a reasonable hour in anticipation of an early morning start the next day, when we would be heading north to Perlis.


2 thoughts on “Mainland Penang, 16 Feb 2014

  1. Wow! A Green Sandpiper. Must try my luck there soon. Yes, I can still recall how excited I was when I saw my first Grey-headed Lapwing in Malaysia. Now that you mentioned it, the Stilt was also a rarity back the day.

  2. Pingback: Sungai Sedim and Kulim Hi-Tech Park, 17 Mar 2014 | Dig deep

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