Sungai Sedim and Kulim Hi-Tech Park, 17 Mar 2014

A text from Mun on Sunday evening about a ‘large, all brown snipe’ flushed off the forest floor at Sungai Sedim on Saturday sent me scuttling over there first thing in the morning in the hope of finding what must surely have been a Eurasian Woodcock.

Before dawn in the car park, there were a number of swiftlets flying around, including three or four of these…

Black-nest Swiftlet_Sedim_170314_IMG_6163At first, I thought I was looking at Silver-rumped Spinetails, but on closer inspection, I realized my mistake.

Black-nest Swiftlet_Sedim_170314_IMG_6158I realized I was watching what were presumably newly-fledged Black-nest Swiftlets. I identified them as such on the basis of the well-capped appearance and grey-brown underparts and rump. Besides, I doubt they could have flown this far if they were from a ‘swiftlet hotel’ somewhere.

Black-nest Swiftlet_Sedim_170314_IMG_6177Here’s an adult with ‘normal’ tailshape. Apart from these, and very distinct from them were…

Himalayan Swiftlet_Sedim_170314_IMG_6128These swiftlets were distinctive, not only in that they had long, broad-based, well-forked tails, but in their manner of flight. This was a series of shallow, stiff-winged, fluttering wingbeats, followed by long glides. The flight mode was reminiscent of a treeswift (but lacked the deep wingbeats) and enabled them to be picked out with the naked eye.

Himalayan Swiftlet_Sedim_170314_IMG_6123 Himalayan Swiftlet_Sedim_170314_IMG_6120The tail fork was noticeable at all times, even when the tail was well-spread, and I found the breadth of the tail striking. It seemed broader at the base than the Black-nest Swiftlets. I have no doubt that these were Himalayn Swiftlets, and was pleased that they were more distinctive than I had expected. Unfortunately, they cleared off well before it got properly light, so I was unable to see any colour on them.

My Woodcock search proved fruitless, so I decided to head home. While driving through Kulim Hi-Tech Park I noticed a weir with water flowing over it on my left. The drought since January has been so severe that anywhere with water is worth a look, so I did a U-turn and made my way eventually to a manmade flood mitigation lagoon with a stream running through it. It looked promising!IMG_1763

The weir I had spotted from the road is at the far end of this photo, and when I reached it, I flushed this…

Green Sandpiper_Kulim Hi-Tech Park_170314_IMG_6286Until almost exactly a month ago, I had searched without success for a Green Sandpiper in Malaysia (for eighteen years!). The very next day, I saw my second, and now here was the third of the month! They’re like buses! This bird was coming into breeding plumage, and had less marking on the tail than the bird in Chuping.

Green Sandpiper_Kulim Hi-Tech Park_170314_IMG_6288It was flighty, but obviously wanted to come back to the weir, which provided some shade in the midday sun, so all I had to do was wait quietly.

Green Sandpiper_Kulim Hi-Tech Park_170314_IMG_6203Showing the distinctive black underwing.

Green Sandpiper_Kulim Hi-Tech Park_170314_IMG_6217Coming back!

Green Sandpiper_Kulim Hi-Tech Park_170314_IMG_1699 Green Sandpiper_Kulim Hi-Tech Park_170314_IMG_1694The bird was quite a lot larger than nearby Wood Sandpipers.Green Sandpiper_Kulim Hi-Tech Park_170314_IMG_1726Green Sandpiper_Kulim Hi-Tech Park_170314_IMG_6260 Green Sandpiper_Kulim Hi-Tech Park_170314_IMG_6321

It eventually returned to the weir, but the heat haze bouncing off the pvc lining of the stream made it impossible to get really crisp shots.

Eurasian Kestrel_Kulim Hi-Tech Park_170314_IMG_6390This interesting new site had one more surprise for me before I left. There were several Oriental Pratincoles soaring high overhead, but I noticed something different among them…

Eurasian Kestrel_Kulim Hi-Tech Park_170314_IMG_6367A smart male Eurasian Kestrel. At the time I thought it was migrating, but others have seen it since, so perhaps it will hang around for a while.

So, the potential superstar did not put in an appearance, but a very creditable supporting cast made the morning’s trip worthwhile.

 

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