Wadering in mainland Penang, 13 March 2014

First light saw me stationed in my car alongside the ‘painted-snipe marsh’. There were several birds extremely close, but getting them out in the open was another matter!

Greater Painted-snipe_Kg Permatang Nibong_ 130314_IMG_5158Greater Painted-snipe_Kg Permatang Nibong_ 130314_IMG_5164Two males trying not to be seen!Greater Painted-snipe_Kg Permatang Nibong_ 130314_IMG_5204Greater Painted-snipe_Kg Permatang Nibong_ 130314_IMG_5190

Eventually a young female appeared, feeding by delicately picking insects off the top of the grass stems.

Greater Painted-snipe_Kg Permatang Nibong_ 130314_IMG_5191Understated beauty!Swintail Snipe_Kg Permatang Nibong_ 130314_IMG_5227

Sorry to slip this in! Just to illustrate how frustrating these things can be – I got a sharp shot showing the outer tail and I still can’t identify it! There aren’t quite enough of the outer tail feathers showing for me to be certain if this is Pintail or Swinhoe’s Snipe.

From here I moved to the ‘snipe ditch’, but I have shown most of the shots from there in this post. Once it started to get really hot, I moved to the coast and hired a boat for a couple of hours to try my luck on the advancing tide.

wader roost_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_6045There were one or two birds about!

Red-necked Stint_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5519Of course, I was only looking for one bird amongst all that lot – the Spoonie we had photographed in February, so most of my attention was focused on the Red-necked Stints.Red-necked Stint_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5598

There were plenty to look through…

Red-necked Stint_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5624 Red-necked Stint_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5945…in a variety of plumages…

leg flag Red-necked Stint_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5595…including this bird flagged on Chongming Dao in Shanghai.

Little Stint and RNS_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5501No Spoonies, but I did pick up a couple of Little Stints. This shot is the best I have of the first one, but it shows the small head, round body, upright posture and long legs typical of the species.

Little Stint_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5527 Little Stint_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5534The second one was brighter and also more obliging, being the closest bird to the boat at one point.

Broad-billed Sandpiper_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5932There were lots of Broad-billed Sandpipers, including the two here (with a Red-necked Stint on the left).

Broad-billed Sandpiper_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_6021They’re midway in size between Red-necked Stint (right)…

Broad-billed Sandpiper_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5950…and Curlew Sandpiper (also right).Great Knot_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_6096

Curlew Sandpipers (left) are, in turn, dwarfed by Great Knots.

Asian Dowitcher_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_6052A lone Asian Dowitcher foraging on the advancing tide.

Nordmann's Greenshank_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_6055And a single Nordmann’s Greenshank. It looked rather dozy.

Nordmann's Greenshank_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_6076 Nordmann's Greenshank_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_6078But it perked up later and began engaging in typical crab-hunting runs.possible Aleutian Tern_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5669

A mystery tern in the roost. This bird was much smaller-billed than the Common Terns (the three right hand birds) and too long-tailed to be a Whiskered. I didn’t spot this in the field, only on my monitor when checking later that evening, so I only have a single frame. Initially, I thought this might be an Aleutian Tern, but eventually, with help from others, I concluded that the best fit is a Common Tern with an exceptionally small bill.

There were plenty of opportunities to practice taking flight shots as the tide rose. Here are a few.

Red-necked Stint_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5809 Red-necked Stint_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5814

Red-necked Stint_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5989Red-necked Stint.

Broad-billed Sandpiper_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5919Broad-billed Sandpiper.

Curlew Sandpiper_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5717Curlew Sandpiper.

Curlew Sandpiper_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5879With both shadow and reflection!

Curlew Sandpiper_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5767Note how short-billed the right hand bird is. This is likely to be a male (females are longer-billed).Curlew Sandpiper_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5712 Curlew Sandpiper_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5656

Curlew Sands all in a row!

small calidrids_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5846All together now! From left to right, Curlew Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint, Broad-billed Sandpiper.small calidrids_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5826 small calidrids_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5766

Mixed flocks of the three common small calidrids – Curlew Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpier and Red-necked Stint.Marsh Sandpiper_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5997 Marsh Sandpiper_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5999

Marsh Sandpipers.

Marsh Sandpiper and Common Greenshank_TAT-KM IBA_130314Marsh Sandpiper (left) and Common Greenshank (right).Lesser Sand Plover_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_6036

Lesser Sand Plover.

Eurasian Curlew_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_6009Calling Eurasian Curlew.

Eurasian Curlew_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_6011No man ever made anything so beautiful!

Eurasian Curlew_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5981Eurasian Curlews along the surfline.

Far Eastern Curlew_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_5971The lone Far Eastern Curlew.

Whimbrel_TAT-KM IBA_130314_IMG_6027Whimbrels are darker above and much more compact than curlews.

No Spoonie in the end, but a good slection of birds, and a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours!

5 thoughts on “Wadering in mainland Penang, 13 March 2014

  1. Beautiful flight shots. I’m interested that you say “long legs” for Little Stint. It’s not one of the things mentioned in my field guide, it’s a real rarity in the Melbourne area, and I was recently asked if a probable Red-necked Stint was a Little (photos only) so that would have been another thing to check. Unfortunately I’ve deleted the email so can’t re-check, but will keep it in mind in future. It’s odd too that they were called “Little” if they’re midway between Red-necked Stint and a Curlew Sandpiper! An interesting post.

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