Boat survey of the Teluk Air Tawar-Kuala Muda IBA, Penang, 23 Mar 2014

This second survey of the season will be remembered by those who came for the choppy seas and soaking spray, courtesy of rather strong NW winds. Two of us will remember it for another reason – because 2 of us saw a Spoon-billed Sandpiper! But 2 of us didn’t! I was in the latter group, though not for want of trying. A few other shots from the day below.

Brown-headed Gull_TAT-KM IBA_230314_IMG_6672Brown-headed Gulls were ready to go, and numbers were well down on last month’s count.

Common Redshank_TAT-KM IBA_230314_IMG_6708One or two craggi race Common Redshanks stood out from the crowd as they had begun to develop their foxy brown plumage (upper right).

Common Redshank_TAT-KM IBA_230314_IMG_6915A mixed flock of Common Redshanks and Terek Sandpipers.wader roost_TAT-KM IBA_230314_IMG_6725

Lighting conditions were variable and the haze further hampered things.

Marsh Sandpiper_TAT-KM IBA_230314_IMG_6757At other times the sun was out, providing perfect lighting for this photo of a Marsh Sandpiper.

small calidrids_TAT-KM IBA_230314_IMG_6814The usual suspects – a mixed flock of Red-necked Stints, Broad-billed Sandpipers and Curlew Sandpipers.Asian Dowitcher_TAT-KM IBA_230314_IMG_6874 Asian Dowitcher_TAT-KM IBA_230314_IMG_6882

There were a couple of Asian Dowitchers starting to come into nice red plumage.

Black-tailed Godwit_TAT-KM IBA_230314_IMG_6878A Black-tailed (right) and Bar-tailed Godwit dwarfing surrounding Curlew Sandpipers.IMG_5479

Spoonie fail! We spent a lot of time scouring the stints for the Spoonie – not easy from a rocking and rolling boat. And there were plenty of Red-necked Stints intent on fooling us. This one stood right in front of the primary projection of the bird behind, causing a missed heartbeat!

IMG_6704 IMG_6679= IMG_6678 IMG_6674 IMG_6775 IMG_5679The really devious ones were those which went around with clods of congealed mud stuck to their bills. These are easy enough to discount on a still photo, but a lot more difficult when things are moving about! For more on the differences between real and fake Spoonies, see here!


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