Thursday 28 July 2016

Langkawi Birdwatching: Migrants Spotted!

In my fat hope of getting a better shot of the Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator, two unexpected birds appeared. After a long wait for this Buttonquail and having no sign of it, I decided to move on. As if someone told me to walk a bit further towards the water area and thankfully I obeyed. I walked very silently and spotted something tip-toeing on the water. And I saw it! I can never imagine to see her here in this area!

Greater Painted-Snipe hiding
I see you!! We were having a spying game. This female Greater Painted-Snipe stood behind the grass for awhile and was hoping that I didn't see her. Greater Painted-Snipe is a resident bird and uncommon.
She saw me looking at her and she took off to the other side of the field. I followed her and then she disappeared into the bush. While waiting for her, another bird flew over a mudflat. A migrant! Hmm... is kinda early.
A Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 
Common sandpipers are usually one of the first migratory birds to arrive Langkawi. I only spotted this individual on the 22nd July 2016. It was skittish.

Three days later while on a birdwatching tour with Michael and Jill from Australia, another migrant showed up.
Grey Wagtail

The sighting of a Common Sandpiper and a Grey Wagtail marks the warming up session for the migratory birds season for Langkawi. Or should I say it is a sneak preview. Woohoo!!

psstt...btw, the Buttonquail was spotted again with Jill, however, this Buttonquail didn't give us a chance for a photo.

Friday 22 July 2016

Langkawi Bird Watching Tour: What A Quail!

MY LANGKAWI YESTERDAY: One of my guests said that miracles do happen. "Well err...maybe this one?", I told them.

A female Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator was spotted wandering back and forth. She was observed sitting on a patch of sand or dried grass and as if she was sand bathing. She was far, very skittish, small and plump. On top of that, my camera lens is only 400mm and without image stabiliser equates to just a blur and record shot. This species of quail is supposedly common in South East Asia but it is definitely very rare resident bird in Langkawi. I was so so lucky to see her!!

Friday 8 July 2016

Blessed Eid Mubarak

A village atmosphere in Langkawi on the first day of Raya (Eid Mubarak)
This is Langkawi's kampung style. A little boy taking a joy ride on a bicycle with an elder girl (probably the little boy's sister). This moment captured my eyes because both of them were wearing baju raya while pedalling slowly on a bicycle. 

Wishing Selamat Hari Raya to everyone celebrating.

Thursday 7 July 2016

Langkawi Bird Watching Tour: Ruddy Day, Tough Browny

That was my toughest day in looking for Langkawi's iconic Brown-winged Kingfisher Pelargopsis amauroptera. Mark Burgess and Mizuho Takai booked a private bird photography tour with me and their priority was Kingfishers. Initially, they didn't ask for any specific kingfisher and I suggested the Brown-Winged. Mark was advised about the chances of getting the Brown-Winged due to the tide level in the morning. However, the early mornings tend to have better chances of seeing kingfishers and Mark took my suggestion.

We had a good start for a kingfisher while we were in the vehicle not too far away from their hotel. It was the White-Throated Kingfisher Halcyon smymensis. That was easy. Our first stop was at a fishermen jetty nearby. 
Mark Burgess keeping a look out
Except for the Collared Kingfishers Todiramphus chloris making loud noises in that area, there was another bird calling across the river. It was a Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus. This cuckoo was hiding very well from us. Apart from these birds, Brown-Winged was neither to be seen nor heard. We decided to move on to another location.

On our way out of the jetty on the minivan, something caught Mark's eyes. Mark quickly signalled us to stop. Our driver reversed his minivan very slowly. This birdie that I always wanted to see it perch finally made a nice appearance. As always, when one is not expecting to see a bird, it appears! Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda or aka shobin in Japanese. Thank you to Mizuho for that name in Japanese. According to Mizuho, aka shobin is very difficult to see in Japan. Well, same here for Langkawi.

Mark kindly shared his photo of the aka shobin. Mark thinks this image is not good enough and I wish I was the one who had taken this photo with my camera! 

We travelled round the island with three stops for this Brown-Winged. The same bird seem to follow us on every stop. Collared Kingfisher! It is a Collared Kingfisher day indeed!

The day got very hot and humid towards the afternoon. It was about 32-33C and it felt like 39C.

Having not satisfied with the morning session, I invited Mark and Mizuho to come out again in the late afternoon.