Friday 30 September 2016

Langkawi Bird Watching: Waders Check

The start of the migratory season will be a good time to check for migrant waders. Waders are birds or any other animals that wade in any part of the sea, lake or river that is close to the shore. In relation to  birds, they are also known as shorebirds.
Birds of langkawi langkawi birds birdwatching langkawi
I headed out to my favourite coastline for waders on a gloomy morning with the rough sea condition. Thankfully for the strong wind that helped blew those rain clouds away. 
This is normal for Langkawi during the South-West monsoon
On my way to the coastline, I was greeted by this common migrant who has successfully made its journey to Langkawi. Welcome back, Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus.

The tide was coming in when I arrived at the coastline. There were about four grey-coloured egrets catching their breakfast under the grey sky. 
Pacific Reef-Egret Egretta sacra (Dark morph)
Pacific Reef-Egret having it nape feathers being blown by the "natural hair dryer"
Teaser: Name these two birds
This individual had a small fish. Better than nothing!
I was amused watching this same individual having a choke after gobbling the small fish 
For half an hour I was observing and photographing the egrets and then suddenly, a small bird caught my eye. Well...hello there..Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis, our migrant kingfisher!

More migrant waders showed up after the Common Kingfisher.
This was very unexpected. My first sighting in Langkawi and record shot of a Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus on flight at a far distance. 
A Little Tern Sternula albifrons was spotted among the rocks taking shelter from the wind. It was attempting to fly out towards the sea but it was fighting against the wind. The wind was too strong for it. After awhile it found a resting spot before continuing the flight.
A Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva moulting to non-breeding
A flock of Lesser Sand Plovers Charadrius mongolus. Can you count them?
Lesser Sand Plover
When most of these waders have moved on to another location, it was time for me to head back. When I reached further inland, I noticed a tern flew past me. It was probably taking a shelter from the strong wind. It was fast and I could only managed a record shot of this tern.
This migrant possibly is a young Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida
I am still learning more about waders and this group of birds is always a challenge to identify. With some help from MNS Waders support group, we managed to zoom in to Whiskered Tern. If anyone think is another species of tern, please let me know. And if this is really a Whiskered Tern, then it will be my lifer! Woohoo! Special thanks to Andy Lee and Liung for responding to my questions. 
A young White-Bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster was also observed fighting with the wind. This is our resident raptor.

Friday 16 September 2016

Langkawi Bird Watching: What A Quail! Part 2 - A Video Clip

The very short moment with this female Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator in July is still unforgettable for me. This quail was quite a distance away. With her very shy and skittish behaviour, I didn't have a good shot of her. Pastor Yip was kind enough to share his short video of this quail. 

Thank you very much to Pastor Yip and Shirley for sharing their video. 

A note of appreciation: Pastor Yip has kindly put in review for me on his tours here. You may view Pastor Yip's review here

Thursday 8 September 2016

Langkawi Bird Watching Tour: A Wet Birding Day

Langkawi has gone through the peak of the rainy season this year a few days ago. With only little pockets of sunshine, the rest of the days were heavy rain to light drizzle and the cycle continued on for three days. This is a yearly affair for the island and it is normal. I personally look forward to this moment every year. Simply love it! This much needed rain brings the heat down and bringing Langkawi's waterfalls back to live! I have yet to visit the Temurun waterfall and maybe I should. Temurun waterfall will be at its fullest by now. This place will be crowded from tomorrow onward as it will be the public holidays together with the local school term break for a week.

We did have some rain back in August 2016 after a long dry spell. Mandy and her friends went on my birdwatching tour and they had a wet morning. They decided to carry on after an hour of waiting for the rain to slow down to drizzle. When we got to a location for the kingfisher, the rain and wind returned and we were kind of prepared for the morning shower in the outdoor.
Ted, Mandy and El were very well prepared indeed! Can you see the coconut tree behind them was swayed by the wind? My scope was not under the brolly....aargghh!!
They gracefully accepted the laws of nature and went on with the birding on high spirits. On our way to another location for the kingfisher, we did couple of stops by the wetland and reeds area. Under the shelter of our little umbrellas, they had their morning feast of Grey-Headed Swamphens running around on the bed of wet grass with the Red-Wattled Lapwings, Wood Sandpipers standing on the swamp looking pretty wet and cold and those birds dressed in whites, the Cattle and Great Egrets.

What's next for them?