Wednesday 27 November 2019

Rare and Uncommon Ones Confirmed

Most of the bird enthusiasts here are always on a lookout for any rare species or even better, a new record for Langkawi especially during the migratory season. If only I can split myself into a few of me and look for birds in a few locations at the same time, that would be awesome. That's impossible, of course, and thankfully I have updates from others who had either informed me directly or submitted to E-Bird or even via social media. I have not been much luck lately in spotting a lifer for myself or photographing a rare migrant in Langkawi. Like I have always said, it is all about being at the right place at the right time.

For the past two months, there are reports of rare migrants seen on Langkawi. These are Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea, Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane, Chinese Goshawk Accipiter soloensis and Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster. These species have been listed and compiled to a journal by Yeap Chin Aik which was published under Malaysian Nature Sociey in Malayan Nature Journal 57 (1) 91-144 (2005). This journal is one of my primary source of reference for birds record in Langkawi Archipelago. And yet, I have not come across any of these birds myself or any photographs published. Therefore, I was doubtful until now.

These are the following status based on Yeap's journal:
1. Ferruginous Flycatcher was reported seen on Pulau Payar on 26 April without any date given.
2. Siberian Blue Robin was only recorded as seen in the lowland and hill forests but no date given.
3. Chinese Goshawk was reported seen in Gunung Raya on 18 May 2002.
4. Oriental Darter was reported as locally extinct and one recorded in late November or early December 1907 on Dayang Bunting Lake (Wells 1999; Medway and Wells 1976). According to Wells from  The Birds of Thai-Malay Peninsula Volume One Non-Passerine, it is possible that Oriental Darter a former resident, local and apparently sparse; now vagrant. Darters vanished from the Peninsula where some still breed in South Vietnam and probably Cambodia. Oriental Darter is now considered as migrant or vagrant for Peninsular Malaysia.

The followings below are the recent sightings:
1. Ferruginous Flycatcher was photographed by Sofian on 24th September 2019 in the secondary forest of Eastern Langkawi.

2. Siberian Blue Robin male was photographed by a guide who was on morning walk at a resort on 9th October 2019. According to a reliable source, this male Robin hit the glass window panel and then he was seen by the guide. It was circulated on the guide's Facebook but not shared publicly. I was alerted by a friend and I later found out how this male Robin was spotted. This Robin was still alive when the photographed was taken. It is unknown as what has happened to this Robin after the crash ordeal. No picture posted here as I did not ask for the guide's permission to share his photo but I have seen it.

3. Chinese Goshawk was spotted and photographed by another birder around the area of Gunung Raya foothill on 24th October 2019. 

4. Oriental Darter was spotted and photographed by my English guest, David Bradshaw on 27th November 2019. Congratulations for spotting this, David! Thanks for sharing the location and I got to see one myself.

A record shot of possibly an Immature Oriental Darter perched in the middle of a rice paddy field. Thank you for this, David Bradshaw!

With the advancement of digital technology which has created affordable optics equipment,   birdwatchers these days will carry along some form of camera to have record shots besides a pair of binoculars, pen and notebook. I would say that in this era, it is a necessity to have some evidence of rare sightings besides the traditional notes taking.

1. Yeap C.A (2005). Report on Birds of Langkawi Archipelago. Malayan Nature Journal 2005, 57(1),107
2. Wells, D.R. (1999). The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula. Volume One: Non-passerines. New York: Academic Press.