Thursday, 29 December 2011

Langkawi 23-27 December

Last week, me and my friends went to Lankawi island for holiday, and this is my only second visit to this island. On top of my head, birding is my priority.

We board the boat from Penang and it cost about RM110 per person for return trip. On the boat the crew allow the passenger to stay at the open deck which offer opportunity to observe pelagic bird. At least 300 Common tern were seen from Penang to Langkawi and about 500 Common Tern seen on the trip from Langkawi to Penang.

Langkawi island offer a lot of habitat to go for birding. On the island, I check the ricefields near Pantai Chenang and in Kampung Simpang at Padang Matsirat, the montane habitat of Gunung Machenchang, forest habitat of Telaga Tujuh and Teluk Datai, and Mangrove habitat in Tanjung Rhu.

Here is some shot from the island:

Great Hornbill at Telaga Tujuh - The first wild Great Hornbill I encounter very close to human

Great Hornbill - Two Great Hornbill were seen at one point on my way climbing the stair to Telaga Tujuh waterfall. 

Oriental Pied Hornbill - Another hornbill species which is common at Telaga Tujuh waterfall.

View at the top of Telaga Tujuh waterfall

White-bellied Sea Eagle at Teluk Datai - This species and Brahminy Kite is so common on this island

Red-wattled Lapwing - At ricefield

Buffalo and egrets - This view is now rare at Peninsular Malaysia. In Langkawi this is the typical view of their ricefield.

As for lifer, I had seen Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Jerdon's Baza and Brown-winged Kingfisher. This five day trip is a worth to go trip as I enjoy my time with my friends and birding on this island. Finally, the iconic statue of Brahminy Kite of Langkawi. Cheers.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Sungai Prai basin's Ricefileds, 7/12/2011

Sungai Prai, main river that flow in the middle of the mainland Penang is the main catchment for ricefield  in Permatang Pauh. The Sungai Prai rivermouth located at Prai and the basin extended to Sungai Ular in Kulim, Kedah.
Most of area that bound near the estuary of Sungai Prai had developed as urban area, leaving some agriculture and swampy forest area in the middle and upper reach. Along Sungai Prai basin, Air Itam Dalam is one of reserve area that charted by Forestry Department of Malaysia.

Map show  the upper and middle reach of Sungai Prai basin and ricefields bound inside this basin.

In term of birds, ricefield bound within Sungai Perai basin is famous with the Greater-spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Asian Openbill and Black-winged Stilt which can be the keystone species for this ricefield area. Some rare migrant/vagrant birds such as Ruff, Black-head Ibis, Temminck Stint and Baillon's Crake also had been recorded here.The Air Itam Dalam forest is the important habitat to Mangrove Pitta, Ruddy Kingfisher and Laced Woodpecker beside being roosting area for migrating Black/Black-eared Kite.


On Tuesday, 7 December 2012 I went out to my locality the Permatang Nibong and Kubang Semang ricefield to see what birds present. By this time, the ricefield is green with the paddy plant which generally extend one feet high and will fruiting in less than one month time.

A Black Drongo perch on a pole with fertilizer bag - the pole is a new kind of 'scarecrow' that used by farmer nowaday.

After wandering about one and a half hour around the ricefield area, I went to the adjacent aquaculture pond which known as Openbill pond to check for Openbill which is missing since I'd arrive in Penang and other birds that present in that area.

A couple of Pink-necked Green Pigeon

One took off leaving one alone

Pink-necked Green Pigeon are numerous in this area which, unfortunately, attract a lot of village folks to hunt for them. Methods usually used by them is mist netting that involving harassing the bird including using firecracker to make sure the birds flew to the net. 

Oriental Reed Warbler - Common migrant in this area, here you can get a good chances to observe this bird

Beside Oriental Reed Warbler, other warblers that recorded in this area including Black-browed Reed Warbler, Rusty-rumped Warbler, Arctic Warbler and Dusky Warbler.

Wader of the day:

Pacific Golden Plover - Finally it found some space in this area suitable for foraging

Not it - It was they, a total of 47 individual seen in three loosely planted paddy plots near the Openbill pond

Golden Plover is one of wader species that frequently visit this ricefield area. Since most of the paddy plot present were either packed with high paddy plant or flooded by water, I think this species may switch their foraging area. Yes, they switch, but in different place within the same area.

A flock of Munias consisting Scaly-breasted Munia and White-rumped Munia seen foraging near the Golden plover's paddy plot, with 2 Crested Serpent Eagle and an adult Greater Spotted Eagle flew overhead is the final scene of the morning before I decided to move to other area. 

Two Scaly-breasted Munia in their feeding action

Later, I decide to go to Guar Jering / Guar Petai area to observe what occuring there since I'm not visiting that area since I came back to Penang. This area located close to Air Itam Dalam and consisting mixture of ricefield, rubber plantation and swampy forest - sound interesting place to visit.

Once I reach there, I was greet by a Honey Buzzard - good sign

Oriental Honey Buzzard - The first individual seen in this time of year, usually it only seen by mid-October to early November, on migration. This individual seen foraging in that area, two possibilities, late passage migrant or winter visitor.

When I wonder deep to the ricefield area, I was shocked by a large raptor, flying low from a paddy plot to a low perched, I went to approach the bird and it turn to be...

An Aquila Eagle

The perched located too close to the bund road - A motorbike ride past it, then it took off, giving chance for me to obtain the flight shot of this large raptor

I let the large raptor go, after a good more than 15 minutes observation and spotted the other perch this large raptor took to give way for the smallest raptor in this area

Black-thigh Falconet

The smallest raptor in Peninsular Malaysia indeed

I move to Air Itam Dalam as I saw few Black Kite thermalling over the area, the Guar Jering ricefield only separated by the main river to Air Itam Dalam. While I'm approaching the circling bird I saw a Black Kite perched on a tree.

Black / Black-eared Kite - Common migrant raptor in Air Itam Dalam

Air Itam Dalam is one of the known roost for Black Kite in northern west-coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Up to 60 Black Kites had been counted on this site, however for this visit only 7 individual seen in that particular area (4 birds seen circling with 1 Brahminy Kite and 2 Crested Serpent Eagle, 2 seen on perch; preening).

At 1300, the activities of the raptor seem to decrease and after had a quick stop at nearby stall to quench my thirst, I went back to Kubang Semang to see is there anything make stop at the pylon in the middle of ricefield.

Yes, there are birds perch on the pylon:

Two Imperial Eagles perched on the pylon - on top is an adult, below is the sub-adult (Third different plumage of this species recorded in this area for this year)

Later, one White-bellied Sea Eagle join the pair:

Three large raptor on a pylon.

Later the adult took off leaving the immature and White-bellied Sea Eagle

After more than 15 minutes all the raptors move, the adult imperial eagle flew to east direction, the immature flew to northwest and the White-bellied Sea Eagle flew and circling above that area. 

Satisfied with more than 50 bird species seen and with an appointment waiting me I head west with my motorbike...
Until next post...

Sunday, 4 December 2011

My Saturday at Pulau Burung

Last two weeks, I visit this site to look for Garganey and Little Stint, I'd seen both birds plus Booted Eagle and White Wagtail as the bonus. Checking BIW ( It is reported that Lesser Adjutant and Pectoral Sandpiper occur there. Thus I plan to go there to have a good view of Garganey and Little Stint plus considering to get other uncommon/rare birds that might occur there since I haven't seen Lesser Adjutant in my beloved Penang state yet.

I hit out at 0700 to Pulau Burung which situated about 30km from my home. I ride my Lagenda and stop at a 24 hour grocery shop near my area. After I left the shop I seen a Peregrine Falcon perched on a nearby electric pylon, without leaving second thought, I photograph it.

This Peregrine Falcon is the migrant japonicus/calidus race. In my observation for this area, this race is more common than resident ernestii race.

I reach Pulau Burung at 0745 and before I enter the main birding ground I stopped at nearby palm oil plantation as a Black-shouldered Kite perched nicely on a pylon.

An adult Black-shouldered Kite perched on a pole - a good welcome sign

When I enter the main area, I met fellow birder from Selangor, Khor Swee Seng, Carol and one of their friend. They look eager to look for Little Stint, so as I left them to look for the ducks at the pool of Pulau Burung. The first duck highlighted for this trip is Garganey. I spent a good time watching this duck and took notes on it. So my first objective accomplish.

Star bird of the area - Garganey, two of  them, an eclipse male and a female.

Both Garganey stay until a motorbike past nearby their perch point and flew toward a couple of Lesser Whistling Duck and a Common Moorhen in the further middle of the pond as show on photo below:

Picturesque sighting of waterfowls: Lesser Whistling Duck, Garganey and Common Moorhen

The pond in Pulau Burung is famous for the Lesser Whistling Duck. This waterfowl is so common in this area where people can see adult duck swim with duckling and immature duck. 

Lesser Whistling Duck. In Malay known as 'Belibis'

Another waterfowl that common to this area is Little Grebe. Regards their always swimming behavior, Pulau Buung serve as a decent home for them.

Little Grebe - Fascinating bird, swim and dive is among their magnificent behavior

Beside ducks and waterfowl, Pulau Burung is a good habitat for other bird such as waders, herons and egrets, raptors, kingfishers,terns and passerines such as Acrocephalus warbler and wagtails.My second objective today is to spend time watching Little Stint, however my second objective was not accomplish as I only seen the Little Stint for least than 10 second and I don't seen that stint after that. Maybe next time. However I spend a decent time watching Little-ringed Plover and Wood Sandpiper.

Little-ringed Plover - flank view

Little-ringed Plover - view from behind

Wood sandpiper on a piece of wood

Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper

4 Resident raptor species were seen at Pulau Burung today and all were resident species namely Black-shouldered Kite, Crested Serpent Eagle, Brahminy Kite and White-bellied Sea Eagle. 

Who's on perched

Crested Serpent Eagle - handsomely perched on a cable pylon

Another individual perched on a palm oil tree, calling


Paddyfield Pipit - Open area in Pulau Burung seem a good habitat for Pipit

Yellow wagtail - foraging at the grassy area near the pond

After the sun getting high and my bike fuel only enough for my way to nearby petrol station I decide to go back despite I only get one objective accomplish for my targeted three. So no Lesser adjutant, no Pectoral Sandpiper nor any other rare/uncommon bird but I still satisfied with this trip as I seen more than 40 bird species on this visit.

I saw this sign after I come out from the landfill area - In English it was 'Attention. Scavenger allowed to enter the site from 8.00 am to 5.00pm. Only Registered scavenger allowed to enter. I'm not a registered scavenger after all.

After I left Pulau Burung and had my lunch I head straight to Kampung permatang Nibong Ricefield. I saw a sub-adult Imperial Eagle and manage to photograph it to call it a day

Eastern Imperial Eagle - A rare winter visitor to Malaysia, perched on its favorite pylon for the third consecutive December

Golden head and white patch at the back indicate this is the adult individual - I'm questioning myself: Is this the last year adult or last year sub-adult turning adult this year or new individual? A lot thing to do in studying this raptor in Malaysia.

I wait until it took off for the afternoon feeding session to obtained this shot - To me Imperial Eagle is the most elegant raptor occur in Malaysia considering its' size, gothic and fierce look. A sentence in my head to for this bird and it come in Kelantanese malay sound 'Hok ni burung hele' hok jahak skali, garhe molek'

So for today's birding I must call it a day. Until the next post. Cheers

Friday, 2 December 2011

Permatang Nibong and Kubang Semang

In last three days, I had been in my area looking for birds. Since the weather in this area is unpredictable lately, It best to grab each non-raining time of the day to look out for bird.

Some birds I manage to obtain their images:

Black-winged Stilt - Common migrant in this area. It prefer ricefield with opening and contain water as show in this photo.

Two Black-winged Stilt and two Rock Pigeon - as show in this photo, pigeons prefer drier area on ricefield.

Black-winged Stilt flew in flock - that day, a total of 83 individuals present in this area.

Black-winged Stilt is another species I like beside raptors. To me Black-winged Stilt is a pretty bird with pink long legs, white and black plumage and 'innocent' face.

Wood Sandpiper - Common wader species that occur in this area. However, the highest count for now is only 17 birds where in past two migrating season it usually exceeding 100 individuals in this area. Maybe something to do with paddy planting season or flood in Thailand.

Some shot of Resident Birds:

Scaly-breasted Munia - happily on the bund road, they are so common - no matter what paddy season is.

Until this couple ride their EX5 through - Munias had to flew away

And those munia found their space in nearby paddy plot

A White-head Munia is the only different munia present in that flocks

My favorite kingfisher, Stork-billed Kingfisher was around, perched on a tree in area that my fellow Penang Birder refer as Openbill ponds.

Now it aware of my presence - Although Stork-billed Kingfisher is a resident bird, it can be consider uncommon in this area as it preferred habitat is the vegetation along the nearby river

Black-naped Oriole - When I saw this bird in my locality, it make me remember Pulau Tengah, Johor. I admit that miss the island and person work with me on the island. 

After birding today, I went to my favorite burger stall situated in Penanti - a small town nearby. Here is my favorite burger stall:

 Burger Boy: This is the best burger You can get in Mainland Penang or maybe in whole Penang. The menu itself need 3 banner to fit in, burger ranging from burger, hot dog and oblong (and some weird type). They serve beef, chicken, mutton, venison, ostrich and fish burger. My favorite are mutton oblong, one feet hotdog (footlong) and hot dog with cheese. This is an absolutely must try if someone visit my area. Their business operation is from 1800 to 0400 in the morning.

That's all for this post. Jumpa Lagi