Friday, November 5, 2010

Sg Balang :: 2nd Nov 2010

Errr...just drop by to check my mail!

Migratory raptors are arriving in full swing according to reports i read recently, but obviously Sg Baling is not their passage or final destination, at least not yet!  The farmers are just starting to harvest the crop and it would probably take 3 more weeks before they start removing the dead stalk for burning. Then another two week for ploughing, hence the best time is likely to be mid or end Dec.

The farmers have finally leveled the dirt road near the dump sites. I found only 3 of the inner mud tracks not passable with saloon cars due to the muddy condition. But i literally drove pass all the inner tracks, scrapping the underside of my car mercilessly and twice i was stuck in the mud for half an hour! As the saying goes, "don't buy any equipment from wildlife/nature photographer!"

I did a bird count for the fist time with my trusted fingers and these are findings for the day, for both migrants and res species (7am to 2pm).

Lesser Adjutant : 12
Black Kites : 6
Black-shouldered Kite : 8
Pied Harrier : 1
Spotted Eagle : 1
Blue-tailed Beeeater : 150+
Brown shrike : 80+
Reed Warbler : 50+
Woodsanpiper: 1
White-winged Tern : 100+
 Red-wattled Lapwing : 50+

And of course not forgetting thousands of Munias, Mynah as well as hundreds of herons and egrets. 

My greatest catch has to be the Pied Harrier. It was hovering feets above the paddy field but I could'n Id at sight, knowing the Blk Kite/Brahminy Kite do not fly low over the crop for prey, I took a few shots of it and glad that it turns out to be the Pied Harrier, a lifer for me! In fact if had known its ID earlier i would have spent the day with it!

Pied Harrier (Circus melanoleucos)
Helang Sawah Hitam-Putih *  鹊鹞 マダラチュウヒDiều mướp

The BSKs, perched on the designated poles built by farmers to help control the field mice population. They are the farmers' best friends indeed.

I saw these two were having a mid air fight, it was the Black Kite on the left made the attack initially, but eventually defected by the larger rival . i am still unable to Id the bird on the right! Harrier? White-headed Kite??

One unusual sighting in Sg Balang was the flock of White-winged Terns feeding on insects. I thought they had flown all the way here for our delicious tropical marine fishes! They must be hungry as they were searching non-stop all over the paddy fields.

White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)
Camar Hitam Sayap Putih * 白翅浮鸥ハジロクロハラアジサシNhàn xám

The Brown Shrikes and the Blur-tailed Bee-eaters were everywhere and easy targets. I am just happy to get some improvement shots for the shrikes.

Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)
Tirjup Coklat * 虎纹伯劳 * アカモズBách thanh mày trắng

Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus)
Beberek Ekor Biru * 

The Oriental Reed-warbler were elusive, often hide in the bush once sighted, and getting a full body shot basically require a great deal of patience. Here is the tips, off your engine, cover your window with camou cloth so that they don't see your ugly faces, within mins, they would start popping out wondering where you have gone, at least this works for me every time.

Oriental Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis)
Cekup Paya Besar * 

this particular ORW was just 2' away from my car window for more than 20mins and i have to wait until it perch further for my 500mm lens. I should have snapped with my Nokia though.

With the crop unharvested, the lapwings roost on the dirt track most of the time, so rather useless for gear mounted on beanbag on the window's ledge. I was lucky to see three grumbling Lapwings at a tee-junction and managed to capture some decent shots at about 25' away.

Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)
Rapang Minta Duit * 肉垂麦鸡インドトサカゲリTe vặt

from the movies, "hidden dragon and the crouching tiger" ?

Mixed flocks of the Munias feeding on the fields could be seen from time to time. Often when a flock dive in for feeding frenzy on the rice grains, one would stay on top on the look out for danger. And I was surprised to see this WR Munia on guard for the Scarly-breasted and White-headed Munias. I guess they all speak the same language then!

White-rumped Munia (Lonchura striata)
Pipit Tuli * 白腰文鸟コシジロキンパラDi cam

Chinese Pond-Heron (Ardeola bacchus)
Pucung Cina * 池鹭アカガシラサギCò bợ

Funny i saw two Wood Sandpipers in Sg Balang last year, so another one is arriving soon!

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
Kedidi Kayu * 林鹬タカブシギChoắt bụng xám

Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus)
Burung Botak * 秃鹳コハゲコウGià đẩy Java

Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Pucung Serandau * 草鹭ムラサキサギ Diệc lửa


Black-headed Munia (Lonchura malacca)
Pipit Rawa * 白腰文鸟コシジロキンパラDi cam

So the birds do queue up for water! The one on right is female i think!

I couldn't get a good flight shots of the terns with the 500mm lens, so i switched to 300mmF4 with TC1.4 on my D3s, AF was faster,

and managed to get a FIM shot!

And this tern made the 'goodbye' turn right in front of me just mins before i left for home.

I will be back soon, for the Pied Harrier, and hopefully the Common Kestrels, Marsh Harrier, Spotted Eagle....... !


  1. No owl arhh??? Good observation!

  2. Very fruitful and rewarding trip ! Congrats !

  3. Beautiful collection, Paul.
    See message in FB on my thoughts on the raptor.

  4. What a wonderful post Paul... I love the bee-eater very much... THese birds are wonderful...

    I think that your kite on the post is a black-winged kite....

  5. The pale head raptor attacking is a Eastern Marsh Harrier Juv.

  6. hi..the one labeled as "wood sandpiper", wasnt it a common sandpiper instead? sorry if i am wrong...i am still learning id-ing them myself.

  7. Paul,
    I like those raptors and my dream birds.