Monday, December 13, 2010

Sg Balang :: 11th Dec 2010 Steppe Eeeeeeegle! :))))

My arrival was greeted by this unknown bird which came hovering right on top of me for a brief moment, does anyone know its ID? Japanese Sparrowhawk? Besra? Well, what ever it is i would be happy for this lifer!

Last Saturday's trip was a bit mystifying, i had told my friend earlier some how i had a very strong feeling for a rare lifer on the ground. Naturally he was glad to hear that too as whatever it turns out, he would have the opportunity to shoot it as he was traveling with me. So the hunt was on the moment i arrived Sg Balang at 7:30am.....

No, no this Scooter-sized bird i guess......

Maybe this juvenile Moorhen i thought! I was glad to have this as 2nd lifer! ! In fact i had mistaken it as unknown Crake species while photographing it! The juvy Moorhen wasn't shy but it was foraging away slowly and my sight was partially blocked by the '"giggling' bushes, hence missed the opportunity for some really close up shots.

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), Juvenile
Tiong Air * 黑水鸡/紅冠水雞バンKịch

Irrigation has started two week ago so quite a few species of migratory waders have arrived, Some were sighted, Terek Sandpiper, Snipes, Green/Red Shanks plus a couple which i couldn't iD as they'd disappeared before i could take a shot.

Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva)
Rapang Kerinyut * 金斑鸻ムナグロChoi choi vàng

Glad to see that more than 6 Oriental Pratincole were sighted. As usual, they are hard to spot so just firing at any mud-looking lump that moves...

The GSE was roosting on a tree at low level just 20' in front without me knowing. By the time I notice it it was too late and it took off right in front of my vehicle

And Bingo! My 3rd lifer! In fact I had mistaken it as a juvenile GSE, a GSE is always considered as 'glamorous species' anyway i thought, so both my friends and i approached it slowly from far and fortunately it was rather tame doing some pre-flight stretching on the ground.  I have made numerous trips to Balang for the Steppe Eagle last year alone, so i am extremely happy to get it in my 4th trip this year.

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)
Helang Padang * 草原鵰 * ソウゲンワシĐại bàng hung

Sg Balang is 'infested' with all common species of Munias, so if you unable take a good shot of it you better go consult a fortune-teller for a auspicious date for your next visit. :)

If you asked me, a little too much eye contact in this picture! This guy stared at me for more that 2mins while hundred of his comrades were having a feeding frenzy! Cute huh? Always look out for the "Guard" which usually perch on top of the feeding flock, this "Guard" is the one who commands when to flee by calling loud when it senses some imminent danger coming. So be nice to this fellow and you can shoot the whole flock to your heart-content!

And below, 4th lifer for me, an Eastern Marsh Harrier! 

Eastern Marsh Harrier (Circus spilonotus)
Helang Sawah Besar * 白腹鹞チュウヒDiều đầu trắng

And a young Kite wasn't really happy with the little Harrier...So they live in the same world like us, smaller guys always get bullied!

One strange phenomenon i had observed is that many raptors were roosting on the ground, I didn't see any WBSE hovering, so my only guess would be the huge plane that constantly flying pass at unusually low altitude over the paddifields, so the raptors might have been scared by that. 

always watch out for GSE while moving along the infield dirt road..

Go Balang on weekday because farmers are working on the soil, raptors are actively hovering on top,  so stay close to whatever machine the farmers are operating and you are almost guaranteed for a dive and catch shot! Oops, but i could.t get any this trip! 

Looks like one of those "Make in M'yisa with German Technology!"

This was supposed to be perfect sequential dive shots but the flock of egrets took off suddenly and  my AF goes haywired! Time to learn manual focussing i guess! Yeap, another frog went missing after that!

A young Brahminy was seen screaming mad at a Black Kite. and my guess was the Blk kite owes the Brahminy Kite  a few toads/worms judging from their gestures. So it gave me the opportunity to close in slowly while they settle their dispute....

 Just see how the bigger Blk Kite reacted while the Brahminy was demanding to settle..

 ..but the Blk Kite took off without a proper answer!

which infuriated the Brahminy even more! 

"hehehe....bye little guy!"

And some behind the scene shots....

And Micky, showing off his star-war-like gadget mounted on his D700's hot shoe. I tried, it really works. Just use the aimer with a built-in cross to locate your subject (a lot easier than VF) and with the prior alignment of the setup,  your subject would appear right in the center of the VF! 

Maybe i will get one for christmas.......Oh Micky!

Finally, don't forget to go for a good carwash at the BHP Petrol Kiosk of BP before your maid scream at you! For RM17-00 (US$5-00), a good chassis spray, vacuum, carpet wash and dry, and wheel polish.

Told you, as good as new!!


  1. Sg Balang is really happening. Nice catch on the Steppe Eagle. :)

  2. Hi Kiah, yeah, and I am glad it is in Johor!

  3. Great account n pics Paul.. How come we missed so many of the birds? Didn't see the harrier nor the Brahimy.. Hmmm

  4. Micky, life is fair, you guys got the GSE on clean perch right in front of you! LOL!

  5. The Accipiter is a Japanese Sparrowhawk

    You might want to take a second look on the Harrier

  6. Terence, TQVM for the Sparrowhawk confirmation. could the Harrier be Western then? Or something else?

  7. I think Terence might mean thaty uit's not a harrier, but a much commoner 'little guy'!

  8. Thanks Dave! Terrence dashed my dream! LOL Probably one earlier shot that i sent for ID looked like a harrier!