Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sg Balang 6th Nov

I wasn't really prepared for this particular trip,  as I was doing some event shoot for a dance studio on the 4th. But when Wei Luen showed up in my town on the 5th suggesting that we should do Balang again, I felt I should oblige the invitation, as i was still hoping to get the Painted Snipe shots,....

Black-capped Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata)
Pekaka Kepala Hitam 黑頭翡翠 ヤマショウビン Sả đầu đen
Martin-chasseur à calotte noire rybárikovec stromový Зимородок ошейниковый 

Our arrival were greeted by scores of Cattle Egrets and Little Egrets perching quietly on the dried trees for the morning sun, and a surprise star, Black-capped Kingfisher. The BC Kingfisher is notoriously known for its super shy behaviour, and we were just lucky to have captured a few shots before it vanished into the swamp, despite we were quite a distance away.

The Oriental Reed Warbler is one species you will find plenty in the paddyfiels of Sg Balang, but taking a good shot is always a matter of luck as they love skulking in the thick undergrowth, 'popping' up occasionally to have a 'look see" at the surrounding! 

Oriental Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis)
Cekup Paya Besar ** 东方大苇莺 オオヨシキリ *      
Rousserolle d'Orient trsteniarik východný *  Восточная дроздовая камышевка * นกพงใหญ่พันธุ์ญี่ปุ่น
 China-Rohrsänger Carricero Oriental * Cannaiola orientale

We chance upon a Black-winged Kite feeding while still looking for the Painted Snipes! The wooden T-bars are strategically installed by the farmers so that Kites would stay close to the paddy fields conveniently and keep the rodent population in control, which makes the farmer happy!  So thanks to the farmer for these shots!

Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
Helang Tikus   黑翅鸢  トビ  *  Diều trắng
 Élanion blanc  *  luniak sivý  *  Дымчатый коршун  *  เหยี่ยวขาว 

Now, sexing is a lot easier, let me try on the bottom pic, left is male and right is female, no?

There are probably thousands of Spotted Dove in Sg Balang, roosting on trees lining on both sides of the infield dirt roads, and if you have followed my Sg Balang entries you would probably notice that i hardly post their pic, so here is one, more like an environmental shot! 

Don't get the wrong impression though, one can easily shoot the Dove within 10'!

One rather unique observation in the trip was the large number of juveniles Brahminy Kites, we saw at least 9, and the beautiful thing about juveniles is that they are less nervous to human approach.

Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)
  Helang Ekor Cabang *  栗莺  * シロガシラトビ  *  Diều lửa
 Milan sacré  *  haja brahmanská  *  Браминский коршун  *  เหยี่ยวแดง

Some of you may wonder why i called the juvenile Brahminy Kite as chicken and the story goes like this, two years ago a nature lover joined me for a trip to Balang,  I was driving then and told my friend if he sees anything interesting just usher me. I was snapping away happily with my 500mm bazooka on the driver side, and my friend was snapping happily with his new iPhone on the left at the rear seat. 

On the way back we stopped for coffee break and he showed me pics taken with his iPhone, almost 30 fullframe shots of two juvenile Brahminy Kite! I almost scream and asked "why didn't you alert me when you were shooting?" 

"but but....I thought they were just domestic chickens!"    -   Argh!

Now with these shots, i would forgive him! :)

We saw 6 juveniles Brahminy Kites on the dirt road newly-laid with crusher run, and it was quite a pleasant shooting opportunity for us indeed as two Lesser Adjutant were walking past among them, and we were clicking almost continuously thinking the 4 Kites might do a sudden attack on the Adjutants, or vice versa!...

And this was just a bit too close for comfort for the Lesser Adjutants!

Like human, juveniles are always playful, the six were probably practicing some dogfight maneuverability in midair, but we have hard time tracking them due to the strong back light... 

So, plenty of Brahminy Kites, Black Kites however, were not seen, not even one, as observed in my previous trip. And I still couldn't figure out why as in the past three years, Black Kites always outnumber the Brahminy Kites by at least 5-1.  So i guess someone will have to make a few more trips sometime soon to find out.......

Wei Luen  

While the whole morning i was reminding Wei Luen to look out for the Painted Snipe, we couldn't help but to shoot the Blue-tailed Bee-eaters many times as they were all over the paddyfields, and always so willing to pose within our minimum focus distance. 

Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus)
Beberek Ekor Biru 栗喉蜂虎 * ハリオハチクイ *   
Guêpier à queue d'azur vcelárik modrochvostý Синехвостая щурка
Blauschwanzspint Abejaruco Coliazul * Gruccione codazzurra   

Pied Thriller

Pond Heron


Yellow-billed Heron 

Golden Pacific Plover

Wood Sandpiper

 Red-wattled Lapwing

Tiger Shrike

 Scaly-breasted Munia, juvenile

 Scaly-breasted Munia

Let me try...Ali? Mohamad?....or George may be...

Brahminy Kite

Surprisingly, we saw a tortoise too! 

We moved the tortoise towards the paddyfield, and i said to the tortoise "if you want to live for another 100years DON'T venture into the road again!"

And the playful tortoise replied with a cheeky smile!

And finally...sobs..sobs.., we finally got a glimpse of the Painted Snipe, my best shot after an hour of ambush in the humid cabin! 



  1. These are all really wonderful, however the two Kite sets are my favorites...what beautiful birds and what marvelous captures you got of them. The Bee Eater is also amazing, the colours so brilliant. Lovely series~

  2. Wow, this is excellent and amazing. Where are the pictures taken?I love all of them!
    Best regards, Marion

  3. the two birds touching wingtips in flight took my breath away! All your photos are awesome!