Batu Gajah, Sawah Ring, Sungei Balang, Parit Jawa, Malacca Strait 22-23Sep12
Con, Danny and I joined Ang and his friends for birding at the padi fields and Malacca Strait.
We spent the first day in the padi fields and what a hot day it was. As the padi fields were pretty dry, there were not many waders, although we did find Wood Sandpipers, Common Sandpipers, Pacific Golden Plovers and Red-wattled Lapwings. Herons (Purple and Little), egrets (Cattle, Little, Intermediate and Great) and bitterns (Cinnamon and Yellow) were common in the fields. Other birds of note were a Watercock, Oriental Reed Warblers and Grey Wagtails. In one of the rivers, there were Common Moorhens, Purple Swamphens and Lesser Whistling Ducks.
At Sungei Balang, there were many grassland birds - munias (White-rumped, White-headed and Scaly-breasted), Baya Weavers, Zitting Cisticolas and a Paddyfield Pipit. We managed to locate two boxes with Barn Owls in them. As it was still too early for raptors, we only saw Black-winged and Brahminy Kites.
The second day, by contrast, was really wet! It rained on and off the whole morning. While having breakfast, a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbills on antenna were a welcoming sight. After breakfast, we took a boat trip from Parit Jawa to the Malacca Strait and spent about 4 hours out in the sea (around 9 am to 1 pm).
Lesser Adjutants - the iconic birds of Parit Jawa.
First, we encounter the commoner terns, like Little Terns, White-winged Terns and Great Crested Terns pretty near the coast and at the kelongs.
Great Crested Tern
As we went further out, we started seeing Bridled Terns heading south. We counted about 100 birds by the end of the boat trip.
The first star bird of the trip appeared around 9:45 am. It was an Aleutian Tern - a lifer for the Malaysian birders. The bird can be told apart from others by the white forehead, thin black bill, thin black trailing edge on the secondaries, white leading edge and pale rump.
Before long, we encountered our first Swinhoe's Storm Petrel - another lifer for the Malaysian birders. We would see another two later. Finally, we spotted a pod of dolphins on the way back.
The final count of pelagic birds:
Swinhoe's Storm Petrel 3
Aleutian Tern 1
Common Tern 2
Bridled Tern ~100
Lesser Crested Tern 1
Great Crested Tern ~50
White-winged Tern ~10
Little Tern ~5
And water birds at Parit Jawa:
Lesser Adjutant 15
Grey Heron 5
Little Heron 3
Little Egret 5
Greater Sand Plover 1
Lesser Sand Plover >20
Common Greenshank 1
Common Redshank >20
Common Sandpiper 3
Terek Sandpiper >20
Black-tailed Godwit 2
Red-necked Stint 5