Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Birding Penang: Spotted Wood-Owl At Last




Spotted Wood-Owl

Following our visit to Laos (see following post) it was on to Penang in Malaysia, one of our favourite places in south-east Asia. 

View from Georgetown hotel

Mostly here it was enjoying the hustle and bustle and great food - and the lovely view from our hotel in Georgetown across the water to Butterworth - but there were a few birds locally that were absent from my life list.

Choy Wai Mun
I hooked up for a day with local guide Choy Wai Mun, whose services I can highly recommend. We left very early in the morning to try for Gould's and Blyth's Frogmouths at Bukit Pancho, but not a peep from either unfortunately despite our best efforts.
We moved on to Air Hitam Dalam, a small area of swamp forest that I had visited a few years ago with ChooEng Tan to successfully connect with Mangrove Pitta. That species is now gone from the site, doubtlessly due to its small size and possibly predation of eggs and young by the constant stream of Long-tailed Macaques being liberated there by local authorities.


Dusky Leaf-Monkey
On the subject of monkeys, we encountered a nice group of Dusky Leaf-Monkeys.


Spotted Wood-Owl
A pair of Spotted Wood-Owls has resided in the area for many years and although I had dipped on this species here and in several other places, I had success at last when a bird was found roosting high in a tree from the suspended bridge walk. We had earlier walked past the same tree from the other direction and missed it.


Coming to grips with Spotted Wood-Owl
More success followed when a Streak-breasted Woodpecker was tracked down. This species is highly localised and one of south-east Asia's more difficult woodpeckers, although Air Hitam Dalam is a known site. As it is for Mangrove Blue-Flycatcher, and we had no trouble finding some of these little gems.


Mangrove Blue-Flycatcher
Along with a female Tickell's Blue-Flycatcher, which has teamed up with a male Mangrove Blue in the probably forlorn hope of reproducing.


Tickell's Blue-Flycatcher
Stork-billed Kingfisher was nice to see.


Stork-billed Kingfisher
We moved on an area of rice paddies and shrubs at Permatung Pauh, where a huge fruiting fig was full of birds, mainly a very large mixed flock of Asian Glossy and Purple-backed Starlings. I had dipped on the latter in the past so this was another wanted species under the belt.


Purple-backed Starling
Nordmann's Greenshank turns up annually at Teluk Air Tawa in Penang and the first birds of the season were reported just last week, but we were unable to locate them during our visit there. Among the birds present were Common Redshank and Eurasian Curlew, both of which are rare in Australia.


Eurasian Curlew
Brown-headed Gulls were also about.


Brown-headed Gulls
We returned later to the rice paddies, finding good numbers of overwintering Grey-headed Lapwings on the bungs.


Grey-headed Lapwings
On exposed mud patches were quite a few Wood Sandpipers and Long-toed Stints, along with a couple of Temminck's Stints.


Temminck's & Long-toed Stints
And a few Oriental Pratincoles.



Oriental Pratincole








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