Champions of the Flyway!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Georgetown, Malaysia - Oct 2011

If the preceding fortnight in SW Thailand was relaxed, then the following ten days based in Georgetown, Penang (off the North-west coast of Malaysia) required the regular checking of pulses. Of course, there were very good reasons for this, as illustrated below.

hard-going at the Lone Pine Hotel, Georgetown

delivered to our room by tuxedo-ed, singin' and dancin' waiters....

More hopeless toil at the Eastern & Oriental

Turns out our dear friend Emerson - whose family just so happen to be in the hotel business in this neck of the woods - was also passing through, and with a little co-ordination we were looking at a week divided between two luxury sea-front hotels, at the total cost to us of sweet F.A.. Extenuating circumstances surely your honour....

Brahminy Kite, with nesting material, against Georgetown's skyline

There was good birding, and their were good birds - mostly beyond the town limits (see also the following posts) - while sightings closer to home / pool / beach consisted of those in neighbouring trees and scrub, or those along the waterfront.

Spot the bird (clue - it's a Terek Sandpiper)

The fruiting tree outside our window at The Eastern & Oriental hosted plenty of Black-naped Orioles and Crested Mynas, the breakfast tables Indian House Crows, and the skies immediately above us were rarely empty of low-flying White-bellied Sea Eagles and Brahminy Kites.

Scaly-breasted Munia

The seafront at the western end of town looked promising on a drive-by, with large expanses of mudflats sprinkled liberally with waders; a closer look, with the juxtaposition of towering, ultra-modern luxury housing developments alongside mounds of tideline trash, was somewhat more sobering.

There were a lot of waders - unfortunately (and despite extensive searching), 99% of them turned out to be Common Redshanks. Still, sheer bloody-mindedness produced a single Terek Sandpiper, a single Whimbrel and a handful of Common Sandpipers. Plenty of egrets were in attendance, and at least thirty Little Herons were a highlight.

Little Herons

Quick jaunts among stands of seaside scrub and trees produced a fairly predictable range of species, including the requisite Asian Brown Flycatchers and Arctic Warblers, Yellow-vented Bulbuls, Greater Coucals, Black-naped Orioles and Asian Glossy Starlings.

Crested Mynas - unexpectedly common

Luckily, there were two productive sites just outside town - the Botanical Gardens, and the National Park - which did prize us away from the sun-loungers and cocktails on several occasions; posts to follow.

Blue-tailed Bee-eaters

Water Monitor disguised as Mudskipper