The Birds of Sungei Balang.
The rice fields of Sungei Balang, a short drive north of Batu Pahat, had to be the richest waterbird site in Johor. It is also the foraging site for the main flock of the Lesser Adjutants and the wintering grounds for migrant raptors and shorebirds.
The monsoon rains have arrived. Time for a new crop of rice. Rich foraging grounds for the White-breasted Waterhen and the Wood Sandpiper.
We counted over 60 Lesser Adjutants that day. There were over 200 Asian Openbills thermalling over Balang this morning.
The daily buffet provided by the plowing of the rice fields attracted a one day Woolly-necked Stork, a second for Malaysia, to Balang. We missed it by a few days.
A few Sand Martins ( above) together with Barn and Red-rumped Swallows hawked for insects flushed up by the plowing.
Not giving each other an inch of space as they fly towards the plowed field for their feast.
Marsh Sandpipers are well adapted to feed at freshwater rice fields besides mud flats.
But the Little Ringed Plover in breeding plumage prefers to forage at freshwater habitats.
A Greater Spotted Eagle was wintering there the week before. But only this juvenile Black Kite and a male Eastern Marsh Harrier were around. A Booted Eagle was photographed wintering there this week.
Tick-tock, tick-tock, the tail of the skink swinging from end to end as it was being eaten alive by the Black-winged Kite, the most common resident raptor here.
Common Moorhen with juvenile given the zoom in treatment for effect.
This wintering Black Drongo has a rather stubby short bill, so how is it going to catch insects with it?
With hundreds of dragonflies around this Blue-tailed Bee-eater saved time hunting by snapping up two at one go.
No stones around for this Stejneger’s Stonechat so a mud mount will do.
This is the closest we got to a Citrine Wagtail. The white supercilium did not curved down enough to form a half circle behind the ear. Eastern Yellow Wagtail.
Sometimes lup sup birds like these Scaly-breasted Munias are worth shooting. There were flocks of White and Black-headed Munias around as well.
The star bird of the trip is this rare Small Pratincole pointed to us by Chris Gibbins. The site fidelity of this pratincole is truly amazing.
I wished to thank Kim Keang and Veronica for arranging this trip and doing all the driving.