Note - in some browsers the appearance of the blog is corrupted. I do not yet know the cause, but hope this issue will be resolved soon!

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sungai Seria, end of August

I've been checking the river mouth of the Seria river the past 2 weeks, as this is the time when most waders pass by. Usually a couple of sand plovers are around and with high tide they can come sufficiently close for some nice pictures. Here is one resting on a single leg:
Lesser sand plover (Charadrius mongolus).
And this bird rather doesn't use any legs at all.
Lesser sand plover (Charadrius mongolus).
This is also a good time to see sanderlings. Even on their way south, these are very active feeders, constantly running on the shoreline looking for little morsels.
Sanderling (Calidris alba).
Their dutch name is "drieteen strand loper", which means as much as three-toes sandpiper. An adequate description; sanderlings miss a fourth hind toe as can be seen in the picture below.
Sanderling (Calidris alba).
August and September are also good months to spot terns on the sandy shores next to the estuary. Mostly the flocks consist of little terns, which is a breeding species in Brunei.
Little and common terns
But now and again some other tern species join their smaller cousins, such as these common terns.
Common tern (Sterna hirundo).
The gull-billed terns are a size bigger and easily spotted. They're not always around and never numerous, typically just one or two birds. This bird is still in breeding plumage.
Gull-billed tern (Gelochelidon nilotica).
 I think this bird is already loosing its breeding plumage.
Gull-billed tern (Gelochelidon nilotica).
Whimbrels are never seen in large numbers here. This was one of three birds, that flew in only for a very short period. Here it is taking off on its way further south.
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus).
The grass lands are getting a little busier too. The number of egrets is clearly on the rise and little ringed plovers can be seen here and there. A few golden plovers were seen foraging just behind the beach wall in the shallow grassy pools.
Pacific golden plover (Pluvialis fulva).
The last pic is not of a migrant, but of a thinly scattered forest species: a young male scarlet-breasted flowerpecker. I bumped into this bird in the weekend and I think this is my best shot of this species (or at least the sharpest…) so far.
Scarlet-breasted flowerpecker (Dicaeum thoracicus).
I am possibly planning a small recce to the Baram estuary this week or next, which should be a good location for some additional waders.

Folkert, 31/08/2014

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Updates from Panaga

I haven't been posting a lot on this blog this year. The fact of the matter is that I have still been out a few times, but just haven't found the time to document it here.  So, without ado…here are some brief highlights of the last few weeks. 

Mid July I spend a couple of early morning hours in the Badas area. First time that I came across a small bird wave there. In its wake I heard and spotted this male green broadbill. 
Green broadbill (Calyptomena viridis)
Obviously a nice encounter as this is a stunning species. What's more, this was also the first time I encountered a green broadbill in the peat swamp forest, so not a bad record either.

The most prominent species in the bird wave were some drongo's, two different malkoha species and a pair of crimson-winged woodpeckers. A couple of scaly-crowned babblers also passed close by.
Scaly-crowned babbler (Malacopteron cinereum)
And the wave wouldn't be complete without a couple of hook-billed bulbuls, this is after all a peat swamp area. I am still hoping to get that killer shot one day...
Hook-billed bulbul (Setornis criniger)
Another highlight was an evening walk through the Teraja forest last week. We walked in late afternoon and walked back when darkness had fully set in. The real aim was to record some night birds. Of course we didn't hear a single owl, nightjar or frogmouth (the real target) on the way back, but the walk was still excellent. It is always a special feeling to walk in perfect darkness surrounded by all the sounds of the forest. We still managed to see some animal life, like this rough-sided frog, a common lowland species.
Rough-sided frog (Hylarana glandulosa)
We also came across a stunning huntsman spider. Not sure if these awesome colors serve a specific purpose, but I did know that I wasn't going to pick it up!
Huntsman spider sp.
A pair of bright eyes in the canopy proved to be a black flying squirrel. Only the second time I've ever seen this species.
Black flying squirrel (Aeromys tephromelas)
Finally, the migration season has started in earnest. I had a spare hour last Sunday after lunch and decided to try for some pictures of the terns that can typically be seen close to the shore this time of year. While looking for the terns a flock of mixed waders landed right in between some foraging plovers. I was quite pleased to see 3 curlew sandpipers.
Curlew sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
The curlew sandpipers were joined by close to 10 terek sandpipers, which is a species that is not often recorded on the beaches close to Panaga.
Terek sandpiper (Xenus cinerea)
The plovers were also showing well. Here is a greater sand plover.
Greater sand plover (Charadrius leschenaultii)
And here 2 lesser sand plovers.
Lesser sand plover (Charadrius mongolus)
In addition to species shown here I also saw red-necked stints, redshank, golden plovers and numerous common sandpipers and wood sandpipers in the coastal grasses and mudflats. 

A final update is that I recently learned that my time in Brunei is coming to an end. End October we will move on to our next location in the United States. Still a few weeks to reach the magic 400 species in Borneo - I'll either need a good dose of luck in Brunei or another venture across the border!

Folkert, 19/08/2014