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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


  1. Your blog brings back some good memories for me. Colleagues and I counted waders for the AWB in the 80's and I spent hours at Sungei Seria
    with binoculars and telescope. We had a Spoonbill on one occasion which caused a stir and I also remember a field full of pratincoles near the coast at Seria. Best wishes. Jennifer

  2. Hi Jennifer. Thanks for your message - it is very nice to hear from someone who's name I've seen on numerous historic records!
    I think the changes in the last few years that were made to Sungai Seria haven't been for the best. Still, there is a good flow of passage migrants but the number of waders staying here is definitely dwindling. I can only dream of seeing a spoonbill here, what a record!

  3. Nice to see the same stuff we get in Hong Kong, only further south. Except the Flowerpecker, of course !

  4. Hi John - our little river inlet here is nice, but I doubt it compares to Mai Po both for waders and birders!