Currently there are just a few places in Penang mainland which could accommodate large number of winter migrants. Air Itam Dalam is one of those areas where wintering birds (big and small ones) can safely used as their wintering playground as well as refuel stations. The authorities were quick enough to safeguard this area instead of sending bulldozers over. This location has been a birders' paradise for many years and hopefully it will remained that way for many more years to come. On 29 January 2017, i decided to dropped in for a short stopover. Met a man who looked like Confucius but he ain't nothing like the ancient scholar. He was well equipped with long lens and can speak Penang Hokkein ! After some conversation, we were already birding together. The first bird we saw was this Cuckoo. In fact it was my new found friend who had alerted me of the bird's presence as i was about 50 meters away from him. Of course i ran the fastest 50 meters spring ever recorded in planet earth to where he stood. Such a nice chap.
As the bird's initial position was obscure, we have suspected that it could be a "Himalayan Cuckoo" (Cuculus saturatus saturatus) or some literature have named it an "oriental cuckoo". However after looking further at its photos, the bird turned out to be an "Indian Cuckoo" (Cuculus micropterus). How to differentiate them? Literature has described "Himalayan Cuckoo" as having more greyish upper parts than an "Indian Cuckoo".
Its the same bird but under the shade, its feather colors are different.
Current literature also mentioned that there are 2 subspecies been recognised i.e (i) C. m. micropterus and (ii) C. m. concretetus. This means that one is a resident and one is a migrant. A local resident expert suspect that this cuckoo could be a migrant as he opined that resident Indian Cuckoo are usually found in pristine forest.
|Black Kite (Milvus migrans)|
The next bird which i have came across was the Black Kite (Milvus migrans). The scholarly looking birder told me that he had once seen close to 100 + black kites over here. Really? From the information he gave on the various types of birds which can be found at this location, i believe he was not pulling my legs.
I saw a total of 15 of them and they were mainly juveniles as depicted by the above photos.
HAPPY BIRDING !
"Don't just judge a person on how good she is but also on how good she wants to be"