Parit Jawa September 2012

On Saturday, Sept 22, Danny, Kok Hui and I drove up to Malaysia to meet up with Ang to survey the paddyfields at Sungai Rambai, also known as Batu Gajah or Merlimau, two towns in the area.

We made good time, meeting Ang around 8 am, and after a stop for breakfast we drove around the paddyfields.  The central paddyfield was already one foot or two high, which hid any birds that might have been in there.

 Sungai Rambai

The surrounding paddyfields were mainly dry and not yet irrigated, so they didn’t attract much.  Just a few wood sandpipers, and pacific golden plovers were seen.

 Sungai Rambai

Next we drove to a new spot Ang had recently located, Sawah Sungai Ring.  Quite some distance away, but another large area of paddyfield.  This too was in a similar condition, not yet irrigated, so very little to be seen.  We did learn the irrigation was to commence shortly, so this may yet attract some interesting waders.

Sawah Sungai Ring

After this we went on the have lunch at Parit Jawa, and after a midday break we drove to Sungai Balang around 4 pm.  Here the situation was completely different, but also unfavorable for bird photography.  Most of Sungai Balang was not yet harvested.

Sungai Balang

We did see a small flock of White Rumped Munias, which are not commonly seen by Singapore birders, so that was nice.

White-rumped Munia

A portion of Sungai Balang was harvested, but too early for the raptors so not much was present.

Sungai Balang

We did spot an adult Barn Owl resting in it’s nest box.

Barn Owl

We stayed overnight at Parit Jawa Marina Lodging, and a good meal of seafood.  The following morning we met our boatman and set off into the Straits of Malacca.  Unfortunately the weather was not in our favor.  In the pre-dawn hours there had been heavy rain, a Sumatra squall.  As we set off the weather was still very dreary and looked worse ahead in the straits.  And it did get worse as we headed out, we got caught in a rain shower and all retreated to the cabin peering out through the portholes.

Bleak Weather

Here is more of the foul weather scenery.

In the Straits

Ang and his crew now numbering four were relatively new to pelagics, so we were hoping for the holy trinity: Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel, Aleutian Tern and Bridled Tern.  In fact we weren’t to be disappointed except the numbers and photo ops were not up to our high expectations.  Perhaps due to the inclement weather here, in Singapore the weather was reportedly fine, and a pelagic trip in the Straits of Singapore on the same day yielded 176 petrels, 76 bridled, and 15 aleutian, we got a good number of bridled at around 100, but only 3 petrels and just 1 aleutian.  Why the numbers of petrels was so low is not clear, we need to survey the Malacca Straits more often in Septembe when the numbers would be expected to be high.  I missed the aleutian and the petrel was far away, but here is one of a bridled, looks like a juvenile to me.

Bridled Tern

As the weather was really not getting any better we headed back around Noon, picking up some Swift Terns, White-winged and Little Terns on the kelong.  Here’s a Swift Tern.

Swift Tern

Now back in port, here’s a snapshot of our boat.

Our Boat

And here is our group.

Group Photo

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One Response to “Parit Jawa September 2012”

  1. Mike Bergin says:

    Hi Con, love your work! I’m trying to get in touch with you but your Contact form isn’t working. Would you mind e-mailing me?

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