Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Could this be Langkawi's First Sighting??

Indera Suhardy yelled, "What is this bird? I have not seen it before??" All of us directed our binoculars to the movement among the foliage of the tree with fruits that looked like some berries.

Ku Ismadi and I joined Indera to have a glimpse of Mugimaki Flycatcher (Ficedula mugimaki) on the afternoon of 15th November 09. We got off the cars on the slope with the edge of secondary forests and the air was cooling with some breeze. Just within minutes we were lucky to have this flycatcher perched on a branch.
After Indera's exciting scream, we were looking at this unknown bird. The features I saw were the white vent with dark-scaled undertail-coverts, a very distinct white supercillium, yellow tarsus and a dark greyish upper part. Then another one came along except that it had a brownish upper part. We quickly checked the guide book and got confused. Ismadi had to leave us for work, Indera was thinking of a woodpecker family and I thought it was a dove family. Still clueless, we called for another sifu, Jimmy.

Two sifus, Indera and Jimmy cracking their heads trying to figure out the bird id.
The rain came and it was time to leave the area and the mystery unsolved. Besides the unknown bird and Mugimaki Flycatcher, we also recorded: Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica); Blue and White Flycatcher first-winter male (Cyanoptila cyanomelana); Asian Fairy Bluebird (Irena puella).


Later that night, I checked through my notes and opened up my guidebook. After a few pages of flipping thru, I was staring at the drawing which fits our observation. I immediately informed Indera and Ismadi that the birds were at least 90% Siberian Thrush (Zoothera sibirica) species.
Indera returned to the same spot on the following day and he excitedly confirmed that the birds were Siberian Thrush. Yeehoo!

Ismadi also returned to the same spot on the 17th Nov to obtain the evidence.


Both of them told me that this species is not in Langkawi's list yet. So, does that mean that this is our first sighting? I have submitted the sighting to Bird i*Witness Malaysia and the Malaysia Nature Society Birds Committee. Let's wait what they have to say then.

Siberian Thrush is omnivorous feeding on insects, worms and berries. The wonderful fact is that this species breeds in the coniferous forest type in Siberia. This thrush would migrate a long journey all the way to Southeastern Asia during winter. And guess what? It is the birds migatory season now!! Go get your bins out!

Thanks Indera for first spotting that birdie and Thanks to Ismadi for the pictures. I got my lifers :)
References:
1. A Field Guide to the Birds of South East Asia by Craig Robson
2. Wikipedia

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