Sunday, May 26, 2013

pratincoles and sharp-tails

Sharp-tailed sandpipers were very common through out my stay and I spent a lot of time sketching these birds. 

Oriental pratincoles arrived during my last few days. After sitting back and watching them from a distance at first, I was amazed how close I could get. The birds even flew in and landed beside me several times allowing some detailed studies.

Red-necked Phalaropes

 Towards the end of my stay I found 5 red-necked phalaropes on a small fish pond behind the mudflats. The are one of my favourite families and I spent a lot of time sketching and photographing them.
 The flock were made up of 2 males and 3 females in various stages of moult. Above are the 2 males, below females.

 Its often hard to comprehend the size of these birds sometimes, seeing them feeding amongst little grebes was a great reminder of how small they really are!

Asiatic Dowitcher

I found this summer bird on the 16 of May on the fish ponds and it remained until the next day. Unfortunately it showed up the morning after my friend left, and both days the weather was awful. I was able to get very close and settle down for some sketching. The constant drizzle made painting a little messy and I was never happy with the shape or character of my sketches.

I spent a lot of time sketching the bird but it was constantly feeding. It disappeared both days for a few hours and I couldn't find it on any of the nearby ponds, so  I assume it was asleep somewhere quite.

Spoon-billed sandpipers!

I have just had the chance to scan a few images from my trip to Rudong. The whole area was fantastic despite all the land reclamation and construction. We managed to see several spoon-bills but it was a lot tougher than I thought. Picking the birds out of a roosting flock of red-necked stints was nearly impossible, and nearly every time we did pick one up the whole flock would fly for seemingly no reason. On one of our last evenings we finally found a bird close to the road and were able to watch for a long period in relative comfort and great light. As the tide dropped we were able to follow it out onto the mud and continued to get great views.

Most of the time watching the birds were spent photographing the them as the encounters were quite brief. The drawing above was done from a short video the evening after.

I generally scanned the roosting flocks as they arrived, but after a  few pans of the scope I would settle down for some sketching. On one of these occasions, I started sketching some roosting terek sandpipers and a spoon-billed sand wandered infront of them! But as usual, the whole flock flew off shortly after.
Terek Sandpipers and spoon billed sand.