Sunday, 13 January 2013

Nordmanns Greenshank @ Mersing Estuary 09/01/2012.


Finally, after a 12 hour flight and a 5 hour over night bus journey I arrived at Mersing bus station at 04:00hrs. The bus station and the streets of this small town felt like a ghost town with just a few stray cats roaming aimlessly around. 

After a few hours sleep and then some work I ventured out on to the estuary. The high tide is at night at present and so I didn't hold out much hope but did decide to give the run up of the tide a go. Image above shows one of the last favoured feeding areas before the birds head to roost over the high tide period. The tides are quite high at present and with the combined strong on-shore winds and rough sea-state the tide comes in very quickly. The push up was good but very fast and much sooner than I had expected the mud was coverred and the birds had moved on. I decided to check the northern beach and as I searched to find where the flocks of waders were roosting I could see that most of the birds were half way along. 


As soon as I began scanning I was stunned to see 6 Black Headed Gulls, this the first species of Gull for me at the site and in-fact the whole of Peninsular Malaysia. I couldn't believe it and it turns out that 6 is probably the highest ever count of this species in Peninsular Malaysia. Then just as I continued scanning I decided to count the Grey Plover flock and then "Boom" out of no-where was the Nordmanns Greenshank in the image below. 


There in my scope, quite close by was a Nordshank and I was looking at it thinking "WTF" is occurring here, I was looking at it but not really believing it. I even did a quick sweep to the Common Greenshank flock in the distance just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating through jet-lag and tiredness.


I had always hoped for a Nordshank here at Mersing but after so long of looking and drawing blank after blank I had actually given up and put it down to the fact that the site wasn't right for them. I came round to the idea that maybe the substrate was to sandy for them and not as muddy as other estuary areas I have previously seen them in. After a few minutes I settled in and just watched the bird as it was being pushed up by the incoming tide. I moved closer taking the photo below and just settled in to watch this bird but a local walker put pay to that and the flock flushed and that was the end of the Nordshank and the larger waders. 

This record constitutes the first record for Mersing and also the state of Johor and possibly the east coast of peninsular Malaysia.

As you can imagine I was really pleased with this bird and had only wished I had been able to spend longer enjoying it and the moment. Even so it was a nice "welcome back gift"