Thirty bleary-eyed birders assembled in Bidor at dawn for a morning’s exploration of disused mining pools and rice fields. Though people continue to abuse the pools with trash and litter, the birds somehow rise above it. On that cool, breezy morning we were rewarded right away with sightings of Little Grebes in breeding plumage, Purple Herons, Treeducks, and a Cinnamon Bittern. A pair of Cotton Pygmy-Geese swam out in the open long enough for everyone to have a good look. I was dazzled by the iridescent and elegantly-named Purple Swamphen.
Our convoy departed for another cluster of pools, its progress interrupted by multiple distractions along the way such as the Wagtail. The next set of pools lay adjacent to a sewage treatment plant in an area shared with water buffalo. The landscape was quite disturbed; nevertheless Red-Wattled Lapwings abounded in the grass for those with the patience to watch carefully from afar.
The route out of the mines area took us past a group of water buffalo wallowing with the attentive assistance of Mynas and Egrets. We spotted several more Purple Swamphens and a Chinese Pond Heron. We stumbled upon a cluster of Weaver nests at the side of the road, though no signs of current activity. And we passed several domestic duck ranches.
Due to cumulative effects of fruitful birding and convoy distractions, we arrived at the rice fields only shortly before noon. By that time the scorching sun rendered it unfit for birders or birds. We decided to find ourselves a shady restaurant and save the rice fields for another day. A group of Black-Shouldered Kites saluted our departure, alternately soaring and resting on branches in plain view from the road.
Thank you Jasmine, Bing, and the rest of the MNS Selangor team for another memorable expedition!
Text by Louise Carlson
Photos by Richard Larrabee