How do you write about something when nothing happened? This is today’s dilemma.
It started with a trip to the mangroves of Kuala Selangor. It’s been at least a year since we were last there so we decided it was time for a visit. Kuala Selangor has generally been good to us and over the years we have come away with some superb shots of a wide variety of lowland Malaysian birds. Besides it’s only an hour from Kuala Lumpur which meant we could sleep in an hour longer than would have been the case if we had gone somewhere else.
If we’d have known what a washout the trip was going to be we probably would not have got out of bed at all. Anyway, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Birding in Malaysia is not an easy game and you generally have to work hard for your shots, but days like today where you walk kilometers dripping sweat for a few frames are the worst of the worst.
Arriving early we found the water had been drained from all the channels to facilitate excavation works and the Herons and Egrets that are usually feeding all gone. So we decided to climb one of the observation towers to see if we could spot something, anything and as luck would have it an Ashy Tailorbird flitted into one of the tree’s next to the tower.
As everyone knows these are very small birds approximately an inch in size. They are also very fidgety and never sit still for more than a few seconds at a time. I only managed to shoot two frames before it flew off, but fortunately both came out reasonably well.
After that, nothing came remotely close to the lookout and after half an hour or so standing around doing nothing we decided to continue along the trail hoping to see something in the undergrowth.
A few sweaty kilometers later we were getting desperate. So we settled for trying to photograph some crabs and mudskippers, but even these stayed too far out in the mud for good shots. In this situation beggars can’t be choosers. You shoot what’s there to shoot or you go home empty handed.
As luck would have it just as I set up to photograph the crabs a Brahimny Kite circled overhead. Finally a target worth the effort! It would have been nice if he’d swooped down to pluck a crab, but he didn’t and all I have of him is directly overhead before he too disappeared.
Hot, tired, dehydrated and frustrated we decided to call it quits and go home. Passing over the last water channel on the way out we spotted a large Water Monitor lurking in the open. He accommodated me with two shots before he too decided he wasn’t going to cooperate anymore and slipped away into the thick grass along the channel bank.
So, what can I say? Today was a washout of the worst kind. Nevertheless, at least there are a few shots of something to show. Let’s hope next week will be better.