MY ENCOUNTER WITH FIRST-WINTER MALE SIBERIAN THRUSH

“What a journey for a somewhat size 22cm bird, having flown thousands of kilometers from the northern regions- Siberia to have successful stopped over the foothills of mainland Penang, spending several days to refuel in the vicinity of a fig fruiting tree and eventually made its way wintering in Sumatra and West Java.

“This first- winter male Siberian Thrush (Zoothera Sibirica) has turned out to be lifer bird for me. Few bird species wear both male and female characteristic plumages. This species is one of them (above).

“The description of this first-winter male characteristic bird by Krys Kazimerczak can be said to have a blackish look on the upper parts with breast sides showing crescentic mottling all the way down to the flanks and upper belly.

“The female aspect of it is seen around the head having brownish colour and buff look on the upper breast- supposed to be the remnant of juvenile plumage.

“Two birds were seen from 6-9th February 2011.

“To quote Dr David Wells, ‘All first winter males would be part slaty grey by this time of the year (Spring) and Siberian Thrushes commonly travel in parties.

“The opportunity for Malaysians photographing first-winter male Siberian Thrush had not been forthcoming in the past until now; making these two birds the first batch of this species for contribution to the bird archives and gallery of Oriental Bird Images, UK.

“The sighting of the first-winter male has been a good learning process in the identification of dimorphic birds that are not so straight forward and knowledge from more knowledgeable and experienced field birders remain a valuable source of help and information and appreciated.”

Submitted by: AVIAN WRITER DAISY O’NEILL PENANG MALAYSIA

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