Batu PahatEnvironment

Avian Birding Site 4/10 – Sungai Balang Muar-Batu Pahat Johor

By October 20, 2020 October 28th, 2020 No Comments

Avian Birding Site 4/10 – Sungai Balang Muar-Batu Pahat Johor

Published on October 31, 2017 | by

Sg Balang Padi Field near the seashore between Muar & Batu Pahat is a homing bird  stop-over for many rare and  migrants birds in  transit during the winter of the northern hemisphere. So the best time to visit  this place is during the period of October- early December of the year in their winter colors.

Then in Feb- March when the waders may starts their return journey back to their breeding grounds. You can see  bitterns  and waders in their breeding coats.

Beside Sg Balang padi field you can drop by the seashore of Parit Jawa to chance on other shore birds and pelagic birds.

If you travel from Kuala Lumpur it will take you about 2.5 to 3 hours reach Sg Balang which is a 225km journey. Exiting Tangkak interchange you will drive toward Muar and detour off at the new bypass to Batu Pahat. Quite easy with Waze nowaday.

There is a chinese restaurant at the  nearest town  Sarang Buaya (aka Crocodile Nest) for quick breakfast and lunch  meal of “chapfan” or noodles. Homestay are aplenty around but  I prefer Muar town 23 km  away cos you can savour  hawkerfood  and otak-otak to your heart content. There are  many budget hotels with room rates as low as RM78- 98 per nite. You  just  google them and make your booking.

There is a colony of  Lesser Adjutant here.  You can shoot them in full frame from your car. Beside that  many egrets species can be sighted here too.

They can be seen as early as 7am flying from their roosting trees from the hinterland.

Greater Coucal and Lesser Coucal  are quite easily spotted amongst the peripheral tree along the bunds and amongst the reed   in the open padi field. Open perch is seldom affair. No short-toed though which is a jungle fringe bird.

The “Christmas tree” of Weaver nest is so photogenic dont you think.

The sight of  Egrets and Heron in close range of 50-60 ft give you full frame shot even if you are using a 400mm lens. Stork and Asian Openbill I have not seen here as yet.

And then there are frequent raptor visitors  like the Spotted Eagle and Steppe Eagle, Booted Eagle  and Harriers here.

Then you can also  shoot the  resident Black-winged Falcon, Changeable Hawk Eagle, White-bellied Sea Eagle,  Crested Serpent Eagle and Brahminy Kite in close quarters.

You can see 3 species of Munias namely the White headed Scaly and Black -head here

Wish the Feral Javan Munia have reach  the place from Singapore.

I will still list it as lifer of Malaysia if I see one like the Javan Sparrow of Ipoh.

This Bittern looks different but is actually a Juvenile Cinnamon Wish it was a Von Schrenck’s…… now that is a rare bird.

The Oriental Pranticole is a  regular seasonal visitor but the rare Little Pranticole is the one that everyone want here in Sg Balang. I missed it for past 2 years and will wait for the news of their arrival in anticipation in 2017 to chalk up another lifer.

The Yellow wagtail striding in the muddy field ever vigilant of our present ………….

The Brown Shrike is another winter visitor. It  can be obliging as you shoot from your car but   once you try maneuver closer to  ; it will always fly away to a further perch . This the most frus part.
 A pair of Lesser Whistling Duck was seen at the water canal parallel to the Sg ……………
 That is if there are cooperative enough when you shoot from a distance of 50-60 ft.

Lawrence in  its suzuki jeep is the hometown  birder here in Sg Balang. Udi of Tokki Group is the other local birder here who can give you a head up on any rarity vagrants and migrant birds here. Not forgetting my good acquaintance Ang TH who will take all effort to come down from Melaka to join you in any rare hunt.

In the month of October ;  juvenile Cinnamon Bittern were common bird to see here as the open canal drains and padi field which are still devoid of vegetation. MO is to drive around in your 4×4 and shoot from the car. I drive around my MPV. It have suffered much  to its underside  because of the undulating track. At one time  it drop off  a  RC canal crossing which I did not realise the bridge was a feet off the dirt track. So be careful.