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Last Birding before India

Sunday, October 22, 2017
It has been an awesome birding with Thomas for the past few months, almost 1 year. For a final trip, we went up to Fraser's Hill to tick a few more species which eluded us previously. Some of our primary targets for this trip were Collared Owlet, Malaysian Partridge, White-tailed Robin, Silver-breasted Broadbill, Dusky Broadbill, Slaty-backed Forktail, and Blue-winged Minla.


Upon arrival at the hill station, we tried to get 2 species - Slaty-backed Forktail and Malaysian Partridge. It was the Collared Owlet that greeted us! After a long wait, we could not get any sign of the forktail and partridge. Almost 2 hours later, I was trying to convince Thomas we should get going so that we can try other species. At that very moment, the 1 adult partridge appears, followed by a few other adults. Slowly, 4 chicks came out to show themselves too. The joy of birding! Satisfaction beyond words...

While waiting for 2 hours, we were entertained by several Spectacled Laughingthrush, Blue-winged Minla, Golden Babbler, Streaked Spiderhunter, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Mountain Tailorbird, White-throated Fantail, and not forgetting lots of Blue Nuthatch.



Next, we went to look for the forktail again. While approaching the stakeout, we heard it calling! Both of us got so excited! I told Thomas to get out from the car quickly...unfortunately, it flew away before we could detect where it was calling from. We drove away from the stakeout - disappointed without getting a glimpse of Slaty-backed Forktail. Further up, we heard another bird! YES! we nailed the forktail this time....good view of it too.

We continued to our next target, White-tailed Robin. No sign of it, so we moved to the next one - Silver-breasted Broadbill. Upon arriving at location, we walked for almost 30 minutes before hear 1 calling from afar. No luck of getting the bird unfortunately. We left the area and took a lunch break. In the afternoon, we try again for the White-tailed Robin...this time we heard it calling from down the slope. It sounded quite far but after less than 10 seconds, the bird perched right in front of us - almost mistaken it for a Niltava.

Along the Telekom Loop, we did not find anything interesting except a Black-thighed Falconet and a family of White-thighed Surili. While up in the hill station, we pay a visit to the Pygmy Cupwing, Grey-throated Babbler, Large Niltava and Rufous-browed Flycatcher. While on the way back to Kuala Lumpur, we nailed 1 more species. Thomas was walking along the road, while I drove the car further ahead. Once I stopped the car, I heard the bird calling! "Thomas!!! Come quickly!!! Dusky Broadbill!!!" I shouted to Thomas. :D Both of us had great view of the bird and that's a wrap...






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Hornbills Unexpected! 8-15 October 2017



"Thank you, Weng Chun for your hospitality and great birding! We truly enjoyed the benefits of your years of hard work. Most of all, your passion for the birds and your excitement when showing them to us made the trip! Every bird, and particularly, every Hornbill never gets old for you." - John, USA


We started the trip from Kuala Lumpur early in the morning, and our first birding stop was Kuala Selangor Nature Park. A good start but weather was a bit hard on us (as usual). Time really flies when you are birding in this park - we spent about 3-4 hours here and by the time we reach the car park, all of us were exhausted. Some of the highlights include white morph Asian (Amur) Paradise Flycatcher - good spotting John!, Cinereous Tit, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Plain-throated Sunbird, Mangrove Whistler, Brahminy Kite, Ashy Tailorbird, Olive-winged Bulbul and Scaly-breasted Munia. The rest of the day, we spent time checking the surrounding habitats which we managed to add Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Black-shouldered Kite, Cinnamon Bittern, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Brahminy Kite, Laced Woodpecker, Common Flameback, Sunda Woodpecker and many more. In the evening, we had a Buffy Fish Owl flying away from its perch. Dipped on 2 other targets.

On Day 2, we started going out early in the morning hoping to find the owl again. We only managed a Barn Owl and Large-tailed Nightjar. After a short birding in the vicinity, we headed towards the highland. Upon reaching the hill station, we wasted no time and went to check on the partridge. Almost giving up, but then, I heard it calling and after a short moment, I spotted 1 coming out from the bush. Quietly I signalled to John and Kathy to sit still and wait. Shortly after that, it came to the open ground, not 1 not 2 but a family of Malaysian Partridge! with 4 chicks....What else did we managed to get today? Let's see, Chestnut-naped Forktail, Whiskered Treeswift, Red-wattled Lapwing, Rufous-bellied Swallow, House Swift, Plaintive Cuckoo, Gray Wagtail, Common Green Magpie, White-throated Fantail, Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush, Malayan Laughingthrush, and many more.

Up in the hill station, weather was not too bad. Much cooler than Kuala Selangor. We stayed here for 3 nights. Lovely birding in which we managed to get Red-headed Trogon, Orange-breasted Trogon, Long-tailed Broadbill (quite a big flock), Sultan Tit, Pygmy Cupwing, Large Niltava, White-tailed Robin, Buff-breasted Babbler, Grey-throated Babbler, Wreathed Hornbill, Great Hornbill, lots of migrating Oriental Honey Buzzard, and many more.



Along the journey into Taman Negara, (as usual and fortunately I have Adam as driver) I always keep an eye on the trees, it was drizzling but I was still hoping miracle to happen and it did! "Hornbills!!!" I shouted and quickly Adam tried to find a safe spot to stop the vehicle. I was not sure which species initially until I had my binocular on the bird as it was moving from 1 tree to another. No doubt about the id when i saw the unusual long tail. Helmeted!!! I told John. Adam quickly pull out the spotting scope and tripod while John and myself struggle to take a photo of the hornbill. Camera lenses and scope all fogged up! AAARRGGHHH!!!! We tried out best to wipe the optics and thankfully the hornbill stayed long enough for us to get a view of them and eventually it flew nearer (John got shots of the hornbills in flight, well done!).


The next morning, we were the first people to be out in the trail (ok, boardwalk). Actually we had to delay our predawn walk slightly due to rain.We were trying hard for nocturnal species. Still no luck. A Sunda Scops Owl was calling from the same spot as the day before. Unfortunately, we do not have sufficient time to hunt for the owl. Need to get to the jetty and take our boat ride. The water level was really high compare to yesterday. After the boat ride, we had a quick breakfast before we go back into the forest. A quiet walk for almost 1 hour walk and suddenly we found a male Banded Kingfisher not too far from the boardwalk. All of us managed to get very good look at the bird. Stop by mid-day for lunch and rest. Later in the afternoon, we were out in the forest again to look for more birds. Strange, it was really quiet. But John managed to find a female Malayan Peacock Pheasant and the bird gave a really good view for all of us! Not much activity from the observation hide today.





Our final morning in Taman Negara, we went out for an early morning walk but without Kathy. Not much of activity. A Sunda Scops Owl was calling not too far away from us, and we decided to trace the call. VoilĂ !!! Nail it at almost point blank. After breakfast, we hit the trail again for 1 last look. Another good bird to add into our trip list - White-crowned Forktail.



After lunch, we check-out from Taman Negara and head towards Bukit Tinggi. Of course, there is a stop in between. At this stop, we found Hairy-backed Bulbul, Yellow-bellied Bulbul, White-rumped Shama. Scarlet-rumped Trogon (male), a family of Black Hornbill, and a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbill. 

Our final morning, with 2 final targets in Bukit Tinggi. We nailed the Mountain Peacock Pheasant but dipped on Ferruginous Partridge. Still a very good day today .... as we were walking back to the car, we added Orange-breasted Trogon and Siberian Blue Robin. That was not the final species for the trip, we made a trip to a "smelly" spot and end the trip with a Blue-eared Kingfisher. 






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Photo hunt 24 hours without sleep

Been out in the field for more than 24 hours without sleep with specific targets in mind. In the end, I managed to get a decent photo for record of the elusive and much sought after bird - Malaysian Rail Babbler.

Gould's Frogmouth (Nikon1 V1 + CX 70-300mm)

Rail-babbler (Nikon1 V1 + CX 70-300mm)

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Birds & Wildlife in Malaysia

About Me

I'm a bird watcher, digiscoper, photographer and a licensed nature guide. Welcome to my 'A Malaysian Birder' blog. I will post my bird sightings and photographs on this blog. I started bird watching while studying in university. After graduating with a degree in forestry specializing in parks and recreation management, I have been attached to the parks and gardens industry. My past work experiences involve conducting environmental education program, bird watching and many more.

Bird Watching Tours

There are quite a number of birding groups from Australia, United States and United Kingdom that come over to Malaysia annually visiting the traditional key sites that include Kuala Selangor, Fraser's Hill and Taman Negara. There is not doubt that the 3 sites are the preferred birding sites in Peninsular Malaysia. So if you are coming over for birding and intend to hire a guide, you can send me an email at nature2pixel@gmail.com and go over to posting section to view photos and summary of trip reports with testimonials from past clients.

Besides following the traditional route, I also customized trip according to clients needs, preference and interests. So there are some local patches that I can introduce to all bird watchers, digiscopers and photographers.

Equipment

I use a spotting scope from Omicron for my bird guiding trips and digiscoping. You can get more information from their website at http://omicron-optics.com The spotting scope is placed on a Feisol tripod and Manfrotto 701 video head. This is an ideal setup for me due to its light weight. A customized eyepiece adapter to my Nikon P5100 was fabricated by Cheang Kum Seng from Ipoh, Perak. Very useful during my guiding trips because I get to take photos of birds sighted and post them on my Nature2pixel website. Binocular is the most essential tools for bird watching and guiding. I used to have a Minox 8x42 but have given it to a friend since I upgraded to Nikon 8x42 Monarch. Update: May 2014 - Could be time for me to upgrade to a Kowa 10x42 BD XD which is more compact? I came across this website showing a review of the Nikon D4S at http://www.aaronstours.com

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