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Back to hunt for more birds

Friday, December 8, 2017

Lothar is back again. Together we went 'hunting' for target species early in the morning until afternoon. We only spent time looking around our usual birding grounds. Plenty of birds came out to greet us including Black-and-Yellow Broadbill, Black-and-Red Broadbill, Black Magpie, Dark-sided Flycatcher, Pale Blue Flycatcher, Ferruginous Flycatcher, Arctic Warbler, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Pin Striped Tit-babbler, Hairy-backed Bulbul, Stripe-throated Bulbul, Buff-vented Bulbul, Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker, Yellow-eared Spiderhunter, Spectacled Spiderhunter, Little Green Pigeon, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Oriental Magpie Robin, Banded Woodpecker, Maroon Woodpecker, White-chested Babbler and others. But the highlights would be the 2 species of Hornbills and the kingfisher....



Babbler vs Flycatcher






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Younger Birders Going Up the Highland

Saturday, November 25, 2017
"Thanks for being such a warm, easy-going and knowledgeble guide during our 3 days at Fraser's Hill! We wouldn't have had so many "ticks", laughter and memorable moments without you! Really respect your passion / enthusiasm and "never-say-give-up" spirit even though it's so tiring!! May you continue to love what you do and spread the enthusiasm to others too! Thanks once again, we had the time of owl life :D Your tour was sibia good!!"
- JiaLiang, Donovan, Timothy & Joan












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Markku & Markku Birding in Malaysia


Started off our trip early in the morning before breakfast and ticked 2 species of nightjar - Large-tailed and Savanna. After breakfast, we stopped by at the infamous heronry in Putrajaya.



Next destination is the coastal with small patches of mangrove for shrike, cuckoo, sunbird, and others.



  



Enroute to Taman Negara, we stopped by at a lowland forest to see as many species as possible. Pretty rewarding I must say... broadbills, trogon, kingfisher, babblers, bulbuls, flowerpeckers, woodpeckers, leafbirds, and pitta.



We located a fruiting tree at a distant and managed to see a pair of Rhinoceros Hornbill feeding.





In Taman Negara, there is an on-going signage work along the boardwalk. Finally, proper directional signage that will benefit all trail users. So, what do we get from one of the oldest rainforest in the world? Well, we managed to ticked Crested Fireback, Malayan Peacock Pheasant, Large Frogmouth, Blyth's Frogmouth, Green Broadbill, Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, Diard's Trogon and so much more.





At the start of our owling session, we will ensure we have the necessary equipment before we walk into the trail.



While waiting for birds, butterflies attracted my attention or is it the other way around?





Markku trying to get a better angle of the Crested Fireback which we found along the boardwalk during our afternoon walk.





Heads up! target sighted! not 1 but 2 birds....



After Fraser's Hill, we drove up to Fraser's Hill - a must visit while on a long birding trip in Peninsular Malaysia.



The usual breakfast during low peak season at the hotel.

 

Markku on the left likes to take photographs while Markku on the right enjoy getting good looks at the birds.



Some of the highlights in Fraser's Hill include Pygmy Cupwing (formerly known as Pygmy Wren-babbler), Red-headed Trogon, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Mountain Scops Owl, Collared Owlet, Malayan Partridge, and many more.









Weather is not always good up there and tonight we had some amount of rain.



On our last day of the trip, we tried to wrapped up as many species as possible covering all those local birding patches before we reach the airport. Overall, we had a wonderful trip in which we hit almost 300 species - not an easy feat considering the weather condition and traveling time throughout the trip.


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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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Highland, Mangrove and Lowland Forest - August 2017


"In August 2017, I had an opportunity to do some bird photography in KL, Malaysia. On searching the web, I located Cheong Weng Chun as one of the most recommended guide. When I contacted Weng to help me organize my trip, he responded promptly and courteously. Since I had only three days in KL, I had relied fully on Weng’s guidance to get the maximum of my short stay. He arranged all the transportation, hotels, meals, etc to my entire satisfaction. I must say that Weng provided excellent service not only as a birding guide, but also as a fellow photographer and a great companion over the three days. His knowledge of birds, their locations, and timing were exactly what I was looking for which enabled me to photograph over 55 species in three days, including several lifers for me. I recommend Weng most highly as a great birding guide." - Khandan, USA

We 1 lowland forest, 1 highland forest and 1 mangrove forest in a short period. There are selected targets we need to get - this is mainly a photography trip.

Greater Yellownape (Nikon1 V1 + CX 70-300mm)

Grey-throated Babbler (Nikon1 V1 + CX 70-300mm)

Lesser Shortwing (Nikon1 V1 + CX 70-300mm)




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Mangrove and Lowland Forest August 2017

It's been a while since myself and Thomas go out "hunting" for birds. So we decided to revisit the same sites which we had visited in the past to look for the birds that we missed out. In the morning, we were in the mangrove looking for Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, Mangrove Whistler and Cinereous Tit while in the afternoon we were already in Ulu Langat.

Black-and-Yellow Broadbill is the most commonly encountered birds during our trips.

Violet Cuckoo. Got an update from a fellow birders, so we quickly make a dash to the site.
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Krau-Fraser's Hill 25-26th September 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Edwin and wife have been to Malaysia a few times for birding but limited to mangrove and lowland forest, so this is their first time to go up to the highlands. Before we go up to Fraser's Hill, there are specific targets to hit in Krau. And sadly, no Rail-babbler - not even a sound! A flying Red-bearded Bee-eater and great views of Green Broadbill in the morning. We arrived at the hill station and (almost) instantly rewarded with a family of Malaysian Partridge. We end our trip with a visit to the coastal mangrove for owls found a Sunda Scops Owl as well Large-tailed Nightjar. Other highlights during this short 2 days 1 night trip include (but not limited to) male & female Banded Kingfisher, Orange-breasted Trogon, Red-headed Trogon, juvenile Blyth's Hawk-eagle, a pair of Rhinoceros Hornbill, Pygmy Cupwing, Large Niltava, Rufous-browed Flycatcher, Silver-eared Mesia, Black-and-Crimson Oriole, Black-and-Red Broadbill, Black-and-Yellow Broadbill, Dusky Broadbill, and so much more!

Almost instantly!

Birding in hill station



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Krau-Fraser's Hill 22-24th September 2017

Went birding with South African guests in Krau and the premier site, Fraser's Hill. It was pretty humid and slow birding in Krau when we were there, so we cut short of birding (only limited to 2-3 hours morning birding). We did pretty well with various species of woodpeckers at 1 spot (within a few minutes) - Banded, Crimson-winged, Checker-throated, Buff-rumped, and Maroon, then not too far away Buff-necked. Up in the highlands we nailed 2 more species - Bay and Greater Yellownape. The guests were shocked and so am I! Scarlet-rumped Trogon, Black Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Black-and-Yellow Broadbill, and Black-and-Red Broadbill gave us superb views too. 

When we were up in the hill station, we make our visit to the partridge ground. It was quiet, and we thought nothing will show up so we walked away as we got distracted by other birds but when we turned around Malaysian Partridge showed up and it showed up well for us!!! 

Other highlights from this trip was fantastic view of Green Magpie, Collared Owlet, Red-headed Trogon, Long-tailed Broadbill, Fire-tufted Barbet, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Red-bearded Bee-eater, and many more.

Something distracted us for a while

Siamang high up in the tree

Red-headed Trogon right next to the car

Tried our luck at the waterfall - too crowded and a bunch of motorcyclist went into the path (no respect for nature!)






    
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Taman Negara targets

This is Thomas first trip to Taman Negara. We have a few targets in mind. It was experience of birding in one of the world's oldest rainforest that counts. something different from birding in the open area or roadside birding. Physical involvement, one need to be fit, able to walk for few hours under humid condition, up and down staircase as well as sitting in a small boat cruising the river for 2-3 hours birding. Not all birds are easy to see, some will be skulking behind bushes, hopping high up in the trees, they can be calling nearby but not always easily visible - if you are just 1 degree off the viewing angle, you will not see the bird! On the way back to KL, we stopped by at Krau and nailed one more target while the elusive Rail-babbler remain a target in the list.

However, I must admit we just pretty good this trip -  Diard's Trogon, Red-naped Trogon, Blyth's Frogmouth, Malayan Peacock Pheasant, Crested Fireback, Chestnut-backed Scimitar-babbler, Green Broadbill, Banded Kingfisher, Rhinoceros Hornbill, White-crowned Hornbill, Wrinkled Hornbill, and many more!

Read more about our trip to Taman Negara on Thomas own blog at https://madaboutbirdingandtravel.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/visit-to-taman-negara-malaysia/ and https://madaboutbirdingandtravel.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/visit-to-taman-negara-contd-malaysia/

Diard's Trogon in full view!

It rained in the evening (Day 2)

Heard the call of Scimitar-babbler. It was high up and still good enough for viewing and taking photograph.

On our last morning in Taman Negara, boat ride to enjoy the view of big trees along the river.

Wow! the water level is high today. the parking area near the floating restaurant is submerged!





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3 Days in Fraser's Hill with a pro-ecotourism

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A pleasant birding trip to Fraser's Hill. We have covered the hill station, old road, new road and the Gap. Our birding starts after we finished breakfast in KKB, as soon as the sun rises, we managed to get the species in open area including 3 species of cuckoos - Plaintive, Banded Bay and Little Bronze in less than 30 minutes which David was so amazed!

It was not David's first visit to Fraser's Hill. But he would like to see the species he had seen before as well as some of the species that he missed previously. Well, he did get what he wanted .... forktail, nuthatch, shortwing, flycatcher, partridge, magpie, cuckooshrike, and many more.

We ended the trip with 2 Whiskered Treeswift!
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Hulu Langat Birding August 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

Crested Serpent Eagle & Black Hornbill

Black-and-Red Broadbill 
 Crimson-winged Woodpecker

Drongo Cuckoo

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Recee Fraser's Hill and Melaka July 2017

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
For the past 3 days, I was travelling with Noel covering Fraser's Hill and Melaka. From the airport, we drove up to the hill station with a short birding stop between KLIA and Fraser's Hill. As soon as we arrived at the hill station, we went around the birding spots to see as much as we can. Back in the hotel lobby after dinner, we met Derrick Wilby, a serious twitcher from South Africa. We chatted for a while before getting our rest and prepare for tomorrow. The next day, at the hotel lobby we saw Derrick still awake and busy uploading his photos onto facebook (this guy is serious). Anyway, we started with a pre-dawn birding to get specific targets and continue until check out from the hotel in the afternoon. We drove south to Melaka. It was indeed a very long journey. We stopped at a small heronry and (what used to be a) small mangrove patch before the end of the day. On our final day of the trip, we checked the paddy field and saw Lesser Adjutant Stork, Lesser Whistling Duck, Purple Swamphen Eurasian Moorhen,  Cinnamon Bittern, Yellow Bittern, Baya Weaver, Stork-billed Kingfisher, etc. After completing our round in the paddy field, Noel went around the town's touristic spots and soon after that, we were on our way back to KL.


Noel checking out the Bottlebrush tree in Fraser's Hill.


Morning birding in Fraser's Hill


Coming down via New Road


A small heronry in Melaka


What used to be a small area filled with mangrove trees is now flat and barren land, perhaps ready for development.


Melaka paddy field in a rainy morning


On the way back to KL, stopped by a small patch of forest in Melaka. I used to come here for Pitta and Broadbill.
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August Day Trips

I want to express my sincere thanks and admiration for your devotion, energy, time and expertise over the past three days. It has been a wonderful time for me. I am sorry if at times I may have seemed less that appreciative, thanks to my mobility issues. But you compensated for that very well. Your thoughtfulness is appreciated. You have helped me fulfill some of my most long-held wishes with the Broadbill, Woodpecker, Hornbill and Cupwing sightings. Without you, I would have seen very few of them. Thank-you again. I would love to see you in Australia some day! If that is possible, you will be most welcome. - Colin, Australia

Day 1: Bukit Rengit & Kuala Lumpur 
We started the day with a early morning drive to Bukit Rengit and spent some time (roughly 1.5 hours) observing the birds in open areas. Then we moved into the stakeout for other species and the prime target is a Rail Babbler but it never appear and did not even make a single call. Fortunately, we did not stay long. It rained in the late afternoon so we drove back to KL where I showed Colin a small local birding patch. The highlight for today is Red-bearded Bee-eater (which we saw in both sites), a family of Oriental Pied Hornbill, Black Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, Banded Woodpecker, Rufous Woodpecker, Orange-backed Woodpecker, Common Flameback, Black-capped Babbler, Ferruginous Babbler, Short-tailed Babbler, Yellow-bellied Bulbul, Grey-cheeked Bulbul, Hairy-backed Bulbul, Black-and-Red Broadbill, Black-and-Yellow Broadbill (feeding a young Indian Cuckoo), Painted Stork, and many more.


At the stakeout with bird photographers (all eyeing the Rail-babbler that did not even show up. sigh...well, that's birding. you can't never expect everything to appear. there is no 100% or guarantee birds. Not even the most common birds.









Coming back to KL, we tried to look for more target species.



Day 2: Fraser's Hill
An early morning drive up to the highland, Fraser's Hill with a brief stop at the Gap. We continued birding at the hill station before coming back to KL in the late afternoon. Well, we also made a brief stop at another site between Fraser's Hill and KL. Let's see what we have... Rufous-browed Flycatcher, Pygmy Cupwing (Pygmy Wren-babbler), Lesser Shortwing, Large Niltava, Silver-eared Mesia, Fire-tufted Barbet, Black-browed Barbet, Long-tailed Sibia, Collared Owlet, Buff-breasted Babbler, Little Cuckoo-dove, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Greater Yellownape, Bamboo Woodpecker, Little Bronze Cuckoo, Red-wattled Lapwing, Blue-throated Bee-eater, and others.


We spent some time at the Gap before coming to this spot. I realized there was (or were) bird photographer(s) earlier in the morning. The evidence is obvious. :D We still get the enjoy the birds with great views!


Rufous-browed Flycatcher never fail to impress bird watchers and photographers.










Day 3: Hulu Langat
Our last day trip, we went to the nearby forest in the morning and in the afternoon to an open wetland. Although we did not get as many birds as we had for the past 2 days yet we managed to get to see some of the better species in Colin's target list. I would say our highlights for the day are Banded Broadbill, Green Broadbill, Silver-breasted Broadbill, Rufous-backed Kingfisher, Rufous-chested Flycatcher, and White-chested Babbler.


Ok. great! Colin got his target bird....








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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.

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