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Slow-paced but still Great Birding

Sunday, June 25, 2017
Lesley and John busy with a bird on the wire

John and Lesley were greeted by Adam in the morning. Their morning target are Mountain Peacock Pheasant and Ferruginous Partridge, however only managed to see the former species. In the afternoon I met them in Krau forest with my 3 guests. We had a short birding session as the weather and lighting were not ideal. Along the road, we managed to get Black-bellied Malkoha, White-rumped Shama, Buff-vented Bulbul, Red-eyed Bulbul, Black-naped Oriole and White-breasted Waterhen. After bidding farewell to the 3 guests, Adam sent them to Kuala Selangor while I took John and Lesley back to Bukit Tinggi where we had great view of a Great Hornbill flying towards us, a very obliging Dark-necked Tailorbird, Striped Tit-babbler, and Fire-breasted Flowerpecker.

In the morning, we birded in Krau forest again. Our highlights for the morning include Black-thighed Falconet, White-breasted Waterhen, Black Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Black-capped Babbler, Black-throated Babbler, Short-tailed Babbler, Yellow-bellied Bulbul, Hairy-backed Bulbul, White-rumped Shama, Red-billed Malkoha, Whiskered Treeswift, Lesser Green Leafbird, Rufescent Prinia, Spectacled Spiderhunter, Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker, Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Black-and-Yellow Broadbill and others. In the afternoon, we continue our journey to Taman Negara. It was already late in the afternoon when we reached Kuala Tahan and by the time we checked into our rooms, we have very limited time so we head towards the nearest hide. After dinner, we hit the trail (boardwalk) and spotted our first scops owl.

Day no.3, we took a boat ride and saw very interesting birds which some of them we did not see again for the rest of the trip. After breakfast, we walk along the trail until mid-day and managed to get our first 2 species of trogon for the trip. After an afternoon rest, we continue our walk and a stop at the hide. Our highlights for the day include Blue-banded Kingfisher, Stork-billed Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Lesser Fish Eagle, Malayan Peacock Pheasant, Black-thighed Falconet, Crested Serpent Eagle, Large Green Pigeon, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Drongo Cuckoo, Silver-rumped Needletail, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Banded Woodpecker, Rufous Woodpecker, Crimson-winged Woodpecker, Checker-throated Woodpecker, Buff-rumped Woodpecker, Black-and-Red Broadbill, Dark-throated Oriole, Black-naped Monarch, Crested Jay, Straw-headed Bulbul, White-chested Babbler, Abbott's Babbler, Moustached Babbler, Scaly-crowned Babbler, Horsfield's Babbler, Sooty-capped Babbler, Chestnut-winged Babbler, Plain Sunbird, Sooty Barbet, Grey-cheeked Bulbul, Emerald Dove, Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, Crested Fireback and others.

On the fourth day, we spent all our time focusing along the trails and hide, which we managed to ticked more species - Great Argus, Changeable Hawk-eagle, Plaintive Cuckoo, Raffle's Malkoha, Orange-backed Woodpecker, Banded Pitta, Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Rufous-winged Philentoma, Asian Paradise Flycatcher and Thick-billed Pigeon.

Lesley heard some interesting calls along the trail 

Lesley taking notes of what she saw

Our last day in Taman Negara, we managed to get very good views of Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot and White-bellied Woodpecker. By late afternoon we have arrived in another premier birding site in Peninsular Malaysia, Fraser's Hill. Our highlights for the day include Changeable Hawk-eagle (again), Red-wattled Lapwing, Asian Palm Swift, Buff-necked Woodpecker, White-necked Babbler, Purple-naped Spiderhunter (Sunbird), Oriental Honey Buzzard, Little Cuckoo Dove, Glossy Swiftlet, House Swift, Rufous-bellied Swallow, Grey-rumped Treeswift, Fire-tufted Barbet, Black-browed Barbet, Lesser Yellownape, Greater Yellownape, Large Cuckooshrike, Bronzed Drongo, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Ochraceous Bulbul, Mountain Bulbul, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Buff-breasted Babbler, Pygmy Cupwing (Wren-babbler), Spectacled Laughingthrush, Silver-eared Mesia, Blyth's Shrike-babbler, Little Pied Flycatcher, Rufous-browed Flycatcher, and Streaked Spiderhunter.

White-bellied Woodpecker (Nikon V1 + CX 70-300mm)

Pygmy Cupwing (Nikon V1 + CX 70-300mm)

Day 6, we spent our time entirely at the hill station which we rewarded with Blyth's Hawk-eagle, Brown Wood Owl, Red-headed Trogon, Bay Woodpecker, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Sultan Tit, White-throated Fantail, Golden Babbler, Malayan Laughingthrush, Mountain Fulvetta, Slaty-backed Forktail, Malayan Whistling-thrush, Black-eared Shrike-babbler, Verditer Flycatcher, Large Niltava, Orange-bellied Leafbird and Black-throated Sunbird.

Brown Wood Owl (Nikon V1 + CX 70-300mm)

Red-headed Trogon (Nikon V1 + CX 70-300mm)

Our final day in Fraser's Hill. We had a morning birding along the New Road and Old Road which we ticked off Orange-breasted Trogon, Mountain Scops Owl, Yellow-crowned Barbet, Red-throated Barbet, Banded Broadbill, Cinereous Bulbul, Chestnut-backed Scimitar-babbler, Grey-throated Babbler, Black Laughingthrush and Hill Blue Flycatcher. In the afternoon, from Fraser's Hill to Kuala Selangor, our list continues with Baya Weaver, Long-tailed Shrike, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Heron, Grey Heron, Brahminy Kite, Buffy Fish Owl, Germain's Swiftlet, Edible Nest Swiftlet, Collared Kingfisher, Common Flameback, Pied Triller, Yellow-bellied Prinia and Plain-throated Sunbird.

Buffy Fish Owl (Nikon V1 + CX 70-300mm)

The last day of the trip with John and Lesley. We walked into the mangrove reserve for our final targets which we did pretty well. We have the following species included into our trip list - Mangrove Whistler, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, Golden-bellied Gerygone, Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, Laced Woodpecker and Little Bronze Cuckoo. On the way to the airport, we added Black-shouldered Kite and Painted Stork.

Mangrove Blue Flycatcher (Nikon V1 + CX 70-300mm)

Overall, I believe we have done pretty well. I am very glad that John and Lesley got quite a good number of species in this trip. Well done John and Lesley!




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Amazing Trip with Amazing Birders


"Weng Chun is a knowledgeable and energetic birder who worked tirelessly for seven days to get us on the birds. With well over 200 birds seen and heard, we were not disappointed. He knows the birds, the calls, and the locations very well, and he got us comfortably and efficiently from one spot to the next. Malaysia is a stellar location for tropical birding, and Weng Chun is an excellent guide and birding companion. Highly recommended." - Cliff

This is indeed another amazing trip for me guiding 3 very knowledgeable birders (Cliff, Alex and Mike) from USA. Each of them carries a camera and a binocular. Cliff has an additional equipment, a video cam.

Day 1: As soon as we leave the airport, they were already looking out the car window for birds - typical birds around the airport and the along the road include Eurasian Tree Sparrow, House Crow, Pacific Swallow, Javan Myna and Common Myna. We stopped by a rest area along the highway where we spotted egrets and herons, starlings and doves. Next, we made a quick stop at an open field for additional species and exceptional close encounter with a Ruby-cheeked Sunbird. Before ascending highway 55, we added shrike, oriole, bee-eater, and lapwing into our list. On the way up, we had Chestnut-naped Forktail. Our other highlights for today include but not limited to Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Red-wattled Lapwing, Mountain Scops Owl, House Swift, White-throated Kingfisher, White-breasted Waterhen, Germain's Swiftlet, Pacific Swallow, Rufous-bellied Swallow, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Crimson-winged Woodpecker, Long-tailed Shrike, Black-naped Oriole, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Black-crested Bulbul, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Dark-necked Tailorbird, Rufous-crowned Babbler, Black Laughingthrush, Striped Tit Babbler, Common Myna, Javan Myna, Chestnut-naped Forktail, Asian Glossy Starling and Oriental Magpie Robin.

Day 2: We started the day early and continue to bird the entire day until night. During mid-day we were hit by a bird wave....incredible mixed species!!!! We have covered most of the targets up at the hill station which include Malayan Whistling Thrush, Fire-tufted Barbet, Little Cuckoo Dove, House Swift, Red-headed Trogon, Black-browed Barbet, Bay Woodpecker, Large Cuckooshrike, Grey-chinned Minivet, Black-and-Crimson Oriole, Common Green Magpie, Pacific Swallow, Rufous-bellied Swallow, Ochraceous Bulbul, Mountain Bulbul, Stripe-throated Bulbul, Mountain Tailorbird, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Buff-breasted Babbler, Streaked Wren-babbler, Pygmy Cupwing (Wren-babbler), Spectacled Laughingthrush, Malayan Laughingthrush, Silver-eared Mesia, White-browed Shrike-babbler, Blue-winged Minla, Mountain Fulvetta, Long-tailed Sibia, Everett's White-eye, Asian Glossy Starling, Oriental Magpie Robin, White-tailed Robin, Slaty-backed Forktail, Little Pied Flycatcher, Large Niltava, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Black-throated Sunbird, Streaked Spiderhunter, Malayan Partridge, Emerald Dove, and a call of Rusty-naped Pitta!

Stumbled upon a small group of local photographers. Here Cliff pointed out a Black-and-Crimson Oriole

Cliff found a Giant Forest Milipede

After a long wait, when everyone else have left the site, we were (quite) reluctant to move away from our position. Our persistent pays off, and we got 3 partridges.

Day 3: Again, we started the day early, well much earlier than yesterday. We made full use of the available time - day and night. We also walked along the Old Road - 2km down from Upper Gate. There were some species which we saw the days before but we managed to add Brown Wood Owl, Orange-backed Woodpecker, Lesser Yellownape, Grey-throated Babbler, Black-eared Shrike-babbler, Rufous-browed Flycatcher, Hill Blue Flycatcher, Golden Babbler and White-throated Fantail.

Brown Wood Owl

Day 4: Our final day in the highland, so we went "hunting" at a lower elevation which proves to be a successful session and of course, we also spent time early in the morning. At one point, Cliff shouted STOP STOP STOP when we were travelling downhill. We had fantastic view of a Crested Serpent Eagle. Our additional birds from this highland include Banded Kingfisher, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Yellow-crowned Barbet, Blue-eared Barbet, Gold-whiskered Barbet (heard only), Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Cinereous Bulbul, Yellow-bellied Warbler, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, White-bellied Erpornis and Orange-breasted Trogon. Driving towards the world's oldest rainforest, we added Black Hornbill (1 pair and the male almost hit our windscreen) and we also got a better look at a Gold-whiskered Barbet. At night, we did a nightwalk along the forest boardwalk with other interest in mind - snakes and frogs.

We were walking along the road and suddenly all of us spotted a bird perching quietly on a horizontal branch.....


Why we stopped here? in the middle of nowhere? actually we were on the way to Taman Negara when everyone shouted turtle!!! 

Admiring at the Asian Box Turtle

Possibly a Malayan Bridle Snake

Forest Scorpion

Day 5: Today, we have Sabri to walk with us along the boardwalk. We walked uphill and downhill, lots of steps along the boardwalk....sweat alot under the hot and humid condition of the rainforest. Our highlights for today include Black-and-Red Broadbill, Black-and-Yellow Broadbill, Scarlet-rumped Trogon, White-bellied Woodpecker, Buff-rumped Woodpecker, Silver-rumped Needletail, Sunda Scops Owl, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Yellow-bellied Bulbul, Abbott's Babbler, Sooty-capped Babbler, Green Broadbill, Maroon Woodpecker, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher and Purple-naped Sunbird.


White-bellied Woodpecker

Day 6: Another great birding day starting from morning until night. A boat ride rewarded us with new species to be added into our growing list and we even walked the boardwalk (AGAIN!!! because none of us feel tired at all). Some of the new species we had today include Barred Buttonquail (good spotting Mike!), Large Green Pigeon, Black-bellied Malkoha, Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, Reddish Scops Owl (heard only), Buffy Fish Owl, Large-tailed Nightjar, Diard's Trogon, Red-naped Trogon, Blue-banded Kingfisher, Rufous-backed Kingfisher (heard only along the small stream), Oriental Pied Hornbill, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Helmeted Hornbill (heard only), Banded Woodpecker, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Bar-bellied Cuckooshrike, Straw-headed Bulbul, Ashy Tailorbird, Ferruginous Babbler, Moustached Babbler, Grey-headed Babbler (heard only), Chestnut-backed Scimitar-babbler, Black-throated Babbler, White-chested Babbler, Chestnut-winged Babbler, White-rumped Shama, Lesser Fish Eagle, Grey-breasted Spiderhunter and call of Great Argus.

Day 7: In the morning, we went straight to the hide, hoping to add more species into our list. And yes, we did it! After breakfast, we check-out from the resort and before we leave Kuala Tahan, we managed to add Blue-rumped Parrot, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Dollarbird and Asian Palm Swift. Along the way, we had a few raptors - Crested Goshawk perching next to a Crested Serpent Eagle. And then, there was a pale morph Changeable Hawk-eagle as well as a dark morph Changeable Hawk-eagle. Today is our last day birding together and my pal, Adam is suppose to send the 3 gentlemen to Kuala Selangor. Our meeting point is a lowland forest between Taman Negara and Kuala Lumpur. Upon arrival, we wasted no time and continue birding before the rain finally ended our trip. In a span of few hours here, we added few more flowerpeckers, babblers, and probably the last species (Cinnamon-rumped) needed to complete the Trogon series for Peninsular Malaysia.

Blue-rumped Parrot
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It must be very very windy....

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

I believe it was very very windy yesterday or 2 days ago. Few big trees were uprooted and this shelter was hit by one of the trees. This remind everyone going out birding to be extra careful during undesirable weather conditions.


I was there for a short while. Heard Ferruginous Partridge calling (not from its usual stakeout), Great Hornbill, and Rhinoceros Hornbill. Sightings include Oriental Magpie Robin, White-rumped Shama, Black-crested Bulbul, Blyth's Hawk-eagle and Oriental Honey Buzzard.
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Short trip to Kuala Tahan

Saturday, June 3, 2017
Went to the National Park and its surrounding few days ago. Short trip but a good one though. Surprisingly not many people around.


The surrounding was pretty quiet too. Inside the trail, only met 1 tourist for the entire afternoon. *surprised!* Some of the highlights during the stay around Kuala Tahan include Rhinoceros Hornbill, Green Broadbill, Maroon Woodpecker, Gould's Frogmouth, Buffy Fish Owl, Large-tailed Nightjar, Slow Loris and so on....






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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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