I was Chasing Lifers (Starlings) - 16th Jan 2019

Thursday, January 17, 2019

I was guiding when I received the news that European Starling and Rosy Starling were spotted near Kuala Lumpur. I was so excited but unfortunately I need to pay attention and focus on my guiding assignment. As soon as I completed my first tour of the year, I went to the spot the very next day with my portable gears - Nikon 1 V1 attached with CX 70-300mm, Kowa TSN-501 Spotting Scope, Kowa 10x32 binocular and Zoom H2N audio recorder. Did I managed to see the bird? Did I managed to get some record photos? Did I managed to get an audio recording of the Starling's call? Well, you bet I did! Very happy about this short morning excursion. :D

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Half-day Birding with a Veteran Birder - 17th Jan 2019

I met Madam Choo many years ago, back to the days when I was still working in Putrajaya Wetland. She was (still is) a very enthusiastic birdwatcher. She contacted me to arrange for a short trip to Shah Alam after my posting on Facebook. After checking the schedule, she picked today as her first day coming out for birding with me. I picked her up very early in the morning and drove to Shah Alam. We were surprised to see many cars at the parking lots and I suspected there is an event going on, and true enough, another cross country run. We need to find the target birds as soon as possible before the runners cross our path. Our first bird....not a Pitta, but 2 Black Hornbill and a large flock of Purple-backed Starling (Daurian Starling). We continued our walk.....

Blue-winged Pitta shot through the spotting scope with iPhone

I guessed we were pretty lucky that the Blue-winged Pitta and Hooded Pitta came pretty fast. Even a Siberian Blue Robin showed up for a short while. Plenty of spiderhunters around but mainly Grey-breasted and Little. No sighting of Spectacled Spiderhunter today. As we continue our birding, we heard and saw Banded Broadbill. Seen well through the spotting scope. Then, there were Rufous Woodpecker, Raffles's Malkoha, Little Green Pigeon, Thick-billed Pigeon, Pink-necked Pigeon, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Olive-winged Bulbul, Stripe-throated Bulbul, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Blue-throated Bee-eater but the Plaintive Cuckoo was not cooperative enough. Other notable species for this half-day birding were Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker and Large Woodshrike.

Hooded Pitta (shot with Kowa Spotting Scope & iPhone)

Raffles's Malkoha (Kowa Spotting Scope & iPhone)
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First Birding 2019: Kuala Lumpur & Fraser's Hill - 12-15th Jan 2019

My first trip for this year. A group of 3 photographers from Japan. Actually, I was invited by fellow bird guide, Andrew to co-guide in this trip. We covered a birding spot in Shah Alam, the forest in Hulu Langat, the highland resort of Bukit Tinggi and also went up to Fraser's Hill for the main target (unfortunately we could not get in 1 full day due to site deterioration).

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Last Birding Trip for 2018 - 29-30th Dec 2018

Friday, January 4, 2019

"Thank you for your guide and sending our photos. We are perfectly satisfied. Thank you again." - Furuya-san, Japan

I had 2 day trips at the end of 2018. Both days with the same birders from Japan. It was a pretty relaxing birding with cracking views of Mountain Peacock-Pheasant and Ferruginous Partridge! Furuya-san finally saw his first hornbill. It was an Oriental Pied Hornbill but we also heard a Black Hornbill in the first morning. A Blue-winged Pitta came out as soon as we arrived at the usual spot. We also added Black-and-Red Broadbill, Spectacled Spiderhunter, Grey-breasted Spiderhunter, Little Spiderhunter, Little Green Pigeon, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker and many more into our 2-days bird list.

Hope to see them back in Malaysia again some time soon.
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Relax Birding with Pals - 26th Dec 2018

After a hectic bird guiding year in 2018, finally took amother relaxing day to do casual birding with good pals Ding Li and Tun Pin (although I have corresponded with him for many year, this is the first time we met).

We covered several spots in Selangor - open field, mangrove and lowland forest. They had cracking views of Greater Flameback, Cinereous Tit and Blue-winged Pitta but of course, we saw more than that! :D

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Chasing Lifers - 23-24th Dec 2018

Andrew is back again in KL! We went to the forest nearby Kuala Lumpur and traveled to one of the highlands in Peninsular Malaysia. Stunning views of some target birds in his life list including Bar-throated Minla, Rufous-winged Fulvettta, Siberian Blue Robin, Orange-headed Thrush and Hooded Pitta. 

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Chasing Species - 21st-22nd Dec 2018

I guided Japanese birders for the first time! The primary target was a species of (elusive) Pitta from the montane forest of Titiwangsa Main Range. We spent some amount of time waiting and looking for it but unfortunately, the closest we got were calls from the bird about a few feet away from our hide. Well, that's the reason why it is one of the most sought after birds in Peninsular Malaysia.

Although we may have missed our prized target, we did get a Blue-winged Pitta, Pygmy Cupwing and several other species during these 2 days.

Hope to guide them again in the near future.

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Tim's Private Trip - 11-14th Dec 2018

Saturday, December 15, 2018

I have guided Tim twice prior to this trip. However, this trip is a bit different where we only focus on selected species and locations. We covered several spots in 3 states within Peninsular Malaysia, roughly 3-4 hours drive between each location. Our notable finds for this trip include Large Frogmouth, Brown Wood Owl, Rusty-naped Pitta and several other waders.

A lot of patience required to get our primary target species. Tim waited for more than 5 hours, well to be exact, it was actually 9 hours to get satisfactory photo. 

While Tim was waiting inside the hide, I went around the hill station looking for other potential spots for other targets. Since we missed the Brown Wood Owl the night before, we were happy to see a roosting Brown Wood Owl. 

After getting the owl, we drove around the hill station for more targets. We had an unexpected target here! Not a rare one but good enough for photographic record of a Long-billed Spiderhunter.

From the highland, we moved to the lowland - a paddy field northeast of Kuala Lumpur. 

Tim is putting a lot of effort to scan the open field.

Checking his shots on his Nikon D500. It was a lifer for him - Eastern Marsh Harrier.

On the rocky shore, Tim was enjoying a flock of terns in action!

When we arrived at this open mudflat, I can see the unusually happy face of Tim. He was so excited to see waders feeding in this area. It was extremely hot compared to the cool weather of Fraser's Hill. ***Warning! this location is not meant for everyone*** 

A few kids were playing around the spot where Tim was shooting the waders. But the noise did not disturb the birds at all, the waders were enjoying their meals until a Brahminy Kite flew above.

Scanning....and continue scanning the mudflat.

It was going to rain soon .... so we decided to call it a day. We need to drive to the airport and avoid the heavy traffic. It seems that Tim and I will have to continue our hunt for more species in the near future.

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Lothar is Back Again! - 3-6th Dec 2018

Lothar is back again! However this time a shorter trip and we concentrated on getting a few other species.
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Bob's First Trip to Fraser's Hill - 28-29th Nov 2019

"Just a quick note to thank you for your guiding and the rest. We both enjoyed the experience very much. I managed 20 lifers so very good in just 36 hours! There was quite a crossover with the birds in the Thailand mountains when I checked my list. Still great to see them again though." - Bob, United Kingdom

It was rather a short overnight trip but still, Bob and Liam get pretty awesome sightings of the montane species.
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Bev & John on Central Route - 21-27th Nov 2018

"Decided to do a 7 day birding trip from Kuala Lumpur during a sightseeing trip of peninsular Malaysia, and found exactly that we wanted. I Contacted the guide Cheong Weng Chun many months before the trip in order to be able to be sure to book with him. He was available for our required dates, and arranged to collect us from our hotel in Kuala Lumpur. During my communication with him I found him to be efficient friendly and helpful and I looked forward to meeting him. We found him to be an exceptional guide. Our tour took us to different environments and habitats, always with an expectation of seeing new birds. He knew precisely where to look for them. His complete knowledge of the bird calls and ability to find the birds for us was outstanding. I feel he was able to adapt to our level of ‘interested and keen but not expert’ because as he found the birds he explained the identifying features- something we have not had before. He was always careful to advise us if there was a need for insect protection ( leech socks- it was the monsoon season!) because of his energy and enthusiasm we saw 200 species in a week which was amazing. The highlights for us were the 6 different species of hornbill, the broadbills, barbets, woodpeckers and kingfishers, not to mention a brown boobook which took some time to track down! Our time on Fraser’s Hill was tiring, stimulating, and enjoyable . Apart from being a great guide Weng Chun was an excellent driver and organiser and we had complete confidence in him. We had a wonderful week and cannot recommend his services highly enough. Thank you Weng Chun for an unforgettable week of birding." - Bev, United Kingdom

I have been expecting this trip for a long time since it was confirmed months ago. The trip turned out to be a good one with lots of laughter. We covered the coastal habitats (open field, mudflat and mangrove), highland and lowland forest.

Our first stop at a coastal village provided us with great views of Pink-necked Pigeon, Common Flameback, Pygmy Woodpecker, Laced Woodpecker, Asian Koel, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher and many more.

We also made a stop here to scan the mudflat for waders and personally I think the highlight here is the Lesser Adjutant, classified as Vulnerable under the IUCN Redlist. The population of this large sized stork is declining due to several factors including human disturbance, agriculture, aquaculture and others.

Approaching the Crested Serpent Eagle perching next to the trail.

Bev and John busy admiring the partridge. We were there with another birding couple - Mabel and Bill.

 Still enjoying the partridge .... can't get enough of the views

In the morning, after breakfast we birded near the hotel in Fraser's Hill.

 One of my favorite spots up in the hill station. We spotted Rufous-browed Flycatcher here.

 Another usual spot for birding but need to be extra careful with the traffic.

Alerted by Andrew who was guiding Mabel and Bill. A Binturong was spotted resting high up in the tree. Our birding tour is not just about birds, we will try to see whatever possible in our journey.

Red-bearded Bee-eater and Speckled Piculet - 2 of the best birds during our stay in Fraser's Hill.

Birding in the lowland forest - along the road. Again, need to be alert at all times for speeding cars and motorcycles.
Waiting in the bird hide for babblers and bulbuls. The leech socks were useful at this spot. Not exactly many leeches but there are plenty to keep you busy looking around. :D

Black Hornbill - photographed with a iPhone through a spotting scope.


2 more shots with iPhone through the spotting scope. Left shows a Banded Kingfisher while right photo shows a brilliant Rhinoceros Hornbill.

Up in another highland, while waiting for our target birds, a mixed flock greeted us and kept us busy for a while. Notable species is a White-bellied Erpornis. 
 Finally, our target bird! Mountain Peacock-Pheasant.

So, many birders around the world have birded in dirty and smelly places. It is not an exception here in Malaysia. We came to this small place, situated between 2 sewage ponds.

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Northern Route 17th Nov 2018

This is the second time I am starting a trip from Penang. However, this is a short one, yes, just a day birding while on the way to Belum forest. We covered several habitats and ticked off a number of species which includes White-throated Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher, Black-capped Kingfisher, Greater Flameback, Black-and-Yellow Broadbill, Black-and-Red Broadbill, Crow-billed Drongo and many more. By the time we reached Belum, it was already dark. Shortly after helping to unload the luggages from my car, I wished them good luck in their quest for hornbills.

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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 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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