Meeting with Birding Friends

Monday, September 30, 2019
It's been over 10 years since the last meeting. Nice to see them again. This time we headed to Bukit Tinggi, Taman Negara and Fraser's Hill.

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First Birding in Indonesia - 9th-16th Sep 2019

Thursday, September 12, 2019
Schneider's Pitta (male)

It was an offer that I can't simply reject. When Bernard invited me to join him for a birdwatching trip to Sumatra, I felt this must be a good opportunity for me to explore Indonesian wildlife. Previously (and my only) visit to Indonesia, was about 10 years ago. It was my honeymoon in Bali. No birding at all. For this trip, Bernard mentioned that the main target would be Sumatran Ground Cuckoo, so I did some research and get in touch with few birders before I finalise the plan and suggest it to Bernard. We decided to go to Kerinci where there are several target species for him. However, my favorite birds (it has to be Kingfisher) were limited to White-throated, Collared and Banded Kingfisher. I was surprised to see White-throated and Collared Kingfisher at such high altitude. 

A day before our trip to Sumatra, we went birding near Kuala Lumpur towards the airport. The next day, we took an early flight from Kuala Lumpur to West Sumatra which is a short flight but it took almost 8 hours by car from the airport in Sumatra to our birding site, Kerinci. When we finally reach homestay at Pak Subandi, we met Dwi and his assistant Suri. Dropped our suitcase in the room and quickly took advantage of the available daylight to look for some birds in the forest. Bernard had his lifer in Barred Eagle Owl which had eluded him on his previous trips to Malaysia. We also saw a Sumatran Frogmouth perching high up and a pair of roosting Sumatran Trogon.

Sumatran Frogmouth / Short-tailed Frogmouth

Day 2 & 3. We started both day pretty early and walked along the uphill trail at dawn. Not easy least nothing like what I have been doing in Peninsular Malaysia all these years. 😁 We spent time walking up and down the trail as well as waiting at specific birding spots and a bird hide. Some calls are very familiar to me such as Black-browed Barbet, Fire-tufted Barbet, Lesser Shortwing, Blue Nuthatch and a few others. Found a roosting Sumatran Frogmouth on Day 3. We walked until 2,400m asl.

Day 4. We spent the whole day birding along Tapan Road (and found a guy trapping birds). I suspected that he is going after the Leafbird. We saw a Sumatran Leafbird here after he left the scene. Among the other species we saw today include (but not limited to) Blue-masked Leafbird, Cream Striped Bulbul, Orange-spotted Bulbul, Graceful Pitta, Sumatran Drongo, Sumatran Trogon, Giant (waterfall) Swiftlet, Black-and-Crimson Oriole, and others.

Graceful Pitta

Sumatran Trogon

Day 5. We need to wake up very early for a long drive to a birding spot for Sumatran Ground Cuckoo. Started the walk from the trail head at sunrise. It was another difficult uphill trail with rocks and muddy patches. Along the way in and out from the spot, we picked up Long-tailed Broadbill, Dusky Broadbill, Banded Woodpecker, Black Laughingthrush, Sumatran Trogon, glimpse of Sunda Forktail, and many more. Of course, we also nailed the main target which is a Sumatran Ground Cuckoo. We waited like 10-15 minutes for it to make a 20 seconds appearance. It crossed the path and that gave us great open view. Awesome bird! 

Day 6. Bernard discussed with Dwi that we may need to return to Kerinci since we had already got most of the targets in Tapan Road. So we drove back to Kerinci very early morning. When we return to the hide, our first bird was a female Schneider's Pitta! I stayed in the hide while Bernard, Dwi and Suri went up the trail  a little over 2,400m asl. But they didn't even see or hear a Sumatran Cochoa. Before it gets dark, we saw 2 Red-billed Partridge. Excellent view!!! But no night birds.

Day 7. We only had time for a morning birding. 3 of them decided to try for the Rimator instead of the Cochoa after we saw a male Schneider's Pitta. I decided to stay back to wait for Sumatran Peacock-pheasant but it never show up. We packed up and was already walking downhill when we heard it calling. We went off the main trail and connected with the bird. After lunch at the homestay, we took a 8 hours journey back to Padang city. Stayed a night in the city to avoid the heavy traffic and roadworks. 

  • Day 8. Returned to KL.

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Bernard is back! - 8th Sep 2019

Went out birding with Bernard early in the morning for a predawn session which lasted until the evening. This is a warm up birding before we start our birding in West Sumatra.

Our top highlight for today is definitely a Large Frogmouth which we found with little effort!
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Another Brazilian Birder - 4th-5th Sep 2019

Andre spent 2 days birding with me to Kuala Selangor and Krau forest. 2 different habitats with various species to offer.
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Licensed Guide specialized in birdwatching and photography tour in Peninsular Malaysia.

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Butterflies of Peninsular Malaysia

Butterflies of Peninsular Malaysia
Collection of photographs for reference.

Notable Plants While Birding

Notable Plants While Birding
There will be some interesting flora that will definitely catch your attention while going out on a birdwatching trip with me. I am in the midst of compiling all the plants, please return to this website for updates. Thank you.

Insects, Reptiles & Primates

Insects, Reptiles & Primates
You will see other interesting insects, reptiles and primates during your birding adventure with me. Here are some of the photos I have extract from my image bank.
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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. When I go out to the field, I will usually have my Kowa 10x32 BDXD binocular, iPhone and Kowa TSN-501 spotting scope with me. This is the lightest setup for me as I prefer to go light these days. Although sometimes, I will (and I need to) take out my Nikon 10x42 Monarch binocular, Nikon ED82 spotting scope, Nikon1 V1 setup for specific targets.

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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Bird Video

I am also interested to take video of birds. Here are some of my favorite videos for your viewing. Video taken with Nikon1 V1 attached to a Sigma 500mm f4.5 and most of the time iPhone SE through the spotting scope. Editing is done on smartphone Power Director for Android device and I also like the iMovie on iPhone. Enjoy.

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