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Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia.

fraser_full_map

Whilst March was a better time to be visiting this well-known bird location, I had finally made it to Fraser’s Hill. Yes, it was the monsoon period and yes, the tracks were closed but I couldn’t leave Malaysia without having a few days there. From our hotel room at Shahzan Inn after dropping our packs, I saw my first 2 new (Lifer) birds. The next morning, we went with Durai, a local guide for a morning session and added a few more to the list. Then, between bouts of rain, I saw a few more by sneaking a walk along a closed track and generally lurking about.

Durai S. Nature Guide

Sanadure Durai

The big disappointment was not having a working camera. I was able to use Hans’ point and shoot for some basic identification shots but most of the images in this blog are by others, as cited.

Bukit Fraser (Fraser Hill) had an average altitude of 1,200 meters high stretched between the Titiwangsa Ridge lines but its highest point rose to 1,500 meters at the Telekoms Loop. Meanwhile, the base at Gap Road was about 800 meters in height.

Fire tufted Babet

Photo thanks to Choy Wai Mun

*Fire-tufted Barbet

ESC_0011b+28229

Photo thanks to Choy Wai Mun

*Black-browed Barbet

White-throated Kingfisher (The Gap)
Large Hawk Cuckoo (H)

Glossy Swiftlet,
Edible-Nest Swiftlet,

Brown Wood Owl (H only Boo hoo)
Mountain Scops Owl (H)

Pigeon Mountain Imperial

Information board image

*Mountain Imperial Pigeon

*Little Cuckoo-Dove
Changeable Hawk Eagle

Rusty-naped Pitta (H) 2 notes chow whit repeated near golf course
Brown Shrike

Large-billed Crow

*Large Cuckooshrike

*Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

*Large Niltava

Oriental Magpie Robin

Common Myna
Jungle Myna

Nuthatch (H)

Barn Swallow

DSC_0172b

Photo thanks to Choy Wai Mun

*Everett’s White-eye
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Mountain Bulbul

? Cream-vented Bulbul (unsure of identification)
*Rufescent Prinia

Dark-necked Tailorbird  (H)
Laughingthrush Red capped 1*Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush

PWB

Image by Andy_LYT

*Pygmy Wren Babbler this tiny bird was only 8.5cm. We came upon 2 photographers with gigantic lens waiting for it’s appearance. We all got a look!

 

golden_babbler_obi_1 Dinh Sy Thinh

Image by Dinh Sy Thinh

*Golden Babblers

*Long-tailed Sibia

blackthroated_sunbird2*Black-throated Sunbird

Streaked Spiderhunter

Photo by Graeme Guy

*Streaked Spiderhunter

 

Grey Wagtail

Photo by Graeme Guy

Grey Wagtail
Tree Sparrow

15 Lifers *
Birding offers the opportunity to observe a range of other delightful sights as one tends to notice anything that moves, be it a falling leaf, a butterfly or the fluffy tail of a squirrel scampering along a branch….

DSC_0183b

Photo thanks to Choy Wai Mun

White-thighed Leaf-Monkey (Langur)

Siamang female and young

My image female carrying young

Siamang Gibbons

Curly-tailed Macaque

Google image

Curly-tailed Macaques (Pig-tailed) is mostly found in rainforest up to 2000 meters

Long-tailed Macaques


Squirrel, Hill Malaysian (Striped Ground Squirrel)
Squirrel, Grey-bellied (Tree squirrel)

Altts Moth

Google image

Altts Moth Attacus atlas (Atlas moth) it was thought to be the largest in the world however that title has now gone to the Hercules Moth in PNG. Seen fluttering near a street light when we were standing in the rain waiting for the Brown Wood Owl.
Skorpion
Malaysian Forest Scorpion ( Black Scorpion, Blue Scorpion) are aggressive and venomous but not lethal

Group shot

Sharing some birds with a multinational group: Russian, Dutch and Maltese

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Tin-kering in Taiping

Taiping, as the name suggests has a strong Chinese population. It was therefore not entirely surprising to hear the recordings of swiftlets being amplified from rooftops. It was surprising that it was in the heart of the old town.

bird hotel

West Kalimantan (Borneo) Bird Hotel

We had encountered “Swiftlet ranching” when visiting Central and West Kalimantan in Indonesia. There, highrise buildings not unlike apartment towers  or Bird Hotels resounded with the tweets and clicks of amplified birdcall. So too in Taiping, however on a smaller scale. Slightly above the shophouses were windowless attic stories punctuated with small inlets. Hundreds of White Nest Swiftlets swooped around the skyline.

Edible-nest Swiftlets

Taman Tasik (Lake Gardens)

Lake Gardens

Created from abandoned tin mines, the Lake Gardens have been in use since 1884. A vast meandering landscaped park well utilised by the locals but also a wonderful bird haven.

Huge 100 year old rain trees (“angsana”) line the avenues around the lake; their branches stretching over the road and into the ponds. Numerous Long-tailed Parakeets squawked from the canopy.

As I wrote in the other blog we had seen a large monitor and the heads of two otters one afternoon. On separate occasions both the otters and the lizard were seen again, but not together. While birding in the gardens the otters piped an alarm call before hiding under a dark shady tangle of branches. By sitting quietly, we were able to spot them when they peaked out but too shy to photo.

Bird list

Rhinocerous Hornbill 2    Lifer


White-throated Kingfisher
Long-tailed Parakeet
Edible or White-nest Swiftlet
Peaceful Dove
Orange-breasted Green Pigeon

Green Pigeon

Female

Feral Pigeon
Little Egret
Purple Heron
Little Heron
Black-crowned Heron (adult and 2 juveniles)    Lifer 

(A colony nests in the zoo trees nearby)

Asian Glossy Starling
Common Myna

Bukit Larut (Maxwell Hill)

Although Maxwell Hill may be relatively unknown compared to other more popular places like Cameron Highlands, Frazer Hills, Genting Highlands and Penang Hill, it is Malaysia’s oldest and smallest high resort, founded in 1884. Seeking a resort away from the tropical heat for its senior officers and also the wives of the officials and other “high-placed gentlemen”, the location was chosen soon after the the British “forward movement” in the Peninsular, which culminated in the establishment of colonial control over the main tin mining Malay states in 1874. Located just 9 kms from Taiping, no other town or city in Malaysia can boast of a hill resort in such close proximity and accessibility as Maxwell Hill.

Apart from the history of Taiping, I was interested in visiting Maxwell Hill for a spot of birding. Originally, we had planned on booking a bungalow and having a couple of days in a cooler climate and easier access to dawn birding. Alas, that did not happen.

With the forecast weather suggesting heavy rain most days and Hans experiencing flu symptons, I opted for a day visit instead. Arriving at the ticket office at the foot of the hill early to ensure I had a seat on  the 8.30 am Jeep, I learnt that I was obliged to return on the 11am ride. If I wished to return on a later service I had to buy 2 return tickets just (for myself). So instead of 2 days, I had 2 hrs on the mountain. (not happy, Jan)

Nevertheless, it was fabulously sunny and being a weekday, undisturbed.
In a “thrilling” 30mins, we took over 72 tight hairpin turns with a few more less arduous bends to gain 1000 meters. The road was bitumenised though a little rough in places and wide enough for only one-way traffic. No private vehicles were permitted. Furthermore, the timetable for the government owned jeeps was staggered to avoid passing traffic.

Whilst I shared the jeep with 5 other visitors, none followed me further up the peak. A 2 km stretch of steep road winds towards the telecommunication towers gaining another 200-250 meters. It was not my intention to conquer the summit. It was to bird! Since, it’s possible to spend hours covering 1 km, I walked slowly between shady camouflaged spots, stopping longer if there was lots of activity. Naturally, more was heard than seen in such thick jungle.

Bird list:
Grey-chinned Minivet (montanus)  Lifer

Googlr image

No my image. Google archive.

White-throated Fantail
Barn Swallow
Black-creasted Bulbul
Mountain Bulbuls Lifer

Mountain Bulbul

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
Purple-throated Sunbird (female)

(by moving your mouse over some images a caption or credit will appear)

And then it was time to return to Brahminy Too back in Penang. Taxi, coach, shuttle bus, ferry and Uber car home.

 

Sept Sojourn in nth west Cambodia

Birding around the township of Siem Reap was fairly unproductive except for Common Mynas, Prinias and Asian Palm Swifts. It was the wet season and birds had ample opportunities to forage and drink where they pleased. Interestingly, parrots lingered around the large old trees near some of the Angkor temples.
tree roots
When we took the ferry across the great lake, Tonle Sap, towards Battambang, I did see several waterbirds. Finally, upon returning to Siem Reap I hired a bird guide, Nara Deoung, via CBGA.  Nara was brilliant! With a dawn start, we rode a short distance from our hotel  (south) to paddy fields and ponds that stretched to the edge of the great Tonle Sap waterway. 9 Lifers in one morning! Nara could identify the calls immediately and quickly had his scope set-up for better viewing.
Low Mount Phnom Krom

Phnon Krom (digiscope shot)

Lotus farmers

Lotus farms at the foot of the hill

Phnon Krom meaning “low mountain” referred  to a 140m hill with some ancient ruins. Nearby was this vast marshland with lotus farms and birds. Later approx 15 mins from town and slightly south east was Kuk Chreav Rd which teemed with Openbills and Pratincoles and several Snipes.
Nara

Our guide Nara from CBGA

http://www.birdguideasso.org  I’d like to recommend this organisation as a eco-friendly and respectable conservation-minded company.
An afternoon visit to Kbal Spean, 12 km north of Banteay Srei temple provided some forest habitat. An opportunity to bird and visit the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), which was the first nature conservation centre in Cambodia. Most animals arriving at ACCB have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. (Usually, soft release techniques with post-release support and – where appropriate and possible – monitoring are applied. ) Individuals that belong to certain endangered species or are not fit for release may be transferred to the breeding section.
Pangolin ( their scales are used in chinese medicines)

Pangolin is hunted for the “traditional medicine” trade. 

Greater Adjutants were a successful breeding pair
Adjutant Greater 1

Adjutant Greater part of a captive breeding program

Some animals, birds in particular, were too traumatised or unfit for releasing or breeding.
Fish eagle Grey headed

Grey-headed Fish-eagle

Birdlist
Spot-billed Duck Phnon Krom  (flyover)

Indian Roller                 ”  ”


Lesser Coucal              ”  ”     Lifer
Plaintive Cuckoo          ”  ”

Blue-tailed Bee-eater   T. Sap

Alexandrine Parrots    Bantrey Screi Temple
Red-breasted Parrot      Ta Prohm Temple

Red Collared Dove      Phnom Krom
Spotted Dove                         ”    ”
Peaceful Dove                        ”     ”

Bronze-winged Jacana 1      ”       ”   Lifer

Pintail Snipe ?   Kuk Chreav Rd (I can’t be sure as Common Snipe look very similar) Lifer

Sandpiper, Wood      ”      ”
Sandpiper, Common   ”     ”

Black-winged Stilt        Phnom Krom

Plover Little ringed        Kuk Chreav Rd
Plover Pacific Golden           ”     ”   with some old breeding colours

Stint Long-toed ? Apparently.  ”   ” I had difficulty identifying him

Oriental Pratincole 1000+    ”     “

Whiskered Tern 6   T. Sap

Asian Openbill 23       Kuk Chreav Rd

Wooly necked Stork 1     distant photo outside ACCB
Stork Wooly necked
Milky Stork 1     T.Sap    (flyover)

Little Cormorant    Phnom Krom
Great Cormorant    ”     ”
Indian Cormorant    ”     ”            Lifer
Oriental Darter    T. Sap

Spot-billed Pelican 1    T.Sap     Lifer

Pelican Sotted-bill juvenile

Juvenile

Yellow Bittern  1      Phnom Krom
Cinnamon Bittern 1   ”    ”             Lifer
Black Bittern 3          ”    ”

Great Egret                 ”    ”
Intermediate Egret     ”     ”
Little Egret                    ”     ”
Cattle Egret                   ”     ”

Chinese Pond-Heron     ”     ”

Black-shouldered Kite  1   ”     ”
Shikra                       outside ACCB
Brahminy Kite

Brown Shrike    Phnom Krom

Southern Jungle Crow (formally called the Large-billed Crow)

Drongo ? or Treepie flying through flooded forest on Tonle Sap

White-vented Myna           Phnom Krom     Lifer

White-shouldered Starling  ”     ”     Lifer

141389586.HFhr75fj.IMG_7063-1

Passage migration through Cambodia

Yellow vented Bulbul             ”   ”

Prinia plain                               ”   ”

Chestnut-capped Babbler       ”   ”    Lifer

Chestnut capped babbler

We were right next to them but so hard to see in the thick foliage. Calling constantly.

Sparrow, Plain backed             ”     ”   Lifer

sparrow plain backed

Not my image. But I want to remember how yellow it was.

AsianBrown Flycatcher           ”      ”

Swift, Asian Palm

Bushchat Pied      Kuk Chreav Rd    Lifer

Paddyfield Pipit

Scaly-breasted Munia

Weaver nest(s) no activity

A play date with Wendy

Wendy Chin and Burney

Before departing Langkawi, Wendy Chin and I had  mentioned hooking-up for a morning of birding. Before long, the time to depart Rebak Marina and consider travelling south was upon us. As if by telepathy, Wendy contacted me the very day we had moved to Telaga Harbour on the main island of Langkawi, to repair the refrigerator and refuel the yacht before possibly departing. The weather wasn’t promising but we both had a morning free on August 3rd. Yippee, a play date with a fellow birder.

Wendy Chin

Wendy chasing buterflies

Cloud lingered heavily over the mountain rain near our harbour but whilst it rained on the port town of Kuah where Wendy lived, it was dry on the north west corner. Though we were caught out exploring some new mangrove territory with a light downpour. When it totally socked-in we abandoned play for another day.

Birdlist

Hornbill Great (H by Wendy)

Kingfisher White-throated

Koel Asian

Coucal Greater

Coucal

Bee-eater (heard but not identified)

Swiflet Edible Nest

Pigeon Orange-breast  Green

Dove Spotted

Waterhen White-breasted

Lapwing Red-wattled

Lapwing Red-wattled 2

Kite Brahminy

Sea-eagle White-bellied

Heron Little (Striated)

Crow Large-billed

Oriole Black-naped

Drongo Ashy

Drongo Ashy

Drongo Racket-tailed

Myna Common

Swallow Barn

Bulbul Yellow vented

Tailorbird Common

Sunbird Brown-throated

Pipit Paddyfield

Pipit Paddyfield 1

Munia Scaly-breasted

Munia Scaly breasted

Munia White-headed * New bird

Munia White-headed

Birds of Begnas and Rupa, Nepal

Cattle Egret

If you move your “mouse” over some images the caption appears.

L = Lifer. First sighting on my Life list

H = Heard only not sighted

Egret Cattle

Kite Black

Kite Black

Vulture White-rumped L

Shikra L

Pigeon Common or Rock

Dove Spotted

Green Pigeon, Orange-breasted

Parakeet, Rose-ringed

Cuckoo, Common Hawk (H)

Cuckoo, Eurasian (H)

Koel, Asian

Koel Asian

Coucal Greater

Owlet Collared (H)

Kingfisher, White-throated

 

Barbet, Blue throated

Barbet, Coppersmith L

Barbet, Great L

Yellownape Great L

Woodpecker, Fulvous-breasted L

Woodpecker Grey-headed L

Long-tailed Broadbill L

Eurylaime psittacin Psarisomus dalhousiae Long-tailed Broadbill

Long-tailed Broadbill

Minivet, Crimson

 

Minivet, Long-tailed L

Drongo Spanged

Drongo Black

Drongo Lesser-racket-tailed

Magpie, Common Green L

Treepie, Grey

Crow, House

Crow Large-billed

Bulbul, Black-crested

Bulbul Himalayan L

Bulbul, Red-vented

Bulbul Red-whiskered

Tailorbird, Common

Laughing Thrush, White-crested L

Myna Jungle

Robin,  Oriental Magpie

Sunbird, Crimson

Munia Black-headed ( formerly called Tricoloured)?

Sparrow House

Pipit, Paddyfield

Bardia National Park Birdlist

  • Those marked with an asterisk * were (also) seen within the Wild Trak Adventure Lodge grounds

L is a Lifer

(H) is heard only

[click on the photo tile for captions]

Peafowl,  India  Peacock and Penhen

stork-woolly-necked-e1498028574738.jpg

Stork Woolly-necked

Stork Woolly-necked L

Stork Painted  (on the Babia River) L

Asian Openbill

 

Adjutant Lesser L

Ibis Red-naped (was called Black Ibis) L

Heron, Indian Pond

Egret Little

Cormorant Little

 

Eagle, Crested Serpent

Sparrowhawk Eurasian L

Buzzard Long legged  (Rufous morph) L

Hawk Eagle, Changeable

Waterhen, White-breasted * (breeding)

Lapwing, River L

Lapwing, red-wattled

Pigeon, Common *

Dove, Spotted *

 

Green Pigeon, Orange-breasted  L

Dove, Emerald *

Parakeet, Alexandrine L

Parakeet, Rose-ringed * L

Cuckoo Large Hawk (H)

Cuckoo Indian (H)

Koel  Asian *

Coucal Greater*

Owl, Mottled Wood L

Until last year it had never been recorded in Nepal. This large owl with a noticeable white bib and rufous patches had big dark eyes and no ear tufts. Although we only saw one, another called nearby.

Roller, Indian L

Dollarbird

Kingfisher Stork-billed

Kingfisher Common L

Kingfisher White-throated *

Bee-eater, Chestnut-headed *

Bee-eater, Blue-tailed *

Bee-eater Green L

Hornbill Indian Grey L

Hornbill Great

Barbet, Brown-headed (H)

Barbet, Lineated

 

Woodpecker Slaty Grey  L

Goldenback, Great

Pitta Indian L

 

Iora Common

Minivet, Scarlet L

Drongo, Lesser Racket-tailed

Drongo, Greater Racket-tailed

Drongo, Black *

Drongo White-belly L

Oriole, Black-hooded (H)

Paradise- flycatcher, Asian (male and female) L

Treepie, Rufous * L

Crow, Indian Jungle *

Crow, House *

Tit, Great * L

Martin, Plain L

Bulbul Red-whiskered *

Bulbul Red-vented * L

Bulbul Black-crested L

Prinia, Plain L

Tailorbird Common *

Babbler Jungle L

White-eye, Oriental

Myna, Jungle *

Myna, Common*

Starling, Asian Pied *

Starling Brahminy (breeding)* L

Robin, Oriental Magpie

Sharma, White-rumped

Sunbird Purple * L

Sparrow, House *

Weaver Baya *

Wagtail, White-browed L

…………………………………………………………………………………………

Approx.  72 species of which 30 were new birds, Lifers, L.

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Other sightings:

Barking Deer  (H)

Swamp Deer

Spotted Deer

Hog Deer

Red Cotton Bug

Rhinosaurus Unicornus ( Bardia NP was given several Rhinos from Chitwan N P. They now have 40 living in the area, we saw 4, one of which was a juvenile while on a jeep trip.

Royal Bengal Tiger ( Possibly 85 Tigers with 2 recent cubs)

Asian Elephants

Crocodile, Mugger

Crocodile, Gharials

Turtle, Indain Soft-shell

Lizard, Monitor

Lizard, Garden *

Mongoose

Frog, Skittering *

Frog Indian Pond *

Fish, Golden Masheer

Langur, Grey

Common Langur river

Leaping Langurs

 

 

 

Birding in Nepal part 1

When the buses are on strike and you are caught between destinations, what do you do?

Bird watch from your hotel room. We had hoped to travel from Kathmandu to Bardia National Park in the far west corner of Nepal but found ourselves barely midway. Whilst the surrounding area was scorched flat agricultural fields, I still found enough to keep me amused. For a day at least.