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Saturday 9 December 2017

20 at manly

This was a wonderful chance to access the wader roost at Manly Harbour which was usually locked. We met at the end of Davenport Dr, south of the Royal Queensland Yacht Clubhouse before the hightide which was at 14.00. Arthur and Sheryl Keates were the leaders for the day. I was grateful to be added to the limited list of attendees and harassed them dreadfully asking for identification assistance I was also delighted to see a few familiar faces from bygone years. A surprise sighting was a folk violinist friend of Hans’, Davydd McDonald and the very good birder, Mattheo. Thank you also for helping me.


Photo by Davydd

QWSG is the Qld Wader Study Group
Bird list at the roost site:
Little Pied Cormorant,
Australian Pelican,
Pied Oystercatcher,
White-headed Stilt,
Red-capped Plover,
Greater Sand Plover,
1 Black-tailed Godwit (Well done Sheryl Keates to find that 1 bird among many many Bar-tailed Godwits!!)
Bar-tailed Godwit, (lots)
Whimbrel, (lots)
1 Far Eastern Curlew, only 1 which is very much a concern
2 Common Greenshank,
Grey-tailed Tattler,
Terek Sandpiper,
Ruddy Turnstone,
Red Knot,
Great Knot,
Red-necked Stint,
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper,
Curlew Sandpiper (highlight for the day)

Curlew Sandpiper by Graham Chapman

Photo by Graeme Chapman

Silver Gull and
Gull-billed, Caspian, Little and Greater Crested Terns
Welcome Swallows
Rock Dove
Masked Lapwing
Tawny Grassbird (Heard only)
Unidentified Quails? Probably Brown


Lockyer Valley

Sunday 3 Dec 2017 ++

Bird Magpie Geese

While visiting family in the Lockyer Valley and specifically around Glenore Grove, we reacquainted ourselves with several birding sites during the morning hours. These included: Atkinson’s Dam and Seven Mile lagoon, Lake Clarendon (walking as far as possible on the causeway while still following the lake) and Lake Galletly bird hides (Uni of Qld Gatton Campus).

It was wonderful to wake each morning and challenge my brain to recognise the dawn chorus bird calls after being in South-east Asia for 18 months. Around the house were regular visitors such as the Grey-crowned Babblers which were feasting on a recent irruption of itchy caterpillars. Double-barred Finches frequented the shrubbery while the visiting Chanel-billed Cuckoos and Koels taunted the locals. What a fabulous sight to see several Cockatiels flush from a sidewalk of seeding grasses!

Yes we were home and it was early December.



Australian Pelican

Australasian Darter

Great Cormorant

Pied Cormorant

Little Pied Cormorant

Little Black Cormorant

Australasian Grebe

Hoary-headed Grebe

Magpie Goose

Black Swan
Australian Wood Duck
Australasian Shoveler
Pacific Black Duck
Grey Teal

mixed flock

Mixed flock: Aus Black Duck, Hardhead, Coot and Wood Duck

Pink-eared Duck
Dusky Moorhen

Purple Swamphen

Bird Purple Swamphen

Eurasian Coot

White-necked Heron
Australian White-faced Heron

Cattle Egret

Great Egret

Intermediate Egret

Little Egret

Glossy Ibis

Australian White Ibis

Straw-necked Ibis

Yellow-billed Spoonbill

Royal Spoonbill

Masked Lapwing

Red-kneed Dotterel

Black-fronted Dotterel

Black-winged Stilt (Pied/Australian)

Whiskered Tern

Whistling Kite

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

Swamp Harrier

Rock Dove (feral)

Bar-shouldered Dove

Crested Pigeon


Little Corella

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Rainbow Lorikeet

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet


Pale-headed Rosella

Common Koel

Channel-billed Cuckoo

Pheasant Coucal

Laughing Kookaburra


Red-backed Fairy-wren

Noisy Friarbird

Little Friarbird

Noisy Miner

Lewins Honeyeater

Brown Honeyeater

Grey-crowned Babbler


Willie Wagtail



Black-faced Cuckooshrike

Pied Butcherbird

Australian Magpie

Torresian Crow

Welcome Swallow

Fairy Martin

Richards Pipit

Golden-headed Cisticola

Tawny Grassbird

Double-barred Finch


Chestnut-breasted Mannikin (Munia)

Common Myna

Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia.


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


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


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


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….


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.
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

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


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.

Our guide Nara from CBGA  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

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


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


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.


Hornbill Great (H by Wendy)

Kingfisher White-throated

Koel Asian

Coucal Greater


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