Aug 31, 2010

A return to Kuala Selangor Nature Park (KSNP)

It was almost a year since I last visited this nature reserve. So I thought it would be be a good time to check it out again. I have Andy for company, a new but very enthusiastic bird photographer. We arrived well before the gate was opened for visitors. A testimony that we have kept to the fervent practice of birders - catch the birds whilst they are out catching their worms.:-)

All in all we came away satisfied with the numbers and variety of birds seen and photographed. Andy was obviously elated. Most of the birds are lifers and it was his biggest harvest in just a 3/4 day outing! Enough motivation for him to want to make a return visit soon.

Here are some of the birds encountered last Sunday.

This handsome Laced Woodpecker was a great start for the day. Whilst I was trying to locate it's perch it surprised me by suddenly appearing and perched about 8 ft from my position. My instinct was to take aim and shoot. Just managed one shot before it flew away. Luck was on my side. The only shot turned out OK.

Next up was the Copper-smith Barbet. There were three of them perched on a tall tree's canopy, foraging and preening under the warm morning sun.

 As we approached the mangrove walkway a family of macaques cautiously approached us. They were in search of their breakfast in the mangrove swamp. This mother and her baby caught our attention. So did this burly looking leader of the pack, seen here having a drink of fresh rain water collected on a canvas from the overnight rain.

Do not provoke this fella or you will be sorry. :-)

After a short stroll on the wooden walkway a Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker was spotted foraging on a tree deep in the swamp. Photo taking was hampered by the mangrove trees and twines which rendered the target to be in low light and also limiting the angles to get clear shots. This photo is for the record.

Half way into the first stretch of wooden walkway we were pleasantly greeted by a raptor which flew to within 20 to 25 ft. It was a Crested Serpent Eagle! We tried to get the best view through the thick mangrove standing between us and the bird, always conscious of the fact that the Eagle is not going to stay there for too long. We were frantic to get the best shots before it decided to fly away. The end result was a good redemption for our almost back-breaking effort.

As we proceeded on our walk there were a  few missed opportunities to shoot more woodpeckers. The mangrove again got in our way. The picture below show how thick the mangrove trees are on both sides of the wooden walkway.

Not easily defeated we marched on. A Pacific Swallow entertained with some 'model shots'.

In the distance we saw a Braminy Kite had caught a fish and was hastily flying to find a comfortable perch to feast on it's catch.

As we approached the opposite side of the wooden walkway there were a few photo opportunities. The photos are rewards, of sorts, for being 'beaten up' by the noon day sun! It was by then scorching hot and humid! :-)

The Pied Fantail we chanced upon must be the most 'friendly' as it posed for a good 15 minutes on the more or less the same perch. Avid birders will know that this specie is always ultra active and many a time even seasoned bird photographers find it a challenge to photograph them. 

As I recounted earlier on in this posting we had a very good start to the day!

This Mangrove-blue Flycatcher, Juvenile, (pic below) stopped us on our track.  It is indeed a very beautiful bird.

Then there was the Oriental White-Eye up close.

And the common Tailor Bird

Our last stop was the observation tower overlooking a lake. From our vantage point we had an arm chair view of dozens of nests constructed by the Grey and Purple Herons. The juveniles are already almost the same size as their parents but still depended on their parents to hunt and feed them. We had a field day shooting the Herons as they flew freely hunting for fish around the lake. Below are 4 combo pictures shot in sequential order showing the Grey Heron flying and coming in to land.

The Purple Herons also made their appearance albeit in a more subdued manner vis a vis their other cousins, the Grey Herons.

To cap the day's visit a Collared Kingfisher was sighted perched high up on one of the branches enroute to the exit of the park, as if to bid us farewell and reminding us to come visit again soon. :-) All in all it was a great outing! My bet is that Andy will be back sooner than later. LoL

A big thank you to all the visitors to this blog. The increase in the number of  hits have, I hope, meant you have found it worth your while to browse through the pages here. Once again thank you and have a good day!!!

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