Aug 25, 2011

Birding in Ulu Perdik, Ulu Langat District, Selangor, Malaysia. - DAY lII

Day III in Perdik was another one of those testy days where silence  rule the day in the forest. It was one of those days where the birds decided to forage elsewhere. Hence the day was long and dreary. Our patience was stretched pretty thin and at one point at around mid-day we had wanted to call it a day. 

However our optimism kept us going and we console ourselves that something good is bound to turn up and soon. But luck continued to elude us and the day passed with none of the birds we were looking for turning up. By 4pm we were done and started to pack when out of the distance a familiar call broke out! Yes it was that of one of the species we had been waiting for,and none other than the Banded Broadbill!

Their extremely loud calls pierced through the otherwise quiet forest like an arrow! Instinctively  we reassembled our equipments and replaced the camera on the tripod in readiness. Before long the calls came closer and closer to our position. And in the very next moment two Banded Broadbills were hovering, perching and flying around the tree branches just above us! 

Today's heroes has to be the Banded Broadbills! They did not disappoint as they stayed long enough to make our day. Only the next time we hope they would perch lower. :-) 

Other species recorded for the day are:

                                         Orange-bellied Flowerpecker

 The Emerald Dove made a brief appearance in the morning but perched some distance away.

Birding in Ulu Perdik, Ulu Langat District, Selangor, Malaysia. - DAY lI

It was just a half day of birding today. Arrived at Perdik just after lunch time. The heavens above was threatening to open up and off-load the usual tropical thunderstorm toward the mid afternoon- evening time slot. Well it did rain and it also meant a couple of hours just sitting and waiting for the sun to reappear.

When the rain eventually stop our patience was almost immediately rewarded with a colorful Emerald Dove! The sole bird flew into the vicinity without a sound and started foraging by the bank of the river. It must have been just about 30 yards from our position. But alas the weeds and shrubs by the river bank blocked was in our way for an unobstructed view!

We waited for it to emerge from the weeds and shrubs to an open area. It eventually did reappear and strotted nonchalantly up, down and around the small clearing. That was enough and was what we had hoped for. The results are shared in the pics appended below.

Birding in Ulu Perdik, Ulu Langat District, Selangor, Malaysia. - DAY l

Ulu Perdik or simply Perdik yields interesting and many a time new and exciting 'finds'. Depending on which month in the year you visit, this is a favorite birding spot of both seasoned birders and newbies alike. Perdik never fails to 'reward' the ardent birders and attracts both local and foreign visitors.

My personal experience here have it's ups and downs. Good bird harvest at times and leaner outings in some. Nonetheless this lowland forest is home to a broad spectrum of birds and also thrives with migratory species during the winter season in the northern hemisphere. Birds migrate south to escape the harsh winter and some choose Perdik as their temporary abode before returning to their home lands when spring beckons. 

Below are some species recorded on different days over a 2 week period. 

                                 Asian Fairy Bluebird

                                Black Magpie

                            Buff-rumped Woodpecker


                              Crested Serpent Eagle (record shot)

                                Drongo Cuckoo                        

                                Gold-whiskered Barbet

                                 Grey-chinned Minivet (Male)

Rufuous-backed Kingfisher (Nesting).wmv

Aug 18, 2011

Birding with MNS Selangor Branch Birdgroup (SBBG)

   OLD PUMP HOUSE ROAD, Genting Highlands  - Aug 14 2011

This location is attractive to birders and bird watchers for 2 main reasons. Firstly it has nice cool temperate-like weather (although the temperature now is not what it used to be) and the large number of bird species which has been recorded here. Plus one can get the occasional 'surprise bonus' birds.

This birding trip was organized by the MNS Selangor Branch Bird Group (SBBG) and was very well attended with a mixed group of seasoned birders as well as a fair number of newbies - which is good! It indicates 'new blood' and interest in birding and bird watching amongst the young and older generation is growing. 

We started the day at our favorite Indian Muslim (mamak shop) coffee shop located at Goh Tong Jaya for our morning caffeine and Indian hand made toasted bread aka Roti Canai. After a quick eat and drink all proceeded to the meeting point, a narrow stretch of tarred road leading up the birding trail.

At around 7.30 am we broke-up into smaller groups and trouped up the hill road. The senior birders of SBBG were on hand to share their knowledge and help to spot the birds with their super powerful spotting scopes. One can see the delight in the faces of the newbie birders as they looked through the scopes to see the birds at the other end, probably for the first time! This was followed by the Ooos! Ahhhhs! and Wahhhs! One exciting way to get 'em 'hooked' to birding!

For the record the group heard and/or sighted over 60 bird species! A very good record given that the outing was just slightly over 4 hours. Everyone regrouped for a debrief at the same starting point at around 12 pm. Three cheers to SBBG and the trip organizers! Hip hip hip hurray!!!

Here are some photos taken during this trip for sharing.

                               Banded Bay Cuckoo 

                                Black-browed Barbet

                                Blue-winged Leafbird (Male) 

                                Blue-winged Leafbird (Female)

                                Fire-breasted Flowerpecker

                                Green-billed Malkoha

Mountain Fulvetta (Juvenile)

Rufuous Woodpecker

Rufuous Piculet

                               Grey-chinned Minivet (Male)

                               Grey-chinned Minivet (Female)

Aug 13, 2011

Thick-billed Green Pigeon ( Treron curvirostra ) 25.5 - 27 cm

The photos below were taken in February this year, edited, saved in the folder and totally forgotten. :-) I only chanced upon the photos again whilst making a review of photos in my folders to take stock of what I have got year-to-date. 

Looking at the photos made me reminisce the occasion when some one dozen or more Thick-billed Green Pigeons feasted on freshly ripened figs which blanketed the whole tree. They were so engrossed in their foraging activity that they were not at all perturbed by my presence. I was just 10 yards (maybe less) from the tree! I was obviously delighted that the pigeons had not scuttled away which under normal circumstances would have been the natural reaction of birds in the wild. 

I had a field day making close observations of the flock of Male and Female birds whilst at the same time digitally recording their antics in both photos and video. What luck!!! :-))

Here are some of the photos.

                        The Male

                        The Female

Aug 11, 2011

Sultan Tit (Melanochora sultanea) 20.5 cm

Even seasoned birders will tell you how 'difficult' it is to get a good close look at this skittish and hyperactive bird. Nonetheless it is always a good challenge to play catch-up when they appear, usually a flock within a bird wave. Seldom idle they move from one location to another at great speed and agility.

My encounter with this specie on this birding trip was quite different. Whilst observing other species foraging on a fruiting tree nearby in flew a flock of about 5 to 6 Tits very close to my position. I was then standing under the canopy of  some trees and the whole area around me was shaded and hence lighting was low. I had to keep still and not make any sudden movements whilst the Tits flew above and around me.

I seize opportune moments to made quick moves to snap pictures of one of them which gazed down directly above with an  inquisitive look! It stayed just long enough for me to take a vertical shot. Another one flew past me and perched within 4 meters in front offering a rare opportunity for full frame shots! :-)


Aug 10, 2011

Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler (Pomatorbinus montanus) 19 cm

This birding trip was a case of a near miss in the morning and a small consolation later in the afternoon. The Scimitar Babbler was within 30 yards from my position. It was skirting around a bamboo crop which had many young bamboo shoots between me and the Babbler! As I  frantically tried to shift my position from left to right and back to left in sync with the Babbler's movements it decided to fly further into the thicket and disappeared. 

Disappointed as I was I mentally consoled myself that maybe, just maybe I would have another shot at it later in the day. It was not until around 3 pm in the afternoon when photographing a small bird wave consisting of Sultan Tits, Striped Tit Babblers, Brown Barbets and Leaf Birds did I notice that the Scimitar Babbler was amongst them but foraging alone!

It was 'sandwiched' between two large size forked tree branch and the lighting was poor due in part to the thick foliage around the area and a cloudy sky. Determined not to be disappointed again I took aim and triggered the camera's shutter. All this while it decided to remain partially hidden and in the shadows. :-( Nonetheless I came away glad I managed to get record shots of this lifer and reminding myself to look out for it again next time. :-)   

Aug 9, 2011

Smooth Otters (Lutrogale prespicillata)

Smooth Otters have waterproofed furs which are brownish black in color and which also enhance their ability to stay in the water for long periods. The otters' feet are webbed and their tails are flattened, making them excellent swimmers. They are inept 'fishermen' and their diet consists of mainly crustaceans, fish and the occasional snake.

I was in luck to observe a pair frolicking in the shallow waters of the Sg Buloh river during low tide. They appeared from nowhere and after a short time spent near the shore they decided to swim elsewhere in search of their favorite meal. A single dive under water brought them to a great distance as they reappeared again on the water surface some 50 meters away from my position. The next dive took them further afield and out of sight.

Here are 3 photos of these 'friendly' mammals.

Aug 8, 2011

Siamangs aka Black-furred Gibbons (Symphalangus syndactylus) of Malaysia

A friend and I were up in the cool clime of the sub to montane hills of Bkt Tinggi, Pahang, Malaysia over the weekend. It was destined to be a normal birding trip, not until we were visited by a family of 4 Siamangs or the Malaysian Black Furred Gibbons. We stopped all activities just so that we could watch and follow these four super apes swing effortlessly and almost silently from tree to tree.
I observed that the leader, an alpha male was showing the rest, most probably the mama and 2 siblings 'the way' as one by one all 3 followed the leader's 'route' from one tree branch to the next. The petai or bitter bean botanical name Parkia speciosa is in season and the gibbons were feasting on the ripe ones. After peeling open the sleeve to get at the beans the sleeves were then discarded  and strewn all over the ground below. 

Siamangs are found in various parts of Malaysia, Thailand and Sumatra, Indonesia.  

While the illegal pet trade takes a toll on wild populations, the principal threat to the siamang is habitat loss in both Malaysia and Sumatra. The Palm oil production industry is clearing large swaths of forest, reducing the habitat of the siamang, along with that of other species such as the Sumatran Tiger. Ref: Wikipedia.

Here are photos of the family. 

              Mr. BIG - the Papa 

                The Mama

                       A Sibling

                    Another sibling

Aug 1, 2011

The Crimson-winged Woodpecker ( Picus puniceus ) 24 - 28 cm

A beautiful pair of Male and Female using their powerful beaks to strike at the tree bark and cavities to dislodge grubs and small insects.Always a pleasure to watch.