Jan 29, 2012

Blue-winged Pitta ( pitta moluccensis ) 18 - 20 cm

Pittas are a rare breed. I have made it an objective on each birding trip to known Pitta habitat to keep a look-out for these skittish birds. Due in part to this specie's preference for the quiet habitat comprising of mangrove or forest covered with thick foliage makes it doubly difficult to cross path with them. My lucky break came through information shared by my friends Tang and Andy. I finally landed my Pitta Lifer! -  not one but two Blue-winged. What a bonus! Here are a few photos for sharing. 

                                          Pitta No: 1

                                          Pitta No: 2

Jan 22, 2012

Chestnut-tailed Minla

Montane dweller which are often seen in small flocks of between 3 - 6 birds. Quick but have a preditcable feeding pattern.

Jan 14, 2012

Little Heron caught a fish

It's always interesting to watch 'live moments' especially when the birds are hunting or foraging. The following photos record the Little Heron from the time it caught a fish to swallowing it. 

The many expressions of a Black-capped Kingfisher

This specie was one of the target bird for this birding trip. Almost half way into the trip and still no sign of it's appearance. But luck was with us when it flew out from the mangrove swamp to perch on a tree near the river's edge. It was still not visible due in part to the thick foliage of the tree. We patiently waited. Some 20 minutes later it flew out to snatch a shell fish and flew back to it's perch.. It all happened so fast. We missed this chance.

It was another half hour wait and this time it flew to an open perch atop a thin branch in open view. We had a field day with the shots and below are a selection.

Jan 13, 2012

Red Jungle Fowl in-flight

It was a capture which was well worth the wait. The female had earlier flown past and over the to opposite bank of the estuary. I made a calculated guess that the Male will follow in tandem. After some five minutes of waiting the Male was seen flying out of the mangrove on to a perch on a tree nearest to the estuary. Another 5 minutes wait and out shot the Male from it's perch and headed straight across the estuary to get to the opposite side. There is about 50 meters of water in the river separating the two banks. Due to it's short wing span vis a vis it's body weight the fowl had to flap it's wings in very quick succession to keep it 'afloat' in the air whilst propelling itself across the river. You can imagine the speed which in my estimation is about 40 mph! A quick squeeze of the 'trigger' yielded a couple of good shots of the Male Jungle Fowl in-flight. Below is one of them.

Lesser Shortwing

It was actually by accident rather then by planning that produced the great find of a pair of Lesser Shortwings. It was a bonus of sorts as we were about to leave the area but one of the group suggested a final round to check out if the Male Large Niltava had returned to the earlier perched it was found. And wahla! he found two little fellas jumping, skipping and frolicking in the dark moist highlands bush and concrete drain! A very satisfactory and unexpected Lifer for me and the gang!


Pitcher Plants & flowers in the highlands

We were negotiated a steep cliff and upon looking up we found the hill to be filled with pitcher plants of varying sizes. Here are some of them.

                      A mini Pitcher Plant - just about 2 ins long

                  A larger Pitcher Plant found in a different location

                              Flowers from a tree

                                      Found by the side of a mountain trail

Common Buzzard

This migratory raptor appeared from the mountain and showed itself just long enough for us to take a couple of shots. This is a rare find.

Jan 8, 2012

Banded Langur

Shot this pair of mother and child in Frasers Hill recently. The mother was feeding on a bunch of  berries.

Grey-chinned Minivet (pericrocotus solaris) 17 - 19 cm

The unique feature of this specie is the very obvious color difference in the plumage of the male and female. The male spots a fiery almost flourescent red plumage whilst the female's plumage is bright yellow. Both share some black plumage in-between. 

Blue-winged Minla ( minla cyanouroptera ) 14 - 15.5 cm

Another very hyperactive specie which constantly move from branch to branch in-between feeding. It's always a challenge to keep track of these little fellas which move around in flocks of between 5-6 birds.

Black-throated Sunbird ( aethopyga siparaga ) 11 - 13.5 cm

A bird which wouldn't stay still for even a little while. That's the characteristic of this tiny little one whose favorite food is the nectar of flowers. This specie is found at sub to montane broadleaved evergreen  regions of up to 1700 meters.

Jan 3, 2012

Yellow-browed Warbler ( phylloscopus inornatus ) 11 - 11.5 cm

This and other Warblers with similar color plumage have given birders quite a big headache telling them apart. Sometimes the difference is so minute that it takes a very sharp eye to differentiate them. 

On this occasion the ID was made easier. It was spotted in various locations and there were no similar looking cousins around to confuse matters. :-) 

Rufous-bellied Eagle ( hieraaetus kienerii ) 53 - 61 cm

Riz, Andy and I were chatting blissfully as we cruised along an almost empty road leading to our intended destination - Frasers Hill. All of a sudden from high up in the sky Riz called out from the back seat (well almost shorted actually) that there are raptors in the sky at left. The time was only 9 am! That's an unusually early time for raptors to be flying. Andy had to drive a little further in search of a suitable spot to stop the car. We immediately alighted binoculars in readiness to spot and ID the birds. After a short discussion and cross referencing Craig Robson's field guide the ID was unanimously confirmed! It's the scarce Rufous-bellied Eagle!!! It was a most wonderful Lifer or all three of us!!! A fantastic way to usher in the new year! Guys, give yourselves a big pat on your backs! :-)

Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike ( hemipus picatus ) 13 cm

This uncommon Flycatcher flew in together with a flock of other birds during a bird wave. I did not take too much notice of it until I reviewed the photos after the bird wave was over. I was delighted when the ID was known. Unfortunately the female was not one of the 'captures'. :-)