Mike Birder - Malaysian Birds


Welcome to my Malaysian Birding Blog. I migrated to blogspot.com as my blog at multiply.com closed shop in 2012. I wish to showcase all Malaysian birds that I have photographed whether here or overseas. My countdown of lifers started in 2005. As of July 2016 my countdown of lifers photograph has reached 456/668 species of birds of Malaysia.

My shooting gear are a EF400mm f4 DO lens and Canon 7D body which to me is the ideal setup for mobility and bird chasing. Eventhen the weight over my shoulder is more that 5.5 kg. As of June 2016 I have also acquired a Fuji XF 100-400mm OIS lens to complement my travelling cum birding trip overseas. The Fuji X-T2 is also on my mind in the near future.

I am a weekend birder. Do feel free to drop me a line at mikebirding@gmail.com or mikekanovest@yahoo.com if you like to tag along but I limit to a threesome. My usual day trip is just an hour ride away to Hulu Langat, Lancang Kemensah, Krau, Awana, Hulu Kali, Gombak Ole Road, Fraser's Hill , Bukit Tinggi and KSNP & Coastal Sg Janggut . Overnite trip to Merapoh & Cameron, Air Hitam and further north to Kuala Sidim is a seldom affair and when the family permit. Panti in Johor is another good birding site that I yet to go. Then there are the Borneo birds of Sabah and Sarawak of Malaysia which I seriously much go to chalk up more lifers

WARNING Birding is an addiction once you started its hard to stop. The wifey and children are now birding widow and orphan.


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Monday, 15 August 2016

GROUND BIRD 9/16 - Ferruginous Partridge

The beautiful Ferruginous Partridge is back in the old hunt. Many of us birder (& birding starters) who missed out this rarity last year will be pleased to know that the bird is back. The bird is timid & skittish for the several days I was there. It would scuttered back into the undergrowth by the loud shutter clicks and worse  multiple flashing been used. We hope fellow birders do not use flash or play its call too often (Once in 30-45min). For the 3 days encounter with the bird it may comes out only once or not at all. If  it is not intimidated by us it may come out 3-4 times.

A hide will be preferred against camo netting as if its see any sudden movement behind ; it will get scared and it eventually will not show up for the entire morning later. Smoking is another deterrant  and we should refrain from smoking during the wait. Hide must be placed about 35-40 feet away and anything closer it will not frequent the open. Mind you the bird is always there and spying on us so it is best to stay quiet in your hide most of the time. The peak time for its appearance is from 7.15-8.45am. If it do decide to come out later than that will be a bonus!

So far fellow birders have been very cooperative in keeping the place clean by removing their own rubbish from the site. Keep it up guys. Good Luck and Happy Shooting.

And yes guys try to be early and set up before 6.30-7.00 am and not come later  and disrupt the peak hour shooting session (See above).  Go early to Colmar Resort reception to buy your bird pass at RM13 pax before the guard allows you to go up the hill. Staying in can go up free though.

The Ferruginous Partridge (Caloperdix oculeus) is a species of bird in the Phasianidae family. It belongs to the monotypical genus Caloperdix. It is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests upto 950m . It is threatened by habitat loss. The only place I  know in peninsula Malaysia that it can be seen is  in Bukit Tinggi and it is rarity to see.

The male and female looks alike except the male has a overgrown spur or sometimes 2 spurs. The female have none or  single short one.

All photos were shot using ole faithful Fujifilm X-E2 and the EISA 2016-17 Best Compact System Zoom Lens; the  XF100-400mm OIS. I was shooting at low speed of 1/30-60 f5.6 ISO3200 for most of the  photos here. Again for birds in the open and BIF the Fuji set up is just dandy so much so this lens is a keeper . With the latest X-T2 coming I am drooling exciting .................... SL Foo what say you.
All photos are @mikebirder copyright

AVIAN VIDEO 16/100 - Mating Dance of a Mountain Peocock Pheasant

This photo is the copyright @ lohminglee  with his permission. No download is allowed without the blogger permission

In August  2016 we have the opportunity to witness a beautiful display of this magnificent resident in Bukit Tinggi. There are  two adult male wooing a female. Like any other  peocock the male will fans its beautiful tail which somewhat dazzle the female. It will also bring the biggest grub in this case the biggest corn meal and place in front of it and if the female like it it will accept the offer. It will boogie its tails left & right whenever the female is close by (picture below). This ritual was happening for the past weeks  Eventually the following weekend we were there the dance had stopped. We think  the successful male got the female companion/partner and the other male was seen coming out alone.

While I was shooting the video MingLee managed to shoot the "award winning" photo as above. Please do not breach the copyright of the photographer. ENJOY!

I just got the backside for crying out loud!!!!!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

AVIAN Birding Site 2/10 - Bukit Rengit Lancang Pahang

Bukit Rengit off   Lancang  Exit from Karak-Kuantan highway is an alternate birding site you can go besides Merapoh Pahang. At times this place have many lifers to offer. It is about 45mins to an hour from Gombak toll to Lancang toll. You have to pay 3 tolls totalling RM25 two ways beside petrol RM35 for 200km unless your car is frugal and driving at 90kph. So it is wise to carpool. I prefer to drive and I usually leave it to my buddy to treat  lunch and breakfast. Win-win ma.

Please take note there is a certain stretch of winding road after the Karak toll which is quite treacherous when wet. In one incident  a Singapore birder AlexT who was following me to Krau has the misfortunate to hit the centre barrier while manuevering the bends. It is best to remind you to slow down to 70-80kph there. I have seen a new BMW 530 series with all its ABS EBD & ESC tech but still  went off the road because of speeding. Some says these dastardly tow truck syndicate do pour diesel before the rain comes on these roads as they wait for accident to happen there. So be warned.

Buff-eared is a rarity here
Dollarbird is seasonal
Long-tailed Parakeet usually can be sighted in the  higher canopies

Scarlet-rumped is a "sure see"
Nowaday with WAZE just input Deerland Lancang and you are good to go. Funny I overlook to bird at Kuala Gandah where KG Elephant Sanctuary is located. This is further in  from the T junction turn off to Deerland/Krau.  It should be a ideal place to bird. Maybe we can get the Fire-breasted FP with the many flowering and fruiting trees there. I would review this birding site a rating of  4/5  safe. However there are kids on bikes prying the road. Since birding here I have yet to hear any theft or car break-in.

Anyway here is my take in the month of May 2016.
The female Diard's

The handsome male Diard's

 Bukit Rengit is aptly called the land of Trogons because all the lowland species of the cinnamon, scarlet rumped ,diard's and the red-naped can be sighted along the entire stretch of the road leading to Krau forest reserve.

The female Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
Ferruginous Babbler
Bukit Rengit is also called the Land of Babblers the lowland species of cause. The rarity one is the Necklaced which I sighted only a few times. The active period is in the middle of the year.  My hope is to see the Grey-breasted my last babbler lifer here if not it will be to Borneo.

                                                  The yellow bellied bulbul is one of the largest you can see here                                                                                                     

The Chestnut-breasted Malkoha is always the busybody here in Rengit. the Raffles and Red-billed are the other common ones here too.

Some  dream birds that you can  see here is the Gould's & Javan  Frogmouth,  Giant Pitta, Thick-billed Spiderhunter, Large WrenBabbler, Banded Pitta, Black Partridge, Rail Babbler,  Necklaced Babbler, Crested Jay, Fireback Pheasant and Slaty Woodpecker. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

SPIDERHUNTER 6/7 - Spectacled Spiderhunter

Again left out another lifer bird from my bird library so posting it now when I wanted to update the the record. This pushes my lifer bird photos to 455. Still a long way to 500.

The spectacled is almost similar in features with the Yellow-eared except its is slightly broader and larger at 22cm. Its yellow ear is not as droopy but flanged to the side /top whilst its beak is definately broader. The yellow eyering definately more prominent and thicker. I also notice the greyish throat is more uniform and not streaky like the Yellow-eared.

The Spectacled Spiderhunter (Arachnothera flavigaster) is a species of bird in the Nectariniidae family.It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. You can see regularly see it in Lancang, Taman Negara and Sg Congkak. It the largest spiderhunter and the largest representative of its family.

So now I need to find my last spiderhunter ie no 6 the Thick-billed Spiderhunter ..............fellow birders please contact me if you see one or know of any location closeby to see this bird. The common sighting is in Sepilok and a record sighting in Bukit Rengit in 2007.....

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

HORNBILL 10/10 - Plain pouched Hornbill

Plain pouched hornbill is almost similar in features as its cousin the Wreathed Hornbill except its jugular pouch is plain lacking the black streak as the latter. The casque is also has no corrugation as the Wreath.  It is supposedly smaller that the wreathed. The female has a blue pouch whilst its male has a yellowish jugular pouch.

HORNBILL 7/9 - Greater Hornbill

Greater Hornbill
There were a threesome family which flew pass me on the way to Bkt Tinggi at 7.30 am Luckily they perch at a forest tree curious seeing my red car. Only managed a few shots before they again flew off to their next destination. The blue hue of the sky make my shots a bit over expose.....but heh it a lifer for Merdeka day 2008

ID its wings features against Craigs fieldbook. When the flap their wings their is resonant sound "kwehkwekwekweh....."

HORNBILL 6/9 - Helmeted Hornbill

  Helmeted Hornbill

Heard its gibbon-like call (comprising of hoots followed by its unique laughter ) umpteen times but the montane forest of Genting is so vast. This time took my chance to wait for it at an opening under the cable car line and kept my fingers crossed. With a slight movement at the far side about 1.5 km away my bird luck came but I only manage a few flying shot. I believe there is a pair of residents here in Awana most probably a breeding parent as recorded by Mike Chong.

The Helmeted Hornbill is a large bird in the hornbill family. It is found in lowland forests, up to 1500 m of peninsula Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo. It lives in a pair in upper canopy of tall trees, mixing with other hornbills, pigeons, and primates in major fruiting tree. Voice is a series of identical, loud, hollow took notes, gaining in speed before drawing to an amazing climax of maniacal laughter, tee poop notes.

It has mostly blackish plumage except that the belly and legs are white and the tail is white with each feather having a black band near the tip. The tail is long and the two central tail feathers are much longer than the others, up to 1 m, giving the bird a length up to 160 cm, the longest among hornbills. The body length is 95–120 cm (38–47 in). Males weigh 3.1 kg (6.8 lbs) and females weigh about 2.7 kg (5.9 lbs).

This species has a bare, wrinkled throat patch, blue in females and red in males. The casque goes from the base of the bill halfway to the tip, where it ends abruptly. It and the bill are yellow; the red secretion of the preen gland covers the sides and top of the casque and the base of the bill, but often leaves the front end of the casque and the distal half of the bill yellow. Unlike other hornbills, the Helmeted Hornbill's casque is solid, and the skull including the casque and bill may constitute 10 percent of the bird's weight.

This bird eats mostly fruit, especially figs like this ones. It may also use the casque as a weighted tool to dig into rotten wood and loose bark in search of insects and similar prey. Unlike many fruit-eating hornbills, it is sedentary and pairs maintain a territory. Males fight over territory on the wing, ramming each other with their casques.