MikeBirder - 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. Coming to February 2019 my countdown of lifers photograph has reached
520/688 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 now in hand ; the weight over my shoulder is much lighter now by 30%. In December 2018 I acquired the Nikon Coolpix P1000 as supplementary camera for distance shooting of 3000mm .

I am a weekend birder. Do feel free to drop me a line at mikebirding@gmail.com and I see whether you can tag along in my outings. 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 Jeram side of the coast . Overnite trip to Merapoh & Cameron, Air Hitam and further north to Kuala Sidim is a seldom affair but for lifer we travel. 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. This I did in 2018 to Sepilok Sandakan and Kinabalu Park. Next Danum and LahatDatu.......

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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Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Avian Sighting February 2019 - Lesser Coucal

There were 2  pair of these large birds in Pulau Indah. For the many time I was there in Jan-Feb I sighted it without fail along the track between the steel  foundry.  It can as closed as 50 feet away

 The tiniest of grassbird Zitting Cisticola with its cheery chirping is a tough bird to shoot here or grassland for the matter. It never let me come close to it even from my car.

A dozen or so Oriental Pranticole have landed here too in February . They are in full breeding plummage.  They do breed here in Malaysia.

Still searching for the Richard's but I only got the common one.....................

 Well I have to wait for next season again.......................

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Avian Photo Gear - AI Intelligence Detection Focussing in Bird Photography

FINALLY I am very glad that Camera Maker are heeding my want of AI to auto detect and focus on bird silhuoette which Nikon P1000's  "bird mode" is not  the case though. Here is two Camera Maker which have started the ball rolling. In the near future I would forsee that camera  can be post-programmed  by the user  by setting in/download  specific bird picture themselve into the camera. This will definate ease us amateur birders to get better picture and lifers. FUJI and other brands you better buckle up and follow suit......... 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X  its already here

DPReview "The Olympus OM-D E-M1X is the company's sports-oriented Micro Four Thirds camera that's all about speed. It has a 20.4MP Four Thirds sensor, Dual TruePic VIII processors, a 121-point hybrid autofocus system with intelligent subject detection for trains, race cars and planes/helicopters. The camera can shoot continuously at 60 fps with AF/AE lock and 18 fps with continuous AF/AE. The E-M1X offers a High Res Shot mode for both handheld and tripod use, a Live ND filter (using multiple exposures) and a Pro Capture mode that lets you save images taken before the shutter release button".

Panasonic S1R coming soon in 2019 (NewCamera)
47.3 million pixels Full size sensor · Low pass filter less
5-axis hand vibration reduction within the body with 5.5 steps of effect
Dual IS 2 with 6 stages of effect
4K 60p / 50p video
Sequential shooting performance: 9 frames / second (AFS), 6 frames / second (AFC)
6K photo at 30 frames per second and 4K photo mode at 60 frames / sec
5.76 million dot EVF
The finder magnification can be adjusted from 0.78 times to 0.74 times or 0.7 times
Movable rear liquid crystal with 2.1 million dots
ISO: 50-51200 (Including extended sensitivity – maximum standard ISO is 25600)
Dustproof · Drip-proof · Low temperature-10 °
Picture of 187 million pixels (16,736 x 11, 168) can be created using high resolution mode
Advanced Artificial Intelligence Technology Detecting Humans, Cats, Dogs and Birds
Size: 148.9 x 110.0 x 96.7 mm
Weight: 898 gm

Avian they are not - Robinson's Forest Dragon

A surprise  appearance of this Robinson's Forest Dragon aka Robinson's Anglehead Lizard  (malayodracon robinsoni)  My new acquintance  Steven Wong who is our local reptile expert -herpetologist. You can tag him in  his facebook if you need to id any of your finding.

He mentioned the coloration of the  lizard I shot is when it is in high alert or distress state. Later it fend off a Rufous-crowned LT which somewhat tried to shoosh it away. It hold its ground and continued feeding on the mealworms  at the port.

It is a common reptile in pristine montane enviroment like  in Ulu Kali sometimes bathing in the open. Food must be scarce here as it daringly came out amongst the birds here.

Video of the reptile feeding at the log

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Avian Sighting January 2019 - Yet another Siberian Blue Robin

 AhLong have setup a new stakeout in the open at the gate.He mentioned this first winter juvenile SBR has been frequenting the port for the past few weeks now.

With the bountiful moths at the Radar station the birds only come to feed at the port in the later hours. So now you can see them at almost every places that  I gone to namely BT Lancang ,TBSA..... Usually it is on its own. This young bird may stay for a year or so. This is a first time a SBR  is seen here I think............

There is a pair of Mugimaki lurking around and they do come out to feed when ever they feel safe. The male stayed away that morning as the female was rather agressive which AhLong says will chase it away. Maybe it is a immature young male. There was also a glass kill at the guard post again. Told AhLong to put some banding sticker to minimise the incident. 

The other resident birds that were active there were the Mesia,  Black-throated Sunbird Mountain Bulbul No good pictures here due to the windy and misty condition that morning

Later at Awana trail I encounter  this Asian Brown which was obliging me with some 30 ft closeup shots in the open. The place was rather quiet during noon time. 

Monday, 28 January 2019

Starling 6/10 - Common Starling aka European Starling (Lifer 520)

This would be the mega lifer for a start  in 2019  in Malaysia. News came late and I am not sure what Starling it was until TK who message me it the European Starling aka Common Starling that has landed in Port Klang Selangor. With the confirmation I took  time off  from my work immediately to tick this  vagrant lifer to Malaysia. Reaching the port  there were many birders there already. You just shoot it from the car. So a beanbag or improvised pillow will do as the can come close to 30-50 ft of your car. If  a birder embark and set up their tripod they then  keep away.

There was only a single  juvenile/first winter   bird following several Rosy Starlings. The latter are also uncommon Starling to see in Peninsula.

Apparently it is a "lapsup" bird in Europe which you can see in the thousands murmuring across open  and suburbs country land. Based on my Field Guide they do land in South East Asia countries of Northern part of Thailand until Myammar & Tonkin  side but never down to Peninsula. My only suspect is the recent monsoon storm  "Baduk" that had brought it to our shore. So guys this  is first record for Peninsula and you should not miss this once a life time sighting!

There was a single non-breeding Common Starling amongst Rosy Starlings which it follow around. This vagrant is most likely a native of northern hemisphere namely Eurasia and is found throughout Europe, northern Africa (from Morocco to Egypt), India (mainly in the north but regularly extending further south and extending into the Maldives) Nepal, the Middle East including Syria, Iran, and Iraq and north-western China. Until somebody tag it and see where it is land on its return trip then only we will now.

Wiki extract: The common starling is a highly gregarious species, especially in autumn and winter. Although flock size is highly variable, huge, noisy flocks - murmurations - may form near roosts. These dense concentrations of birds are thought to be a defence against attacks by birds of prey such as peregrine falcons or Eurasian sparrowhawks. Flocks form a tight sphere-like formation in flight, frequently expanding and contracting and changing shape, seemingly without any sort of leader. Each common starling changes its course and speed as a result of the movement of its closest neighbours.

Very large roosts, exceptionally up to 1.5 million birds, can form in city centres, woodlands or reedbeds, causing problems with their droppings. These may accumulate up to 30 cm (12 in) deep, killing trees by their concentration of chemicals. In smaller amounts, the droppings act as a fertiliser, and therefore woodland managers may try to move roosts from one area of a wood to another to benefit from the soil enhancement and avoid large toxic deposits.

Photo shoot with Coolpix P1000 Tv1/160 post edited.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Avian Field Report January 2019 - Sg Congkak Hulu Langat

Hoping to see the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher on its return leg from down of Peninsula; I was at Sg Congkak to check out the place and the Rbkf Port. The place is still intact and birders continue to visit during the weekend. Got to meet a new acquiantance Hi Chang u r on candid camera. Mingloh was there too and another 3 birders who I am not familiar.
Chang is a newbie but his gear is pro aka Nikon 200-500mm D500

 The Rufous-backed Kingfisher is active again at its port. Looks like they are in  mating mode already in the month of January as the male was seen in its ritual  to impress its mate with its catch and deliverance. The female stayed about 80 ft away from our position while the male was feeding itself and bringing fish to the female on several occasion.

The female  have a more prominant eye patch lores than the male

The effervescent colors of the RBKf is just beautiful when sunlight hits its body. Picture on the right
The male got a fish for deliverance..............

The female staying a bit away waited to be fed. 

Feeding time

Come March there will be more activity of nesting building and hatching activity here in Congkak. Many broadbills like the Dusky and Black & Yellow were calling aloud but not responding to our mimmick calls. Probably mating season is here already. Even the Black Magpie is seen gathering nesting material ..........

Some would have started building nest whilst other are just being amorous and affection. So there are plenty to see soon here in Congkak i the coming months

The Yellow-rumped flycatcher was my first time sighting at the port. Normally it stays away from the local birds unlike the APfc which will follow the locals in birdwave. The YRfc  was not obliging to stay long as the guys were sitting openingly and too near the perch. So guys if you really want better shots do bring some camo netting  or hide. I was using a Camo ponco. This was my only perch shot I got for the day from close up.

 The other first  here is the Grey-headed babblers visiting the port. They only come late in the morning from 11 am onwards. It was a good shoot-out as the lighting is much better. Apparently they tranverse a large area and they stop by only once or twice before moving on. So you got to be patient and wait till afternoon if necessary. Thank DO for the heads-up

The family of 5

The uncommon bird here in Congkak is this  Rufous-tailed Tailorbird  which stayed away at a 50 ft range. This was my best picture of the 30 odd shots. The last I seen this bird was way back in 2012. The common one you can see here is the dark-necked. RTT is a tidy clean looking bird and some people also call it the rufous-crowned or red-headed

The Orange-headed Thrush finally have the guts to feed on the perch late in the morning after many of the guys have left the port. Chang and I set up our poncho hide by then. It came only twice and kept to the background the whole morning earlier.

The other regulars that we  manage to see and shoot  that morning were as below :-