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MikeBirder - Malaysian Birds


Welcome to my Malaysian Birding Blog. I migrated to as my blog at 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 May 2020 my countdown of lifers photograph has reached
539/688 species of birds of Malaysia in photos.

My shooting gear was a EF400mm f4 DO lens and Canon 7D body which to me is the ideal setup for mobility and bird chasing at that time. 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.
Meantime I am hoping Sigma or Fuji will come out with with a 200-600mm lens for my Fuji body. As for a new body I will only consider an upgrade when the megapixel hit 30..........

I am a weekend birder. Do feel free to drop me a line at 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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Monday, 3 August 2020

Avian Sighting August 2020 - Green-billed Malkoha

A pair of Green-billed  was sighted foraging together with a pair Black-browed Barbet in Awana Genting. You seldom get to shoot them in the open. The former is a regular sighting here whilst the Red-billed is more often seen in Bukit Tinggi. 

News came that the Bukit Cincin gate is now closed from entry................

Monday, 20 July 2020

Avian Sighting July 2020 - Blyth's Hawk Eagle

The bird was sighted at Richmond trail in the afternoon. Unfortunately for me  it landed behind the dead tree trunk at about 150 ft out in the ravine. Hence the record shot. It has a single broad white banding to  its tail  compared to the less seen  Wallace's 3 bars. And then there is the other Mountain Hawk Eagle which I have shoot in Fraser's 

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Avian Sighting Bukit Tinggi July 2020 - Mountain Peocock Pheasant

Bird life at BT is sporadic and sparse last weekend. The only consolation is the resident MPP  showing up. The male and female come out separately at long interval I suspect there is a nesting down the ravine. So within the nest week or so I hope there will be some chicks to shoot.....................
The Male with its double spikes leg

The Female without spike

The Ferruginous Partridges were nowhere to be seen  for the past week. 

The Female without spike

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Avian Photo Gear - Arriving of Canon RF 100-500mm, 600mm and 800mm telephoto lenses

Canon RF 100-500mm, 600mm and 800mm telephoto lenses is coming as early as July 2020!

Is this going to be a game changer for Canon Birders. I cannot wait for its review. Hope Canon can do a Demo outing for Malaysian Birders to test the system. 

The affordability & portability is name of the birding game. So at a low price of  RM4,000 for any of them and the weight - no more than 1.5 kg is fantastic news.  Somemore there is OIS stabilisation which complement the  IBIS (whopping 8 stops beating Oly) of their new EVF mirrorless full frame EOS R5 /R6 cameras. However you need to budget RM13,000 for the R5's 45megapixel body.

Question is 1. How good is its AF in lowlight shooting? 2. How is the DOF at the fixed F11 aperture? 3. And of course the sharpness. If its good I will be eyeing the RF 800mm. We will wait and see...........

Canon RF 800mm F11 IS STM - Overview (From Canon lens literature)

The RF 800mm IS STM lens is a super telephoto prime lens with 4-stop image stabilisation and a greater reach than its sister lens, the RF 600mm IS STM. It is perfect for the wildlife enthusiast, and ideal for specialist pursuits such as bird and aviation photography. Lightweight, powerful and compact with excellent image stabilisation for handheld shooting, the Diffractive Optic (DO) design, along with the RF lens mount and a fixed, F11 aperture, helps make it a more compact lens and easier to pack into a travel bag. Designed for Canon’s Full Frame mirrorless cameras, its RF lens mount offers a faster communication speed than a conventional DSLR. Smooth and silent focusing from the STM motor is a real advantage too, particularly for video.

Features & Benefits

  • Capture safari, aircraft or travel views and shoot the ultimate frame-filling moments in glorious detail that benefit from creative telephoto compression.
  • Thanks to 4-stop image stabilisation, super sharp telephoto images are possible, and you can achieve great handheld video footage too.
  • Because of the RF mount, an F11 aperture and compact Diffractive Optic design, the lens measures 281.8 mm in length when stored and weighs only 1,260 g.
  • An STM motor allows smooth, quiet AF while a Lens Control Ring gives intuitive control over settings. Pleasing bokeh is achieved thanks to a bladeless, F11 aperture.
  • Now it’s easy to pack a super telephoto lens in your kitbag with powerful image stabilisation and AF which is available to all enthusiasts who want to travel light.

Availability and Pricing
The RF 800mm F11 IS STM is scheduled to be available at the end of July 2020 for an estimated retail price of $899.99.

*Based on CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association) standards. Testing performed using the EOS R camera.

Canon EOS R5 versus the new EOS R6 writeup by Jeremy Gray

Image sensor: The Canon EOS R5 features a new Canon-designed 45-megapixel full-frame image sensor. The R6, on the other hand, features a lower megapixel sensor. The 20-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor of the R6 may not have the resolving power of the new sensor in the R5, but the R6 does have a higher native ISO ceiling: 204,800 versus 102,400.

Nikon Z6 Review -- Product Image

Autofocus: Both the R5 and R6 feature Canon's latest Dual Pixel CMOS AF II. The AF system delivers 100 percent area coverage via 1,053 zones. In addition to this impressive coverage area, each camera includes eye, head and face tracking for people, dogs, cat and birds.

Performance: Despite the differences in image sensors, the R5 and R6 can both shoot at up to 12 frames per second using their mechanical shutters and 20 fps with the electronic shutter via silent photography mode. Where the R6 separates itself from the R5 in terms of performance is with respect to buffer depths. The EOS R6 can record 1,000 or more compressed raw (C-RAW) images, while the EOS R5's buffer depths top out at 260 C-RAW images when recording to either a UHS-II SD card or a CFexpress card. For regular raw images, the EOS R6 can record up to 240 images before the buffer is full, whereas the EOS R5 slows down after 180 raw images. Both cameras are powered by a DIGIC X processor.

Image stabilization: Both the EOS R5 and R6 promise up to 8 stops of image stabilization via built-in body-based image stabilization.

Design: The Canon EOS R5 and R6 are similar in overall design, but there are a few important differences. The R5 features a top LCD panel, something not included on the R6. The R6 also includes a different dial for selecting modes. The R5 uses the same mode button design as the EOS R, whereas the R6 opts for a more traditional mode dial.

Card slots: As mentioned earlier, the Canon EOS R6 has two SD card slots, both compatible with UHS-II. Rather than two SD card slots, the EOS R5 instead includes a CFexpress slot and an SD card slot (UHS-II).

Video: Thanks in part to its 45-megapixel image sensor, the EOS R5 can record 8K video at up to 30p in addition to 4K video at up to 120p. The EOS R6, on the other hand, records "just" 4K/60p video and no 8K video (there simply aren't enough pixels). Further, the EOS R6 does not record 4K video using the full width of the image sensor, something the EOS R5 can do.

Price: The EOS R6 will cost around $2,500 USD, whereas the EOS R5 will be much more expensive, launching with a suggested retail price of around $3,900.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Avian Photo Gear - Luminar Editing Software Review

Before and After using Luminar4

I was using a trial version Luminar 4.0 recently and I am quite impressed with its ease of use for its simplified scaling bar that suit my liking. The best is the one tap Preset- "SuperSharp" This save me a lot of time to enhance my bird photos. I always wonder  why my fellow birders' photos are so sharp & crispy. Now I know why and no longer envious of their counting feathers pictures lol. 

I would highly recommend  you guys to try it out. IT REALLY AVIANLICIOUS GOOD. I would rate it 4.5 star for its affordable price. Wait for a discount if you intend to get it. BTW I only shoot in Jpeg.

Case1 - One Tap Preset is so handy and easy for anyone to boost the sharpness and vibrancy of your photo. Not to say Fuji colors are out but L4 just give the bird's more contrast and details which pop out......
Original Crop untouched Jpeg from Fuji XT-2

Luminar 4 one tap Preset - SuperSharpening AI

CASE 2 Comparison of my usual Canon Editor vs Luminar4. Both are matching but L4 is more vibrant
Lesser Shortwing - Canon Editor 

Lesser Shortwing - Luminar4

Malaysian Hill Partridge in the morning haze

Monday, 6 July 2020

Avian Post-nesting July 2020 - Feeding time in Bukit Fraser

In the month of June - July the opportunity to get feeding action is there to capture. I was in Bukit Fraser for such an opportunity. It is not easy to shoot at low speed sub1/60s in low light condition.
Best to shoot at 1/250s at least with ISO3200 or higher if you camera can offer good noise control.

Other time you can only shoot the parent grabbing food  to feed its fledgling in the undergrowth.

Somewhat the female juvenile Large Niltava follows the Mum whilst its male sibling follows the Dad

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Avian Sighting July 2020 - Pygmy Wren Babbler

These are my best photos thus far of the Pygmy Wren-Babbler. I managed a speed of 1:125 or 250 at high ISO of 1600. Lighting was just perfect ie  bright overcast lighting at about 1.30 pm for me to get these pictures. As the bird is quite hyper during its venture out to the feeding log;  you really need higher speed to freeze the action. Most of the time you are about to get focus on it and trigger your shot and the bird is no longer in the frame WTFlower...........

There is no juvenile sighted other than the Grey-throated Babbler. The other common one namely the Buff-breasted Babbler  is still around.