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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 April 2021 my countdown of lifers photograph has reached
547/688 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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Saturday, 12 June 2021

Avian Gear Review April 2021 - Viltrox Mount Adapter EF-FX2 M2 - Rating 2.5stars

 My fuji XT-2 apparently YL have to send down to Singapore for service. Malaysia no longer have the facility. WTF. Since I cannot wait any longer I bought myself an adapter/converter to use my old faithful EF400mm F4 DO lens on my new Olympus OMD-1 MarkIII. As I cannot afford the crazy price of the Metabones (RM2,500), I opt for the second-best the Viltrox M2 at a price of RM500. 

The focus distance is reduced by a multiple of 0.71 when my lens is mounted so my EF400mm becomes 380mm and enhances to F2.8. So if I need a better distance I have to invest in a teleconverter 1.4 

The Pied Fantail shot at 25-30ft was rather soft and need some post sharpening and enhancement. Even then no clear feathers to see.

So far in the real world bird photography using the Viltrox adapter, my general review of the combination of my above set up is a 2.5/5  stars rating.  I did not expect so poor resolution from the combination. Contrast was not there. Colors was just lame.  Focusing speed was not tact fast enough with plenty of hunting when shooting in low light condition.

Even stepping down to F8 or F9 I still cannot get much resolution out of my OMD-1 mark III. ISO was kept low of Asa800. So my rating is a poor rating for the moment until I do further test with other lenses. 

Meanwhile WK Liew have more success with his EF 500mmf4 on his Fuji X-T4 using a Fringer adapter. Maybe it is Olympus smaller sensor or my DO lens is not sharp enuf ...... I got to try out his lens to make sure I am wrong.

As a comparison my XF100-400 with my XE2 body (16mp sensor) fair even much better as shown below in term of feather details. Jpeg without post processing. 

Fuji XF100-400mm with XE-2 body.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Avian Nesting April 2021 - White-breasted Woodswallow

I was surprise to see a nest being constructed on the metal bracing of a electrical post in the open rather than in a tree. It will collect fibrous husk from the nearby coconut tree besides roots and twigs to make its nest.

Photos taken with Olympus OMD1 mark iii using a EF 400mm DO lens and Viltrox adapter. Shooting in good morning lighting but even stepping down to f7.1/8 I still cannot get much better resolution. I definately have to abandon the idea of the setup and return to a Canon body.


Sunday, 2 May 2021

Avian Photo Gear - Rumor has it Fuji XF 150-600mm lens is coming

 Well fuji has announced that other Lens makers like Tamron and Sigma can now get propriety license to make lenses for Fuji. How soon I don't know but I think soon. I hope Sigma & Tamron would allow those existing owners to bring in their lens in Canon or Nikon mount for conversion to Fuji EF mount.

Rumors have it that Fuji is finally coming out with a new Bigmama. This is good news for birders. if it is priced right and affordable below RM12,000 or less. I will definitely get one if so. I will be waiting for it in 2022! To be lightweight it has to be in f5.6-6.3 similar to Sigma  unit. I hope Sigma & Tamron would allows those exisitng owners to bring in their lens in Canon or Nikon mount  for conversion to Fuji EF mount.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Waterbird - Pond Heron 3/3 - Indian Pond Heron (Lifer 547)

Satisfying moment in the month of April 2021 as I finally close the chapter on Pond-heron of peninsula Malaysia as the final bird is now in hand. Thank Sian.

The birds are there to see whether in Muar Johor,  Melaka or Sekinchan Selangor its a matter of the going out to look for it. The month of April many pond herons will molt to their  breeding plummage. When they are breeding their legs will turn bright red. Some are late in changing their feathers colors like the one pictured below. I am almost sure it is an Indian pond heron too

Indian Pond Heron are visitors from India subcontinent Sri Lanka and Burma side. Adults in breeding plumage have a dark reddish-brown back that contrasts with a yellowish head, neck, and breast. In non-breeding plumage, they are virtually indistinguishable from non-breeding Chinese Pond-Heron or Javan for that matter. In-flight, adults appear surprisingly white due to their strikingly white wings, underparts, and tail. Although typically solitary, large numbers often gather where food is plentiful. 

These photos were shot with my Nikon P1000 at 3000mm focal distance at a range of 250 ft away in the middle of the padi field. Pictures are rather soft with plenty of sharpening required. During the padi planting season you can  only drive along the track and scan the water canals and walk bunds for the birds. Best to shoot from your car.

Their diet comprises mainly of frogs fish crustaceans and insects depending on the season. During my encounter it was on a dry bund  and has the uncanny sense to pluck out grubs from the grassy muddy ground. This happen in the morning. By 10 am it disappeared into the padi field.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Pelagic 8/30 TERN - Little Tern ( Lifer 546) April 2021

Terns often roost or stay inland or near coastal lines of marshland and manmade waterscapes like an abandoned fish ponds and tin mining ponds. 

It was a single bird together with a lonely Whiskered. I guess many of them have started to fly home.   The features of a dark eye mask; yellow beak with a black tip and its orange legs spells it has now changed to its breeding plumage with a white forehead. It's considered small at 25cm long but actually the Whiskered's size.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Reed Warbler 2/3 April 2021 - Black-browed Reed Warbler (lifer 545)

Shot in 1/800s still cannot freeze the bird in BIF

This one of the migrant Reed Warblers you can see in peninsula  Malaysia. For the past 10 years I have tried looking for it umpteen times in Malim Nawar and Langkap but in vain. Only this year I was lucky  to tick this lifer thanks to Sarav's tip off of its location. The bird is around still in the month of April to my surprise. 
The resident Oriental Reed Warbler
The resident Reed Warbler is the Oriental Reed Warbler. Photo above.

Black-browed is the common visitor

This fellow is quite friendly here as it fly in and out from the undergrowth shrubs and at the pond cattails reeds. Whenever its big cousin is there it will not come out. This is because the Oriental is bigger and stoutly body built - about 20cm as compared to the Black-browed coming in at less than 15cm or 6 inches. 

The Black-browed have a rather uniform black crown stripe & prominent white supercilium whilst its eye stripe is inconspicuously pale. Its beak is short and sharp.

The other migrant Reed Warbler you can see in Malaysia is the Manchurian which looks very similar to the Black Browed but with longer beak and more stout in size.

Meanwhile the Javan PH and Rusty-rumped Warbler have left the port for home I guess . Bon Voyage see you next year.....

Most of the time it will sulk behind the undergrowth like this. you must be ready for a shot when it come out in the open 

These photos were taken with a Olympus OMD-1 mark III & EF400mm DO f4 telephoto lens. I was shooting from a distance of 30-40 ft ISO200 1/800s f4-5.6 in clear sunning condition. As you can see I did not manage good resolution but rather flat details on the micro43 sensor. Nevertheless the photos are just good enough for ID and blogging. 

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Minivet 4/4 - Scarlet Minivet (lifer 545)


I was checking on my minivet series for reference and found that my Scarlet posting had gone missing even from my archive of lifers. So after consultation with LeeFung of regular sighting of a family of post-nesting minivets in Taman TAR I was quick to go last weekend. The last I sighted the bird was in Sg Perdik and Sg Congkak Hulu Langat.  

The worn out male in its striking red and black coat. Its rump has a bald patch.

Scarlet Minivets are usually seen in lowland forest fringe and are familiar with human presence. They look similar to the Fiery which are more highland birds circa 500m (nearest to see is Awana). The Scarlet is the largest minivet you can find in Malaysia coming at 21cm /8 inches ie they have a longer tails.  Its red wing patch is clearly isolated ie its tertial and primary that what the book says but I don't see the difference le. 

Juvenile Female with its scaly grey crown

Thank you again the ambassadress of TAR for the guidance and Joe for the company to get some new collection of this bird so much nearer from my residence some more. In Borneo side you can get the rare Rosy and the other vagrant Swinhoe's minivet aka Brown-rumped.

These photos were shot with my EF 400mm f4  L DO lens mounted to my new Olympus OMD-1 Mark III with Viltrox adapter M2. Sorry to say the setup did not yield many useable photos. Of the 500 odd pictures taken; only less than 15 photos can be used. All the pictures need much post-sharpening even full-frame shots. Any capture of passerine birds high up in the canopy say50-60 feet aways were soft without details. Maybe the setup needs tuning Vitrox please help!!!!.