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MikeBirder - Malaysian Birds

Hi

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 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 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.

ALL PHOTOS IN THIS BLOG ARE COPYRIGHT OF MIKEBIRDER. KINDLY SEEK PERMISSION FROM THE OWNER IF YOU want to use them for commercial purposes.

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Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Avian Bird Trip Jan 2020 - SiemReap Cambodia in search of Malaysian lifers (Part2)


                                                  
A continuation from Part1 we reach our fourth destination before lunch after checking in and lunch we were

 Tmatboey Lodge is solar powered. Luckily January the nights are cooling and the table fan is sufficed. The meals I must say were rated 3star. 








Day 3 - saw us up at 6.00am and ready to try the Giant Ibis again. At 6.15 am we move out to the hide again for the waterhole during the dry season of January. By 7.00 am we were already set up to shoot.  We stayed for a good 3 hours plus but our target bird did not show up. Maybe the construction of the new hide specially for us may have frightened it off or the open burning yesterday have disturbed the surrounding. However, it was no lost cause as we have some surprise catch.  First was the Taiga Flycatcher which responded to my call from yesterday. 


This time it came closer to 30ft out and everyone managed good pictures. Next came another Malaysian lifer the 2 barred Warbler. The surprise keeps coming when  I spotted a thrush which was later id as the Japanese thrush (Lifer no 6). I only managed record shots at a distance 80 ft at the only open patch. The best came last was the Fujian  Niltava which pop out at close quarters of 30 ft in the open perch on a tall mimosa stalk. 


Fujian Niltava



Green Bee-eater
Pied Bushchat

Rufous-winged Buzzard


We call  it a day after shooting a violet cuckoo at a distance  barren tree as the port was getting warm and birdlife dwindle to nought. Before we return to our chalet we have a chance to see a nesting of White-shouldered Ibis (lifer 7).
Rufous Treepie

For the above spend usd201 for chalet 18 usd per head/nite and meals for 2day which include 2 to 3 dishes; local community guides at Usd 10 x 4 pax. 

Our last lunch meal back at the chalet I must say is surprising palatable though on the sweet side. 



Common Hoopoe should be familiar by all

Owlet 


Tiaga Fc
Rufous fc







At about 1.30pm we move on to our last destination which our driver says is a 5 hours bumpy and slow journey by car thru a mix of tar road, laterite and earth terrain. The guys in  the back have mixed feeling and dreaded the journey.  Along the way we saw at least 4 Indochinese Rollers and a Barn Owl perch on the power line and the later on a tree stump. 

We arrived at Changkran Roy Eco tourism port by 5pm. A sumptuous dinner under  battery lighting was a surprise with plenty of veggie which I like. 


After dinner we tried to call out the resident Blyth's fm but again was unsuccessful. We only hear it calling from the dense jungle fringe. After an hour or so we adjourned back to camp to sleep early as tomorrow  it will be armchair birding on a makeshift hide fronting a few water holes and feeding ground. Here they use termite and rice as their lure. The hide record was 40 diiferent bird species appearance. We would be happy to get 15 species. Our tent accommodation were spartan and untreated water is limited. So the guys skipped their bath nor brush their teeth walao.


Siberian Blue





















Day 4 we begin our birding at 6.30am. At the hide we  cater to about 6-7 pax. We have chicken porridge breakfast on special request. At dawn in dim lighting; the first bird that arrive is the resident Barred bellied Pitta and followed by a female SBR. Later a male SBR did  a cameo. The other birds are as shown. All in all we managed less than 10 species. After early lunch we return to the hide to try once more. By 1 pm we call it quits to return to SiemReap and on the way to get the Asian Golden Baya Weaver. For today excursion the cost was 121 usd. 




Day 5 Sun our last morning for birding. We check out at 7am and took the morning to get the Great Myna at nearby padi fields  in Siem Reap. There were about 100 birds that congregation at some acasia casicapa trees. We manage some record shots as the mynas were skittish and do not let us come near. The nearest was about 150 ft. Then we saw a dusky warbler and a pair of Tiaga fc hunting at some undergrowth. Looks like it quite common migrant here. By 10 am we do a excursion to a local market to experience the ambient with Nara our guide in tow. After an hour we left for the airport to take our flight home.
















It was tiring bird trip over long distance and the longest journey was 4 hours out  All in all the ground cost came out to about  Usd 900  excluding tips and bird guide fees and air tickets. The better time to catch the Giant Ibis and Sarus Crane is in March till May when the grass land are really dry and the birds comes to feed at the limited water holes.

In conclusion for this trip birding in SiemReap spell trouble for yourself if have heavy Dslr- lens gear as there will a lot of walking. Shooting birds in the open ground  was suited for digiscoping and 1200-2000mm reach. Anything lower you will be getting record shots only.
Birding in Cambodia is more to Bird-watching.

Until the next time overseas trip in search of Malaysia lifers.......Borneo & Thailand is calling. Appreciation goes to Dennis for the organising the trip and the good company of  

Noreen & Richard.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Avian Photo Gear - Migrating to Olympus from Fuji

Should I be changing to the Olympus  OMD system when their 150-400mm lens is available? That is the question in my mind now. Olympus though have a smaller 2x crop factor sensor have surpassed Fuji in term of features and reach of 800-1000mm. IQ from both the cameras are in par from my perspective in favor of Olympus ............... contemplating the temptation to switch.


Extract from NewCamera

Fuji X-T4 vs. Fuji X-T3

Lens MountFUJIFILM X4FUJIFILM X3
Camera FormatAPS-C (1.5x Crop Factor)APS-C (1.5x Crop Factor)
PixelsEffective: 26.1 MegapixelEffective: 26.1 Megapixel
Maximum Resolution6240 x 41606240 x 4160
Aspect Ratio1:1, 3:2, 16:91:1, 3:2, 16:9
Sensor TypeCMOSCMOS
Sensor Size23.5 x 15.6 mm23.5 x 15.6 mm
Image File FormatJPEG, Raw, TIFFJPEG, Raw
Bit Depth16-Bit14-Bit
Image StabilizationSensor-Shift, 5-AxisNone

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

BUSHCHAT 1/2 - Pied Bushchat (Lifer 539)


Though I have seen any report of sighting recently of this bird in Malaysia ; it is recorded in Birdlist of Malaysia as a vagrant bird. There is some read by Morten Strange that it was sighted in Borneo side and Brunei long time ago.

It is an open country bird and will perched on shrubs sallying for insect and grub like Stonechat. The Male bird is in dark coat is very easy to identify while the Female is in brown coat almost look like Stonechat without a darker head.
It is open country bird visiting 







Monday, 17 February 2020

DUCK 11/15 January 2020 - Spot-billed Duck (lifer 538)


I am never good in BIF shooting. Maybe its my Fuji XT-2; which is never meant to be for shooting birds in flight. In Ang Trapeang Thom most of the time you be shooting from the hip and from the sampan. Richard's OMD 1-X should do better on that day but I cannot say about Den's   EF500mm heavy bazooka. I guess he can only watch. Sad. We agreed that bird watching or digiscoping is more suited in Siem Reap as the birds are way too far from us.

Well a lifer is a lifer no matter how blur it is for me. My camera I think have some metering issue Even when I was shooting at 1/2000-4000. the pictures are not good in exposure and blur. Damn I really need to save up to convert to OLYMPUS........... 

Thursday, 13 February 2020

WARBLER 11/15 January 2020 - Lanceolated Warbler (lifer 537)

The Lanceolated Warbler is a rare migrant to Malaysia. Its a matter of you going out to grasslands and open fields with thorny shrub and bushy undergrowth. Warblers are usually skittish and sulking. You may have to call it out as they usually curiously expose themselves if you are lucky............


The latest record sighting of this bird was by my fellow perak birder Zhong in Langkap padi fields  in Dec 2019




Sunday, 9 February 2020

FLYCATCHER 29/30 Jan2020 - Taiga Flycatcher (Lifer 536)

The last time it visited us in Peninsula was in Air Hitam Dalam Seberang Perai. It stayed for a good period of 8 weeks or so. I missed the chance to shoot it then as it is a bit way off and far from KL. By the time I was back in Alor Setar for a family occasion the bird was already missing.




Later back in SiemReap I manage to be acquianted with another  pair at close distance of 20 ft. It appears to be quite common here.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

THRUSH 11/13 Jan 2020 - Japanese Thrush (Lifer 535)




I got my lifer in SiemReap in January 2020 while on a birding excursion with Den & Richard. I was vigilant at the hide  as I spotted movement on the ground at the watershed while waiting for the rarest of bird -Giant Ibis. Nevertheless it was a better find as its a recorded Malaysian Vagrant.

Now is  to wait  for the Scaly another Vagrant bird to Malaysia and to look out for Chestnut-capped  a Malaysian resident...................