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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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Sunday, 26 February 2017

PELAGIC 3/30 - Little Tern

Are there Whiskered Tern amongst them?. I was able to shoot them from 80 ft away when the tides came in at about before noon at Kuala Kedah. Before that they were skimming the seashore 200m /500 ft out. They do have to rest and this give me an opportunity to shoot them. It was a colony of about 30-40 terns.

The Little Tern is a small, slender, migratory or partly migratory seabird. At less than 25 cm long it is small amongst tern species Pale grey upperparts contrast with the white chest, underbelly and the moderately long, deeply forked tail.

The Little Tern has a black cap and black outer wing-edges. Can be seen in flight. During breeding the bill (26 - 32 mm) and legs change from black to yellow, and a black wedge appears from the bill to the eye. During non-breeding, the Little Tern’s black cap shrinks to a black nape and its bill becomes black. No record of breeding here in Peninsula.

Their location and habitat distribution are :-
Ours is the Sinensis subspecies migrating from Eastern Asia, in Sept-November the Little Tern is found in Peninsula until Western Australia South Australia. It breeds in spring and summer along the entire east coast from Tasmania to northern Queensland, and is seen until May, with only occasional birds seen in winter months.

Their Habitat and ecology:-
Almost exclusively coastal, preferring sheltered environments; however may occur several kilometres from the sea in harbours, inlets and rivers (with occasional offshore islands or coral cay records). Nests in small, scattered colonies in low dunes or on sandy beaches just above high tide mark near estuary mouths or adjacent to coastal lakes and islands. The nest is a scrape in the sand, which may be lined with shell grit, seaweed or small pebbles.
Both parents incubate up to three well-camouflaged eggs for up to 22 days, aggressively defending the nest against intruders until the young fledge at 17 - 19 days. Often seen feeding in flocks, foraging for small fish, crustaceans, insects, annelids and molluscs by plunging in the shallow water of channels and estuaries, and in the surf on beaches, or skipping over the water surface with a swallow-like flight.

New sighting at Malim Nawar February 2017

Friday, 24 February 2017

DUCK 10/15 - Northern Pintail

 Another vagrant duck had landed in Perak's many mining ponds. It arrived in December 2016 and I as usual got the news very late in February 2017. Lucky me the duck stayed for me. The one seen was the Male. If it was the female I may have mistaken it as  a common duck. Its supposed to be gregarious when not in breeding so why one only seen here in Malim Nawar. There were plenty of whistling ducks here though. This will be my malaysian bird lifer no 470. Yippy!!! well effort must be taken to travel all corners of peninsula if you really want to get lifers. 

This dabbling duck breeds across northern areas of Eurasia south to about Poland and Mongolia, and in Canada Alaska and the midwest USA. Mainly migrating south of its breeding range during the northern hemisphere winter period Dec-March, reaching  the equator.

Among the most handsome of all ducks, the northern pintail (Anas acuta) is recognised by its slender build, long, elegant neck and elongated, spiky central tail feathers, a feature that gives rise to its common name. A graceful waterbird with long, narrow wings, during the breeding season the male northern pintail has a chocolate-brown head, white underparts and a white neck, with a thin, white line extending up the back of the neck, and a long, black tail bordered by yellowish-tan patches. The upper back and sides are grey, the lower back feathers are black with pale edges, and the rear of the wing is bronze-greenish, with a black band and white rear edge. The eyes are dark brown and the legs are grey. At other times of the year, the male northern pintail has duller, brownish plumage, with fine, dark streaks on the neck and broad, dark barring on the upperparts. The female northern pintail lacks the colourful plumage of the male, with largely brown upperparts, a tan crown and face, whitish underparts, and a bronzy-greenish band on the rear of the wing, as well as bluish-grey legs and a dull black bill. 

Walking or running with a slight waddle, the northern pintail is actually quite agile on land, but is most graceful and acrobatic in flight. It is able to achieve great speeds while flying, earning the species the nickname ‘greyhound of the air’ . The northern pintail is a rather quiet bird, but the male may emit a mellow, whistled “kwee” or “kwee-hee”, while the female produces a hoarse, muffled “quack”.

The Encounter

After seeing WaiMun's posting it was my turn to try my luck and with some guidance from my Ipoh sifu and MNS Perak folks the encounter begins......... 

I reached the site a bit late in the morning at almost 9.00am from KL. There was nobody there in the weekday. From the car I scan the pond for more than 10 mins but could not spot the duck in the pond. I could only see little grebe and some whistling ducks. I was worried  it may had  left the scene; then there were some movement at the opposite bank and walla my lifer came into view and I was exuberating excited. The duck was preening itself for quite sometime as I quickly took some record shoots just in case. It has yet to go into the pond and I quickly mounted my gears and  in I go to set up position at the right side of the pond. The MO is to stride crouching  the ground  and using the embankment to hide from its view. Almost halfway up the pondside I cannot go further as the duck was in view of me. I stop there  in sitting position so that I am less intimidating and waited. Less than a minute the duck started out into the pond as it notice my position. It did not come close but swim keeping a constant distance. Then a buffalo cowherd on its motobike passes by the pond and it waddle into the middle of the pond and  nearer toward me. What luck as I shoot away.  Even then it was still far out. All pictures here heavily crop as I was shooting at about 200 ft out to the pond. I left about half an hour of shooting it as not to harass it so much. The end of my encounter............

Digiscoping at 1200-1600mm (3 x my  400mm set up) will yield beautiful feather features.  Otherwise to shoot full frame detail photos you need to use a hide and set up as early as 6.30-7.00 am when its still dark and wait.  I really cannot afford the time. I totally forgot to bring  my broken Nikon P900 but usable if not I would have better pictures.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Avian sighting - Large Nightjar

This Nightjar was found  roosting  on the ground thanks to my good buddy Rob spotting it. Usually these nocturnal birds will stay very still  sleeping like frogmouth at a spot during the day and actively feed on the fly perching electrical lines or post overlooking lighted lamp where flying insects like moths congregate.

I believe they are territorial and can  stay at a habitat for a good time if the place is conducive &  not disturbed too much by  predators or birders.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Avian sighting - Green Iora

Taman TAR Ampang can be quite a happening place for uncommon birds sightings. One of them is the Green Iora. This tiny bird with its distinct  yellow eyering and dark greenish body is quite a beautiful bird to see.

It does response to your bird call and can be quite chatty.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Avian sighting - Spectacled Spiderhunter

The Spectacled Spiderhunter was seen feeding on a  macaranga tree in Shah Alam amongst the common bulbuls and asian glossy starling. The dry season is already here as many trees will be expected to be blooming and fruiting in the hot sun. So fellow birders do go out to try your luck..................

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Avian sighting - Long-tailed Parakeet in the month of February 2017

The Long-tailed Parakeet male with its long tail streamer stretches a full length of its body is a colorful bird. Tokki and gang was there to shoot it but the golden fronted leafbird  was elusive. Probably have moved on.

This is my first time shooting this beautiful bird at distance of 25-35 feet. Most of my earlier encounter was in the higher clearstorey beyond 50 ft.


Below is the female stretching its wing. It has a shorter tail streamer and green nape. These birds are gregarious play eat and fly together...................

Monday, 6 February 2017

Avian sighting - Pied Fantail

This is the common Pied Fantail found almost anywhere  from suburban gardens to open ground. Fantails are quite a difficult bird to shot because they are quite flighty and hyperactive. But not this time in Ipoh as a couple of pairs of them were feasting on insects  over some left over oil palm harvest. I just shot from my car............... 

Thursday, 2 February 2017

DUCK 9/15 - Eurasian Wigeon

This is another vagrant bird to Malaysia. Eurasian wigeons breed from Iceland, the British Isles, and Scandinavia east to eastern Siberia and Kamchatka, and south to northern Europe, central Russia and northern China. The majority of Eurasian Wigeons winter from Iceland, the British Isles, northern Europe, southern Russia and Japan south to the eastern Atlantic islands, Africa, Arabia, India, the Malay Peninsula, southern China, Formosa, and the Philippines.

The above photo taken in Arashiyama  Kyoto. A pair of the Wigeon leading another pair of Coot behind. Already in the late evening I did not take the effort to get better pictures did not know then it was malaysian lifer ....sign 

 Later got some more photos in Osaka using my  XF16-55mm for crying out loud as I left my telezoom at my guesthouse. There were many pairs around the moat of Osaka Castle. All heavily crop photos taken at a distance of 30 ft.

New sighting in 10 Jan 2020 of a Eurasian Wigeon at Pulau Burung Penang