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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, 31 December 2018

Avian Behaviour - Crow harrassing Greater Spotted Eagle

I was on holiday with my In-laws from Sabah in Melaka on 26.12.18. I took the early morning  hours to bird and test out my P1000.

Chance on this regular  winter visitor which was perched on a low lying tree in the midde of the padi field. It was about 500 ft or so from the track. There was no way for me to get closer.  All this photos are cropped at least 50% from the max out  zoom range of the Coolpix P1000. I have to do post editting to enhance the the hazy and wash up pictures though.
It is common whenever there are predator birds other birds will gang together to confront them especially tiny owlet. 
There were several crows harrassing the raptor The time was about 10am and there is not much breeze to entice the GSE to take flight. After about 10 minutes it decide to land on the thick undergrowth below and the  crow also left the scene satisfied that the raptor is no longer a threat I guess............

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Avian Field Report November/December 2018 - Batang Kali Melaka

In the month of November I reciprocate Den request to go to  Melaka  to look for waders migrants. It took us about 2 hours to reach our destination going thru horrendous traffic junctions after exiting Alor Gajah. First thing  to do is to have our Timsum breakfast at YauHauFok. By the time we started birding it was already 9 am.

The highlight is the sighting of a few Long-tailed Shrike  and  plenty of Brown Shikes (5:1 ratio)  at Batang Kali's  padi field.  The month saw the fields being ploughed for planting of padi. My target bird of the Watercock and Reed Warblers was again not met until my second solo trip in December as posted. The site condition was not right then

The Siberian Stonechat (female)  was sighted in the open field 

Dennis got a lifer at least. After getting his Siberian Stonechat we adjourned for Baba Nyonya lunch at Charlie Cafe which is closeby Batang Tiga at the fringe of town.

In the first week of  December I went again to BT in the hope of seeing the Glossy Ibis. Apparently I got the wrong info. There I met Zakir and friend. Below are the many birds that were sighted. Most of the field have been sowed in December. I was lucky to finally got my Watercock in the open at the far end belukar at the northern exit. The trip was to test out my new Coolpix P1000 Superzoom

3 black drongoes wh\ere sighted  at a pond and dumpsite sailing for flying insects on my second trip

They are visiting bird to Peninsula
Oriental Reedwarbler is a local resident bird

My lifer 2018

Comparing the size of the moorhen and the swamphen

A threesome of Bluetailed make a beautiful composition . Using my newly acquired Nikon P1000 

The red collared is a feral bird. First time encounter down south

Pond heron are easy shoot here.  Hoping for a Black bittern

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Pitta 7/10 - Rusty-naped Pitta ( lifer 517)

The Rusty-naped Pitta are montane bird. Its 2 syllable "jhio wook" call can be heard most of the time in Gunung Brincang Pahang,  Awana Genting and Fraser's Hill but seldom seen because of its secretive and sedentary character in the undergrowth of ravine and stream area. 

When news that a bird was appearing frequently in FH it was time to try my luck. To avoid the crowd I took a weekday off to get a spot at the stakeout. Reaching the post a foursome of Singaporean were there already ....  whom I know aka Benson and Paul. Luckily there is one slot left for me to squeeze in my slender tall hide amongst theirs at the wee morning and then  to wait out for daylight. I would also like to thank fellow Fuji birder Hafiz for his update. I must say my batch of fellow birders were really gentlemen as once we manage to get some very good showing coming to 10 am we left the post for the next group of Johorean and Henry Goh and friend to go for their session. That should be the way to go brothers..... 

In the low light condition I was shooting at 1/10-15 s on auto ISO. My Fuji XT-2 was struggling to focus with little  contrast  in the dark. Only after 9.30am I managed some better focussed shots in one session but barely manageable as focus hunting was  still an issue. It was maybe because of the pale color and low contrast feathers of the bird....sign. The other guys have no issue  with their  Canon dSLR. They were shooting continuously in a loud clicking manner which really spooked the bird which came near to 30-35 ft of our hides.

The Rusty-naped is a  large and plumbeous  Pitta of about  23–25 cm; 117–124 g. Male has rufous crown and nape, side of head paler rufous to buffish with a blackish postocular stripe; upperparts and tail dull dark green. This one I shot looks like the male bird. The female have similar colors but duller and brown head with faint dark scaly feathers to its throat and breast.

It feed on insects, grubs, slugs, small snails and worms; It can also seen foraging among kitchen waste. Forages among leaf litter, turning over dead leaves. Breeding season is between Feb- May.

And so my mega lifer for the year 2018 would be this most wanted Pitta no 7 of Malaysia. Now is to wait for news of the Giant Pitta which Dennis and I missed it by a week in Sepilok Sabah in September 2018.
A family of  Hill Partridge were the first birds to visit the post as we were patiently waiting for the Pitta to appear. I wonder whether it the same group from Richmond's
The chick was protected by the adults where ever it go. 

Buff-breasted Babbler was very skittish popping out for short skirmishes

Monday, 10 December 2018

Waterbird 50/60 - Watercock (lifer 516) ( female breeding plummage)

After birdng for 12 years this is my first time I got to shoot my elusive Watercock. Many of my fellow birders have got it but not me ...really paiseh.  Many times we  spooked the bird and it just flew off  into the padi field or undergrowth nearest to it.

The best way to shoot this rail is from your vehicle. With my newly acquired Nikon P1000 with its 3000mm range I manage to shoot it in half frame  crop as shown from a distance of 60-70m away opposite a padi field. Thought the details are soft it is good enough for me. 

The female Watercock is more frequently seen than the beautiful striking male in black coat and a red helmeted crested forehead. It is rather big bird of about 1.3ft with long legs and toes like Jacanas. These birds probe with their bill in mud or shallow water, also picking up food by sight. 

They mainly eat mollusc insects and small fish and seeds They forage on the around. Watercock are quite secretive, but are sometimes seen out in the open. They are noisy birds, especially at dawn and dusk, with a loud, gulping call.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

KINGFISHER 3/13 - Stork-billed Kingfisher

Another new KF for my collection.This one caught at the FRIM Kepong wetland lake. Humongous of a  KF upto 37cm that is more than a feet. It's red bill is the dominating of them all. Found mainly at seashore and mudflats but also open swampy and wide river banks. Its call is a monotonous  toad-like croak unlike the chattery white-throated.

Updated with two new photos shot at a closed range of 40 ft at Malim Nawar 12.18. This is the peninsula subspecie with a darker head compared to the Bornean
These are my best photos so far of this bird. Shot with the Fuji XT2 using  beanbag from the car window ledge.