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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, 23 December 2019

Avian Migrant December 2019 - Striated Swallow and Sand Martin

Both birds are winter visitor to Peninsula Malaysia. In the month of December they have reached Muar side at Sg Balang. We saw only a pair of Sand Martins at the open padi field amongst the Pacific. They are usually active in the wee morning or dusk ; sallying for insects. 

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Avian sighting December 2019 - Little Bronze Cuckoo Ipoh

After the trip to Penang I return to my hometown. In my suburb open  park there is a pair of resident Bronze Cuckoo that I often hear them call out in the morning. So just take out out my gear and play it call and as usual they will response and drop by for you to shoot but only for one session though.

In term of feature and color its red eyering is prominently its peculiarity. You may mistaken the  female Violet cuckoo from the LBC  without the eye-ring. So be very sure if not you may lose a lifer. I myself have yet to see female VC.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Cuckoo 14/15 - Asian Emerald Cuckoo (lifer 528)

 Yes Finally the cuckoo is in the basket!!! It was amazing find in Penang. I thought it will not stay long but when Den and ZF got it during the day before; I change plan to give it a try on the weekend with my family in tow. Earlier I was to stop at Langkap to catch Zhong's finds.

Upon arrival at 8.30am many people were already patiently waiting for its appearance. Normally it lands high up in a particularly tree (apparently there were hairy caterpillars festing -  Tussock moths caterpillars) next to a stream. First to get it as usual is Zhong and I was already hopeful its still around. Then after half an hour of waiting patiently one of the fellow birder shouted across the stream that the bird is there. There were hysteria rush to the spot . Can you imagine the excitement when 15 of us running  with the youngest one  a 11 year ole  with her P900 I think.

Took off my sandal to cross the sandy stream as it was the shortest route to be one of the first on the spot whilst the others took the bridge. I was ecstatic to sight the bird high up a bamboo outcrop almost vertically for the first time in my life. As usual record shots were taken as proof of lifer no matter how high.

So it was a merry chase around the open ground for a good 15-30 minutes as the guys shoot to their heart content. It did come down as low as 20 ft where many of us got the above shots. Within an hour of the encounter. I left the vicinity to go makan-makan and visiting Penang with my family. The nearest stop was Pulau Tikus market for their street food and local delicacies.

This cuckoo was previous reported seen by Dr Amar in Tambun who never share his finding about 2 years back I think. This fellow have his own reason and bird ethic for not sharing or divulge its locale......... so do not vilify him..............For my lifer : thanks Capt  for your tip off. 

They breed in Himalaya  Myammar  Northen Thailand till China but not in Malaysia. If there is a pair I believe we may see a brood  in Penang liao. Cuckoo is a brood parasite, its been recorded  the females lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, such as the crimson sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja) and the little spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra). They usually found at forest fringes amongst fruiting orchards or garden suburbs where there is plenty of caterpillars. During our encounter here it was seen sallying for flying insects.

The Asian emerald cuckoo mainly forages in the upper levels of the canopy where it feeds on insects and other small
invertebrates, including ants, caterpillars and bugs. 

The Asian emerald cuckoo grows to a length of about 7 inches. The adult male has an iridescent dark green head, upper parts and upper breast, a white lower breast and a green barred belly. Bare skin round the eye is orange and the beak is orange/yellow tipped with black. The adult female has coppery-green upper parts, rusty brown crown and nape and green-barred underparts. Both sexes show a white band on the underwing when in flight. The underparts of the juvenile male lack the white lower breast and are more heavily barred. The voice is a “chweek” uttered while flying, and various whistled twitters.

The crowd of birders from near and far were there chasing this tiny little bird. The cuckoo  do not looked stressed by the attention given by us birders  while it was  hunting for flying insects.

 On Sunday after;  it was reported that a male cuckoo also showed up and guess who was there......Zhong;  he really got the bird luck and perseverance  Never in my mind that there is a pair there, I think it is not too late for other birders  to try out their luck to see this wonderful bird in Malaysia.


UPDATE: 20.12.19 The male cuckoo is still around PBG This photo courtesy from my good buddy Alan T taken last weekend. As I said the birds are  there for awhile. So guys do take the effort to shoot if you have not chalkup this lifer.

 I hope they stay away from the Scops Owl which was also seen there

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Avian Sighting in December 2019 - Malayan Peacock Pheasant (Immature Male)

I was the lone birder in  Krau on the first weekend of December. Upon arrival at the port in the wee morning I saw a shadowy ground bird scuttering away.  Then almost immediately its loud squeaking call took me by surprise as I tried to id it.  Later at about minutes to 8.00am it turn up again to my delight. Then the lighting was still low as I boost up the ISO to 3200-6400 to get a 1/15s shutter speed to capture these shots. Though not a lifer it is a first-time appearance here .

Later scrutinizing the bird photos I notice it has a metal ring tag like a bird released like in TN Kuala Tahan. So I think it is the doing of Perhilitan. No wonder it is a bit tame but cautious of my present On that day it came up twice only for me to shoot. Most of the time its behind foliage. Sadly it is alone without a female partner.

Avian video December 2019 - Eyebrowed Thrush

Here is a video of the Eyebrowed thrush that i encounter in Genting Highland Pahang. Enjoy. It was fattening up before continuing its journey further south and the lowland forest of peninsula Malaysia.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Avian they are Not in December 2019 - Yellow-throated Marten

In Genting Highland Dennis,  Leong and gang bump into a family of 3 Marten crossing the road. We were still in the car when I shouted Civet Cat. Den replied Ferret la By the time we were out from the car they were long gone. Luckily the juvenile did not dare to cross and expecting its parent escort. About a minute wait the male did return to the other side and both suddenly rush back over to our signing ............missed chance. This was my better shot of the Juvi. 

Description: The yellow-throated marten is also known as the kharza, and is the largest marten in the Old World, with the tail making up more than half its length. Its fur is brightly colored, consisting of a unique blend of black, white, golden-yellow and brown.mIt is a omnivore whose sources of food range from fruit and nectar to small deer. The yellow-throated marten is a fearless animal with few natural predators, because of its powerful build, its bright coloration and unpleasant odor. It shows little fear of humans or dogs, and is easily tamed.

My other consolation was the migrant Common Buzzard in the misty condition there. This was the best that I can get before it flew away.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Avian Sighting December 2019 - Eyebrowed Thrush in close quarters

 When news came around about migrant thrushes were actively sighted in   Genting Highland; I was up late and reluctantly took the one hour journey  to try my luck to catch any new lifer. I did not expect any birds so late in the morning at 8.30am. It was a surprise that an Eyebrowed Thrush was foraging on the ground. It was sharing the port with the Niltavas and another migrant pair of Siberian Thrush.

I think Thrushes prefer the misty and cool montane forest when they visit us. They do stay in lowland forests depending on whether there is ample grub around. Thrushes also take fruits where ever the find on their passage. Then you can expect that they will stay longer at the locale to fatten up/

The EBT is the aggressor bird here; whenever the other birds come out it will harass and chase them away. This was not I expected as usually winter visitors are the timid kind. Even the resident Niltavas was not spared except the larger Laughingthrush.

I was glad to get some better close up shots though hampered by the low light & misty condition. So you can see them  at Bukit Tinggi and now here. Hope it will stay long for you guys to tick this lifer.

Next I would really like to catch the Scaly or Dusky Thrush (which I have shot in Busan ) one of these days........

The Scaly can be overlooked as a female Siberian so shoot first and check later.

The guy has a rather rounded body as the Siberian below. I guess  the foraging of grubs is aplenty here during the month of December.

Later I heard news there are a family EBT of 3 sighted at Pak Long port feeding on moths and insect on the ground. So this year its a record of  sightings  in Ulu Kali now.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Avian Photo Gear - Olympus newest Telephoto Zoom lenses 2020-2021

Olympus  had  announced their  Lenses roadmap  comprising of 2 super-telezoom 400mm which will give joy to my many Oly birding friends for upgrade to get better range of 800mm and upto 1000mm with its built-in TC. Cost wise I am predicting in the range of RM15,000-20,000. The extra range is important to obtain decent bird's details for shooting at a distance of 50-60 ft which I always emphasise as the normal birding range for small passerine. Two specs are as below:-
  1. ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS super-telephoto zoom lens and
  2. ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO lens super-telephoto zoom lens.

So Oly birders should be very happy to hear of this news .....BUT Fuji birders are stucked with the ole XF100-400 or  600mm cropped factor. WTFlower!!!!! Its coming to  5 years now with no better lens. Even  Sony have moved on faster with their FE 200-600mm G prosumer telephoto lense.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Avian Sighting December 2019 - Grey-rumped Treeswift

Last weekend & the days before; the fratenity of Klang Valley birders; 20 of us  were  present  to shoot these beautiful birds in the suburb of Melawati. It was an opportunity not to be missed. For one it was just 15 minutes from my house and second I have yet to get to shoot it at close distance of 30-40 ft high and thirdly there were a dozen of them sallying about and perched in the open trees.

It was a fantastic camaraderie outing and to meet my fellow acquaintance like Suhaimi, Made, Zhong  Jo & Lisa and many others BnC members there. Even sifu Tee was there.

 Lighting was good - overcast but the birds were against the white of the sky. So everyone was hoping that one of them will perch lower that morning. At about 10.30 am this male did came lower and with the background foliage I manage some better pictures. I left the gang thereafter as I need to fetch my wifey from KLIA.

So guys if you really have not shoot them in close quarters like me you better go. They should be around during the cool & wet period there during the month of December 2019.

The female Treeswift  is much plainer without the chestnut ear covert. There was supposed to be a juvenile with spotted feathers which I did not manage to spot that day. some other time then.

There was some distraction shooting of a pair of Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker which drop by out of a sudden that got many of us by surprise. Those who wanted this lifer were chasing it up and down the road. It was intermission of 20 minutes while those of us stayed put but the woodie turn around back to the original spot I was standing. Well just shoot again lor !!! It was FUN. The local residents who were on their morning walk and cyclist were all so curious what is happening there with our big telelenses as they took photo of us pulak lol.

Avian Sighting November 2019 - Thick-billed Green Pigeon

A fig tree was bearing fruits at Sg Congkak in late October. A couple of Thick-billed were visiting regularly to feast on the fruits in the early session before 9.30am. They came around to the tree only a few times and after Golden whiskered Barbet arrives on the scene they left for good.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Avian Sighting November 2019 - Jambu Fruit Dove

Jambu Fruit-dove makes regular appearance here in Bukit Tinggi Pahang whenever the Sunda fig trees are fruiting.

However  to see it you must be vigilant with a bit of bird luck as they come out irregularly or maybe its there but very discreet. One day its there and the next  day it may not come out. Nowadays the bird have appeared in many places whenever there is fruiting trees whether in Sg Congkak, Shah Alam, TRA and the list goes on. Somehow they know the season to visit by instinct.

This is the male speciment with its pink red head and orange beak. It is one shy bird and it is always weary of humankind.