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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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Wednesday, 29 January 2020

WADER 59/60 Jan 2020 - Bronze-winged Jacana (Lifer 532)

The Bronze-winged Jacana is mostly sighted in the northern part of Peninsula in Chuping Perlis side. It is a yearly ritual there. There is also record of nesting at the reservoir  and chicks were seen together with the parents birds.


This is how far the bird is....

As for my find I have to travel to SiemReap to shoot it. It is more common to see in Thailand wetlands. Over here the birds are skittish and stay afar from humans. Luckily I got my P1000 came in handy in getting a record shot of my next lifer of the year which my Fuji XF100-400mm failed because of the distance of the bird across the pond.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

WADER 58/60 / Stork Jan 2020 - Woolly-necked Stork (Lifer 531)

Woolly-necked or White-necked are widespread tropical species which breeds in Africa, and also in Asia from India to Indonesia. It is a resident breeder in wetlands with trees. The large stick nest is built in a forest tree, and 2-5 eggs form the typical clutch. This stork is usually silent, but indulges in mutual bill-clattering when adults meet at the nest.
The Woolly-necked Stork is a broad winged soaring bird, which relies on moving between thermals of hot air for sustained long distance flight. Like all storks, it flies with its neck outstretched.
The Woolly-necked Stork is a large bird, typically 85cm tall. It is all black except for the woolly white neck and white lower belly. The upperparts are glossed dark green, and the breast and belly have a purple hue. Juvenile birds are duller versions of the adult.

This is another first I think for Peninsula Malaysia which recorded a lone vagrant landed and sighted together with a bunch of Openbills at Sg Balang side. It was a Mega lifer for a few birders who chance on the bird then. It did not stay long and had gone astray with the Openbills. I did make several journeys down but it did not return. 

Usually, it will roost on treetop or high building. It most probably feeds on riverbanks for now  until the padi fields are planted and wet  and there are more preys of fish, frogs and large insects. It would be natural to chance of it again in March-April on its return leg....maybe in Malim Nawar and Seberang Prai.


As for my catch it was in Cambodia when our Guide saw it while driving along the track to T . With our camera ready

I was already shooting from the car before we alighted from our 4x4 to shoot handheld. The Olympus with 1200mm reach  and IS 7.5 times would fair better than my Fuji limited 600mm reach. Den as usual with his EF 500mm  needs to set up his tripod before really get to shoot it. 

For the find   I really had to tip  Rana as to me its a mega Malaysian lifer. It was a 200ft distance shooting from our road track in the late afternoon. We cannot go nearer thru the thick ground

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

THRUSH 10/13 January 2020 - Grey-sided Thrush ( lifer 530)

This is another unexpected bird to see a Grey-sided Thrush here. In fact it is a first record sighting for Malaysia. The nearest it came down from China North-East Hebei Shanxi side is Thailand's Kaeng Krachan National Park.


So this season we have bear much excitement amongst local birders and Singapore. The Grey-sided thrush is rather aggressive and dominant when feeding at the port. It will chase away all the other birds like the laughing thrushes, Niltavas and the bunch of 5 Siberian thrushes on the day of my visit.

Frankly I like the tidy look of this  plain bird compared to the other thrushes you can see here.
Apparently, there is a pair sighted  recently and that is another record.

Many fellow bird photogs have posted the bird already but I lagged behind for the sake of the bird. Thrushes are common to the submontane jungle of Ulu Kali. Usually they are on passage to the lowland and further south of Peninsula.



Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Avian sighting January 2020 - Pheasant-tailed Jacana


I flushed a big bird from the waterway as I recce the padi fields of Sg Balang. Thru my naked eyes I though it was the Little Curlew.  Fortunately it land about 200 feet in the sprouting padi field closeby. Apparently it is common to see  Pheasant-tailed Jacana here.

Frankly this is my first time sighting of this bird in peninsula Malaysia. My first was in Inle Lake Myammar. It is a good time to see the bird here while the field is still scanty and ploughed. Other places that have record sightings is  in Malim Nawar Perak a year back.



Why cant the Bronze-wing make an appearance further down south but only in Chuping Perlis...........

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Avian Sighting December 2019 - White-crowned hornbill


 On the way up to Genting AT and Mike stumbled a family of White-crown hornbills  crossing our path. We pull over and quick get out our gear. and run dangerously across the road divided. there were 2 juvenile in the group feeding on some vine fruits as shown. The birds stayed for about 15 minutes at the vicinity. Lighting was not that very good hence the awful photos.


This is my first time seeing this specie in Awana The other one that I have never encounter  is the Pied. The White-crowned


Later in Genting bird sighting  was good with  the migrant birds are now coming out in the open to feed. A pair of Mugimaki Fc have take temporary residence for the past 3-4 weeks. On the day we were there it did several sorties to feed at the port.




















Then there is marauding family of Siberian thrushes which  monopolise the port for long period. One of them would stay out for minutes and thus discourage the others to come out.



A consolation sighting of the Green Magpie which make an appearance from behind to the fence.





Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Avian Bird Trip Jan 2020 - SiemReap Cambodia in search of Malaysian lifers (Part1)

As you may note in  my blog I am into Malaysia birds only and when my fellow birder Dennis Sim invited me to join him on a dedicated birding  trip to  Cambodia;  I did not hesitate much as I always wanted to get the Sarus Crane. SiemReap have a Bird Sanctuary called Ang Trapaeng Thmor that protect these  birds where they can live freely and safely. The bird is formerly recorded in peninsula which I will tick it as a Malaysian lifer if I get see it.  Any other Malaysian migrant birds will be a bonus like Manchurian Reedwarbler. Then the Blyth's Frogmouth which have eluded me for years is in the itinerary.


It will be a 5 days trip which we budgetted about US900 (RM3,600) per pax for the ground arrangement guide transport for 4 pax including accommodation and makan-makan. The Airasia return ticket was booked much earlier which cost me RM480 only with meal and 20kg luggage fees.

Day1 Arrived at KLIA 2 at 4am on the dot . As usual AA self-check in luggage was a breeze at KLIA2 and Den was already waiting for breakfast together. Usually i will use Plaza Lounge Level 2B facility for free but Den has to pay RM80+  per hour. So we adjourned to the food court for some light noodle instead. Cost  us RM36.

The AirAsia flight AK423 was on schedule as we took off past 6.45am. The flight was only half full so the plane was flying faster. There is a time difference of 1hr so we will touchdown 5 mins earlier at 7.40am local time. Weather is sunny with temperature 32 degree celsius. Upon meeting up our guide and Richard and Noreen who arrive much earlier to visit AngkorWat first we went straight to our first birding outing.


Day 1 itinerary was Ang Trapeang Thmor wet land with our luggage in tow. We reach the turn off at about an hour plus.  Along the bund laterite road, we stop by a lily patch pond and we spotted many ducks of whistling duck, pygmy cotton goose then later the local community guide spotted my first lifer the Bronze-winged Jacana.


It was to be a record shot as it was foraging across the pond I would say about 120m afar. 













ATT also act as a water reservoir to supply water to the city. We took our early lunch at the community village at usd36. 

Fruit dessert with belacan 
Tomato Chicken
Pumpkin  

Johnny and Den chatting over beer again lol


Past 12 noon we were at bund to take the motorized sampan into the middle of the marshland. It was a big issue to have any big lenses with tall tripod onboard because the sampan are a bit narrow and can be tipsy turvy. Den almost topple over when he was sitting high on his stool. Johnny call back the sampan to the bund and seated him at the front. And then they were off safely. I suggested that a stabilising float- bar be incorporated like catamaran which they say will consider.
















The water depth is about 2-3 ft only as dry weather had just begun which may last right up to March. They say it was much easier to see the Sarus Cranes then when the water patches are limited where they will congregate to feed.

Back to our ride. The bad point is that the low water level has render the reeds protruding high above the water line which hinders the sighting of our target bird - Sarus Crane and rare ducks. Richard managed some duck which includes the likes of  Comb duck I think I myself got  the Spot-billed a Malaysian migrant @ Sabah but only BIF shot ie in flight. No good photos though.

Still searching for the Sarus Cranes we walk on the trench bund of a dung out waterway. we hit the drier patch of the sanctuary as our community guide tried looking for our target birds. At the far side we spotted a watershed with plenty of birds. 

Here we spotted the Spot-billed Pelican which was a lifer for Richard and it was an easy shoot. The Spot-billed Pelican is a Malaysian bird- vagrant.

 Earlier I managed to get my third lifer of the Glossy Ibis at a far distance of 1 km. There s a colony of 10-15 birds there. Well a lifer is a lifer for me.





 There were too many local people around on the day of our excursion mostly were fishing and herding their buffalos. This probably discourages Sarus Crane to come by.

Here are some of their catch with their net trap all over the embankment and earth barriers.




























It was quite sad our target Sarus Crane were absent we left the place at about 5pm for our boutique hotel Sonalong Village in Siem Reap (Usd35 per nite). We have our late dinner at Urban Hut walking distance for some authentic Khmer food. Everyone enjoyed our first dinner.  We spend in total Usd 42 for 5 pax.





Day 2 - We were up and ready to move out at 6.00 am. It is a 1.5 hours away to a nearby grassland near SiemReap to flush out the Bengal Francolin but unfortunately another disappointment for Den. Here I managed to see my fourth lifer of a Dusky Warbler. By late noon as we gave up hope and were moving out back to our 4X4; the community guide sighted 2 pairs of Sarus Crane at the horizon The birds were just too far for us to shoot or see. 

My ole Timberland boots were so soaking wet after the 3 hours plunging the vast and wet  grassland. I have to be "kaki ayam" during our 3 hours journey to the next itinerary. Luckily it was not smelly lol. We went for our late lunch before moving to our next stop 


Plain Sparrow. A lifer for Richard?




 These are some of the birds we shot at the grassland. The other lifers (4 & 5) I got after confirmation from Johnny are the Pied Bushchat and Lanceolated Warbler. The Plain Prinia is not recorded in Malaysia thus far.


Zitting


A simple noodle lunch on the road  at the nearest town and we were on the road again to next stop at TmatBoey. It was going to be the longest road ride of 3.5 hours on different road terrain. A Safari. It was tough to nap in the car with the undulation roads and earthen track.

On the last stretch of the route  Rana our guide call out Woolly-necked Stork! Excitement was all around as I look out from my side of the car as I shoot first before the guys disembark. This was the highlight for me as we missed the bird in Muar Johor just a month back. For the find, I personally tipped our guide as promised.


Rufous-winged Buzzard was a frequent encounter here

This end part 1/2 of my Cambodia oversea birding trip.........................