Nature Notes

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January 26, 2013

Birding Tamara Negara: Malaysia

Filed under: Birds,Malaysia — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

Oriental Magpie Robin

This National Park is a lowland rain forest, with a range of services available, from camping to more luxurious arrangements.

The trip in is 3 hours by boat down the Trembeling River, and a few bird species can be seen from the boat, particularly Kingfishers.

The area around the resort has a number of excellent trails as well as some blinds. The resort area itself was good for Oriental Magpie Robin, Pink-necked Pigeon,and Oriental Hornbill.
There is a canopy walkway which gets you up at eye level with many species  and it is well worth a visit. It unfortunately was not open at ideal times for birders (10 AM to 2PM), and the operators  seem happier if you don’t linger. The best canopy bird was a Wallace’s Hawk Eagle which perched on a branch only a dozen meters in front of me.

It rained very heavily every night for 5-6 hours, but only a little during the day. This resulted in very muddy slippery trails, and made birding hard work, but well worth the effort.

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September 9, 2011

Birding Frasier’s Hill: Malaysia

Filed under: Birds,Malaysia — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

Chestnut Capped Laughingthrush

One of the world’s most famous birding spots, Frasier’s Hill was originally one of the places where the British, in the colonial period, would go on holiday. The high elevation provided relief from the heat (something I could appreciate).

I was fortunate to have the company of Laurence Poh to share his experience. On arrival, we checked into the Gap Resthouse, situated at the bottom of the one way road up to Frasier’s Hill. In the Gap restaurant, a Striped Tit-Babbler picked insects from the wiring of the hanging lights.

Driving the Telecom route at the top of Frasier’s Hill, we picked up a very cooperative Black-browed Barbet, which posed for photos. We encountered a number of bird waves, with Silver-eared Mesia, Long-tailed Sibia, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Mountain Fulvetta, Mountain Bulbul and Golden Babbler being a few of the many species. Later on the route, we picked up Red-headed TrogonLarge Niltava, Javan (Malayan) Cuckoo Shrike, Streaked Spiderhunter, and Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo.

That night I stayed at the Jelai resort, and the next morning I prepared to drive out of the parking lot when I was I was stopped in my tracks by birds all around me. A Green Magpie showed off its fantastic plumage while Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush mixed with its more common cousin, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush. Malayan Cuckoo Thrush again made an appearance, as did Sultan Tit, Black-throated Sunbird, and a placid Asian Brown Flycatcher.

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September 5, 2008

Birding Ipoh area, Malaysia

Filed under: Birds,Malaysia — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Ipoh, Malaysia

Ipoh, Malaysia

The city of Ipoh is surrounded by jutting limestone hills and it has a very spiritual quality, augmented by temples built into the cliff faces. I was fortunate to meet up with some of Ipoh’s birders and digiscopers, including Laurence Poh and Ooi Beng Yean, two of the very finest digiscopers in the world.

While in Ipoh, I stayed at the Hotel Excelsior, an old time colonial type of accommodation. While there are no doubt less expensive places available, it was reasonable and comfortable. One of the places we visited was the Burmese Pool in Taiping.We quickly picked up a Common Flameback, and a number of Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters. A pair of Scarlet Minivet drifted through the trees at the side of the trail, while on the trail itself, a Forest Wagtail worked its way. Later on this wonderful afternoon, we came upon something extraordinary. A number of Asian Paradise Flycatchers flitted through the branches, their long tails flowing behind, and one of them was the rare white morph, a beautiful sight. A couple of Whiskered Treeswifts sat high in a tree, a new family for me.
As we returned to Ipoh, we made a couple of stops. At the first, we were treated to the sight of the tiny Black Thighed Falconet as he hunted and devoured dragonflies. A little further we stopped at a temple cut into the limestone rocks, and in the fading light, saw both the Blue Rock Thrush, and a Blue Whistling Thrush.

I watched hundreds of House Swifts fly past my hotel window, while  I waited for my ride the next day.Before leaving Ipoh we stopped at the golf course where we were treated to the sight of a pair of Oriental Honey Buzzards. Our first stop was an area of lagoons which I think were the remains of a mining operation. The prize of the trip was a Greater Painted Snipe, a species at the top of my wish list. Other great birds were Stork Billed Kingfisher,   Chinese Pond Heron, and a Long Tailed Shrike amongst many Brown Shrike. As we watched Purple Swamphens feeding in a marshy area, a Barred Buttonquail scuttled along the brush at the shoreline and a female Baya Weaver fed on grass stalks.
We headed into some dry lowland forest, after passing through a rubber tree plantation. Again we were fortunate to find some wonderful species including Hill Myna, Green Iora and a Scarlet Backed Flowerpecker. We ended the day on a high note when a Changeable Hawk Eagle perched on a dead branch and gave us a wonderful view.

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