25 March 2010

Cameron Highlands

During the Chinese New Year holidays, I took a gamble to went up to Cameron Highlands for birding. It has been 3 or four days after CNY already, so I tought the hotels might be a bit clear and might get a room cheaply.. I didnt make any reservations then.. hehe..

By the time I went to the first cheap accomodation of my choice, the place already fully booked. So I went to downtown Tanah Rata where there are quite a selection of hotels available, got a rm70 per night room and without wasting my time went to search for the trails..

Fortunately I got my Sgps enabled phone and with malsingmaps, got there in no time..

I picked trail 3 for the afternoon.. Quite an experience as I entered the mossy forest alone, the earth is like sponge, almost under every tree there is a hole ,like any creature might pounce at me.. hehe...

The moss is everywhere... at the branches, at the trunk, on the ground, on the rocks... There are birds there alright, but the darkening sky and shadow of the trees doesnt help in getting a descent photo. And spoting them is quite hard on my first day.. The whining sound that keep following me doesnt help either..;)

The next day, I was the first one to went out of the hotel, have to wake up the keeper to open the door. Have 2 half boiled eggs and teh-tarik for breakfast and go off to the parit falls..

How this Fraser Hill bird got here?

Silver-eared Mesia
Rimba Telinga Putih
(Leithrix argentauris)

then took the trail to the forestry dept, A rather distict "tiiieeeennnngg" sound coming from the river. I just dismiss it for now for I just cant find what makes that sound..

At last got this bird that are mocking me at fraser... laughing then hide from me...

Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush
Rimba Mata Putih
(Garrulax mitratus)

The drizzle didnt stop me...

On the way back to my car, managed to spot the bird that make the "tiiieeeennnngg" sound. It a Slaty Backed Forktail!

Slaty-backed Forktail
Cegar Tengkuk Kelabu
(Enicurus schistaceus)

It went upstream and downstream from time to time, just wish it land nearer.

It basically ended up my birding for the morning before I check out at noon.

After searching around at Tanah Rata and Brinchang for affordable accomodation without success, I figure that I just went down before dark.

I stop by a stall by the roadside selling fried bananas and drinks. A foreign couple stop by ask for direction to parit falls from the 'makcik' the goreng pisang seller. The makcik gave directions to the robinson falls instead. Huh! talking about local knowledge.!

After finishing my 'cekodok', I drive my car to the robinson falls. If I see the couple maybe could give them a ride to the right location but they are nowhere until I reach the falls. Only as I walk in did I see them coming out. Boy! they do walk fast!

At the robinson falls, I saw this lone male

Grey Wagtail
Kedidi Kepala Kelabu
(Motacilla cinerea)

foraging on the rock. I just spend my time watching it until the time to go back home.

btw: The whining sound on the first day is my own breathing, its soo quiet there. ;)

23 March 2010

The cattle and the egret.

So lucky of me to catch this two together.

As the name suggest, this egret like to hang around cattles, but why?

Lets observe what it does..

Intently looking at the flies.. maybe it was thinking, "What happen if I just jab my beak?"

Well, it doesnt.. it easier to pick up the flies that landed on the grass.


The cattle is quite confortable having the egret around, maybe the cattle egret cuts back the number of flies it have to endure.

Cattle Egret
Bangau Kerbau

18 March 2010

Bitten by the bittern bug

Its late afternoon, I picked a spot with my back against the sun.. The water just a feet below me.. With the trees along the highway being felled, no sign of the purple heron which always perch at the tallest branches. Only the crit crit sound of the fast flying swallows fill the air..

Once a while, a 'eeekk ek ek ek' sound coming from the reeds. Some bittern must be around.. I kept my silence..

Not until its nearly sunset, did a bittern finally show it self. Keeping my self well hidden, I took a few shot..

A beautiful bittern indeed. I kept myself hidden until it went away..

The next day, I went again to the spot. Maybe luck will be with me today..

I wait and wait.. not until it was very late.. 7.20pm, it landed at a clear spot amongst the reeds..

Not near enough but ok for me... As I am shooting without flash, I had to bump the ISO to 800 resulting in quite noisy photo..

The next day, I went again.. hoping its My 3 days lucky.. but the bittern didnt show it self..

Then after 10 days... I saw it.. Clear view!

crept closer and shoot!

Black Bittern
Pucung Hitam

Well worth the hundreds of mosquito bites I had to endure waiting..

Hati Nyamuk anyone?

* hati nyamuk='mosquitoes heart' as requested by the princess of gunung ledang in the malay folk stories.

10 March 2010

Drifting like a log.

I think I have improved my techique in shooting from a canoe..It is like drifting log..

about 10 meters from the bird, I angled my canoe to go pass in front of the bird going nearer and nearer..then give a gentle push with my paddle.

Perhaps this photo sequence would show it better

you can see the bird getting bigger and bigger..

this is the last frame of the sequence

fortunately I didnt flush out the bird..

I also get this reflection of the bird in the water

I notice a pelican(undan) are perching on the tree branches at the side of the lakes.. which is a good thing since a few years back, theres is no Burung Undan(Pelican) at The Pulau Undan(Pelican Island) which is the name given to one of the island.

A little more forward, I would be the target of the Pelican Poo.. Directly under it.

08 March 2010

Dragons galore

Some of the beautiful tropical Dragonflies found during my hunt for birds...

These species I found near pool or lakes

Urothemis signata (male)
Common red color ones

Trithemis aurora (male)
red color with a violet thorax

At Paya Indah,Dengkil got this interesting dragonfly,
Rhyothemis phyllis (female)
read from somewhere, it is called a saddleback because of the colour on the broad hind wings.

Even in the jungle trails can see them

This beautiful metalic blue dragonfly perching on a spiny nipah leaves
Cratilla metallica (female)

also this orange and green coloured dragonfly
Lathrecista asiatica (female)

This dragonfly is almost invisible as it sit still on a tree trunk
Tyriobapta torrida (male)

This is how one dragonfly lays its egg (Ovipositing) in a pool of water..
. Orthetrum sp (female)
I just learn about this behavior from Tabib in Kemensah..

I tried to identify it from references in the internet, but I found it to be much harder than identifying birds.. ;) better leave it to the expert..

This blog seems to be a good reference for malaysian dragonflies
Odonata of Peninsular Malaysia

Update:Ian from odonata-malaysia have kindly identified the dragonflies here. Species names in italics