Friday, August 22, 2008

Where is the Good Nearby KL good low land forest birding spot

Birding with my Thai birders friends 9th - 11th of Aug

On June 23 I received a email from my thai birder friend indicated her intentions to fly in from chiangmai with 2 other of her birders friends on Aug 9th. She is having in mind to ask me to show them hotspots for birding in Malaysia. BTW professionally I'm a system administrators/DBA. I'm not a qualified bird guide but I enjoyed birdings alot. Some emails exchange within us, knowing well that they are from Chiangmai where there are alot of good montane forests that are hotspots for birding. I proposed for them to covers low-land forest, mangroves and garden birds. Two full days really can't aim for two many places.

On 25th of June I received this email indicating to me that after much discussion within 3 of them in North Thailand, they prefer for me to show them low-land forest.
A few nearby birding spots that I've been flash up in my brains. Knowing well that with the costly air tickets they have spends surely they wish to aim for quality and quantity in species as well. The thoughts that keeps churning in my brain when I'm free - Should I show them Templer Park, Old Gombak Road, Perdik, Congkak, Tekala, Titi, Pasoh but Not anywhere that I need to drive at that karak highway if possible. Actually I'm trying to avoid to bear the stressful movements driving back from karak highway that dangerous stretch just after the tunnel.. So happen one fine day one of my friend who is a Bird Guide drop by to have a small chat with me after my office hrs. I asked my friend about where should I host my Thai birders friends on our nearby good patch of low-land forest for birding.. Without thinking much he just mentioned Bukit Rengit. Huh.. Huh.. Actually I'm trying not to have that as the answer..

With this as the answer I start to work out for the accommodations that will eliminate us travel around too much through and fro to the birding spot. Normally the local birders from Selangor would only visit Bukit Rengit for our day trip. We fully aware that at Bukit Rengit the Wildlife Dept has it training center fully equip with the facilities to accommodate their courses participants. A formal letter need to address for the application of stay at their accommodations to

Institut Kepelbagaian Biologi
Jabatan Perlindungan Liar dan Taman Negara (PERHILITAN)
Semenanjung Malaysia
Bukit Rengit
28500 Lanchang Pahang Darul Makmur

Their accomodations would be priorities for their courses participants. For food there is a caterer but in the event that this training center are without any courses the caterer would not be around. For dinner food can be source out at the nearest town - Termeloh. For lunch the local malay stall at the T junction to Kuala Gandah and Bukit Rengit can ease one hungry stomach if you are not too choosy on food.

Formal letter writing to our government sector preferably need to be in Bahasa Malaysia. It was quite hard to find the proper wording to write this formal letter cause ever since I left school. Working in the private sectors Bahasa Malaysia need to shelf off cause the means of communication are all in English. On 10th of Julai I started the letter by the subject Permohonan Untuk Penginapan pada 9/8/2008 - 11/8/2008. Walked to the post office nearby my office to post this letter. It is my usual habit to flip open my home letter box to check for any postal letters once I reached home from work. One fine day after a few weeks I posted that letter I received an official letter in a brown envelope from the Perhilitan. With great anxiously I open up the letter and the contents is "Dukacita dimaklumkan..." with regrets....

Besides the accommodations facilities at Perhilitan. At this moments the are only 2 more others accommodations that you can opt for.
1. Camping - at Dearland tel 09-2797249/013-9676242/013-9881345 fax 09-2779305 email:
2. Homestay at Kampung Balok - Visitor Lodge - 013-3773838

I did not opt for a stay at Visitor Lodge due to the condition of that house, I don't feel safe and secure as four of us are ladies. Should I do a one day trip for them ? If not where is the nearest place I could host them ? Source some information's from one of my colleague from the Islamic dept he told me that there are no accommodations except at Genting, Termeloh or Mentakab... Well all these are at least 45 mins drive on the highway. :-(

On 9th of Aug
As I have promised them to fetch them from the LCCT airport at about 3pm. I landed myself at KLIA at 3pm instead. The signboard to terminal LCCT is too small that can be easily miss. Well not too much to blame of our bad signboard in Malaysia but actually I have a very bad sense of directions as well. Detouring to LCCT with my bad sense of direction I only managed by 3:30pm.. Before I started the journey from house I notice my handset recorded 10 miss called from David. But I'm in a rush to LCCT will only can get back to him later. As I was driving I do wonder what is the matter. After I have picked up the girls while we stopped by for our late lunch I returned back a called to David. I was surprise that David got the news that I'm sourcing accommodation to hosts them. David and his wife offer us a stay at his house at Genting midway to Bukit Rengit. With this good news this solve my head-ache to source out accommodation at Mentakab. The last time since I saw David was out trip to Chiangmai for Birding with few more friends.

After lunch I drive them back to my house. Knowing well that in Thailand they do not have House Crows. To let them have a good look at House Crows is quite an easy task cause these spp are our "Vulture in our Urban areas". I divert to the old road nearby those food stalls and small groceries shops nearby my house. So happen one House Crow perched on the wire to let them to have a good look. After they have unpacked Jee and Pu could not wait to scan through with their binoculars on what species that are that patch of forest behind my house. Here at my house they have Pink Necked Green Pigeon ( Male & Female), Yellow Vented Bulbul, Green Billed Malkhoha, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Oriental Magpie Robin, Black-Naped Oriole, Javan Myna, Common Myna. I hope they also notice the presence of the Common Iora, Dark Necked Tailorbird, Common Tailorbird, Crested Serpent Eagle, Stripe-Tit Babbler, that I notice their presence that day. I do notice this small forest behind my house house I managed to indentified 32 spp of birds so far over 3 years + staying there.

10th of Aug
In the next morning where we all waked up at 5am hope to be on the road about 5:30am to head to Bukit Rengit. However we only managed to hit the road at about 6am due to we female normally would takes a little more lengthy time to get ready. As we upload our baggage to my small car I pointed to them the Savanah Nightjar nearby based on its calls and I told them I also notice the Large Tailed Nightjar calls was accompany them from about 4am+ that morning.

It was a smooth journey even though with a slight drizzle, the curvey road are not to bad to negotiate after all. We reached the "T" junction of Bukit rengit and Kuala Gandah at about 8:08am for breakfast. It was still raining them. I asked Makcik do she noticed any of my birders friends reached before us. She replied none for that day.. After breakfast I head to the old entrance of Dearland. It was still slight drizzle, the lighting is still bad and yet the girls managed to spot the Banded Broadbill to start their low-land forest birds.

After a while I notice a very familiar car load of peoples heading for parking.. OOOH my that is KIM TAN and her Uncles, Aunty and Mum. Well it is nice to be able to catch up with each other and so happen that her old boss is my new boss now.. We walked for about 1 km and we notice another birder cum photographer.. Never could I imagine that I could catch up with Soon Pin here beside at TRA. Nearby at this spot, Kim spotted a Banded Broadbill and then she said she notice a Banded Kingfisher.. This caught a few of us attention. I pick up my binoculars.. managed to spot Black and Red Broadbill but where is the Banded Kingfisher.. This bird did not called but it moves to a few spot and at one spot I manged this record shots. Jee and Pu are too eager to try low-land forest birding they are quite far ahead. We could not share with them this hard to see bird.
Black and Red Broadbill which is also in that flocks of bird waves.
Hairy-Backed Bulbul also.
Besides this few spp. At this spot we also have a a very unique bird which we suspect is a Babbler spp by the way it moves. With a big whitish eye-ring and the rest is a dull brown colour except it's underpart is plain clear colours.. For this bird we have to let go cause we could not ID it. I told them just before they came I saw a Black fat looking bird drenched up , puff up.. The lighting is bad I could not ID it at all. This is part of birding some times we have to let go cause we could not positively ID it. This will leave lifer for next future trips.

Trogon ... Trogon.. never fail to attract birders as well as Bird Photographers to flock in to Bukit Rengit for it. Do I need to called them out by whistle or by playback? :-) Well I don't do such task.. To me if I'm in the right timing with them they would cross my path.
Another looks again for this female bird
At about noon time I notice a familiar perodua make car approaching... OOOOh that is Lam. Lam bought all girls in my car for lunch.. Thank YOU Lam.. BTW I thought that Lam would comes to join us for birding from lunch onwards, but instead he unload sempalit groundnuts, rambutan, mangostees, Sak Kar Mah. He then head back home afterwards and I told him that David and his wife hosting us for that night. He told me that he would met up with us afterwards at David house with some durians. Wah could not imagine so many gifts for us.

As the afternoon is quite birdless that day we pack off about 4pm to head to David's house. Driving up hill indeed put my car to test. Well the girls got surprise with a small cc car it can makes it with a full car load of peoples and luggage as well..

To David and his lovely wife I wish to express from the depth of my heart thank you for hosting us for a night at your cozy house. Thank you for buying all these girls a good and assumptions meal as well.

On 11th of Aug.
While we bid farewell to David and his lovely wife and about to drive off with the girls. David alerted us Raptor..Raptor.. We jump out from the car. With Jee's scope we managed to ID it as David's featherly neighbourhood - The Changeable Hawk Eagle.

Since we are Genting, Mam suggest that we can allow Jee and Pu to have a good look at our common montane forest bird the Long Tailed Sibia. We stop here for a while to let them admire this spp that are not found in Chiangmai montane forest. They also spotted the Golden Throated Barbet. Their wish is to have a glimpse of Black-Browed Barbet but did not show up.
When you walk in our montane forest the Bamboo Lily would be greeting you..
We head back to Bukit Rengit. Jee and Pu wish to look at Banded Pitta. OOPs this is a hard task.. Anyway we just see what comes along. Today we only reached here about 10am. Here we are greeted by the Red-Eyed Bulbul, Hairy Backed Bulbul. Well our common low-land forest birds. Pitta where are you ? As today is their last day birding at this patch of promising low-land forest. The girls wish to have more spp. They walked very much ahead. I discovered my gears fog up. I walked back to my car to clean it. By the times I'm done and ready the girls are way ahead. I walked with my own pace and I notice this spot was active with Babblers. I heard the Chestnut Rumped Babbler, Abbot Babbler, Chestnut Winged Babbler, Moustached Babbler. I notice a flock of Rufous-Crowned Babbler around. Maybe I alone this birds seems to feeding as they need to be.
You again.. well ok I don't mind
Again a different position.
Black legs... not Pale legs
As I was about to walk further I heard a familiar Pitta calls behind me. I trace the sound and I station myself near to where the sound originate. I waited and waited.. scanned the undergrowth ... with much patient.. I spot the Banded... ooops I lost it.. That very moments Hei... girls where are you all.. Jee , Pu and Mam. I waited for long and finally I saw it fly across to the opposite patch of forest. The brilliant colours I positively ID it as the Male Banded Pitta. As it was about lunch time Mam head back. I told her that I saw the Banded Pitta. The Pitta is actively calling therefore the chance of let Jee and Pu see is quite a great chance. Jee and Pu came back and we all try to trace the sound ... With much patients.. Pu take out a stool and sat down. All 4 of us ignoring our stomach groans we try to look out for that wanted to see bird. Suddenly I managed to spot this good find, I told the girls to stand in front of me and looks at the ground and aim for that.... spot... OOps it is behind the branches. This makes some of us more stressful. We waited and waited again until at least 4 of us have a good satisfying looks.. I'm glad that finally the girls got what they wish for this trip.

We break for lunch, we have fruits for lunch and whatever food we pack along.. We notice the birds are less vocal but still have chance to spot them. Bukit Rengit never fails to attract birders even on a weekdays, Today we met up with a 4WD load of birders from MNS Kuantan and from Melaka Dr Fong, his lovely wife and 2 of their friends. We exchange birds sighting it seems that Dr Fong heard of the Banded Pitta at the other end but Pitta seems to be more luck for the girls at this end .. Well maybe it need to show up for my thai birders friends.

We have this trogon just above Pu. This looks like a Cinnamon-Rumped Trogon but it's facial looks more like a juvenile Scarlet Rumped Trogon.
I still could not positively ID this cause it Rumped is indeed Cinnamon but it's facial does not seem to match.
Birds began to start active again at about 4pm.. The Kuantan group managed to spoted a Red-Billed Malkoha, Chestnut Breasted Malkoha. Dr Fong and his group is having a good time observing a family of Scarlet Rumped Trogon. We have the Greater Racket Tailed Drongo and the girls managed to have Buff-Necked Woodpecker.

I manged to have some good shots of the Yellow Bellied Bulbul. Share with you all one of the shot that I took.
This came by so near until I could not recognise it as the Buff-Vented Bulbul. Wish that this to be the Malaysian Honeyguide :-) We also have a good look at the Banded Woodpecker (M&F).

At about 6pm, we wrap up this birding trip, packing off to head back to my house. Jee and Pu would be going back to Chiangmai on the next morning to Chiangmai from LCCT. On the way back to my house we stop over at bukit tinggi loong shing restaurant for our dinner. On 13th Mam would then continue her birding holiday to Sandakan with another group of our birders friends.

Two of the girls who are coffee lovers could not board the plane back without packing along our aromatic Ipoh White Coffee. On the way back we stop over at Jusco for a short shopping session. Leaving the car full load of luggages is totaly unsafe in the city. For the short session of shopping, we have to leave Mam in the car as our temporary "car attendant". :-)

Jee, Pu and Mam thank you for accompany me for this wonderful trip. Even though it is quite tiring trip yet it would turn out a memorial trip for me.. Do come back again, malaysia have a lot of good National Park in west Malaysia and East Malaysia house with alot of good quality of birds and mammals.

Birds we managed to spot during this trip.
Changeable Hawk Eagle (genting), Brahminy Kite juvenile (sepang), Pink-Necked Green Pigeon (Balakong), Green Bellied Malkoha (Balakong), Peaceful Dove (Balakong), Emerald Dove , Large-Tailed Nightjar (Balakong), Savanah Nightjar (Balakong), Rafles Malkoha, Red-Billed Malkoha, Chestnut Breasted Malkoha, Scarlet Rumped Trogon, Banded Kingfisher (M), Red Bearded Bee eater, Gold Whiskered Barbet, Golden Throaded Barbet (genting), Banded Woodpecker (M&F), Black and Red Broadbill, Banded Pitta, Pacific Swallow, Black and Red Broadbill, Lesser Green Leafbird, Green Iora, Black Headed Bulbul, Red Eyed Bulbul, Stripe-Throated Bulbul, Spectacled Bulbul, Grey-Cheecked Bulbul,Buff-Vented Bulbul,Hairy-Backed Bulbul,Yellow-Bellied Bulbul,Greater Racket Tailed Drongo, Crow-Billed Drongo, Black-Naped Oriole, Rufous-Crowned Babbler, Abbot Babbler, Chestnut-Winged Babbler, Chestnut-Rumped Babbler, Moustached Babbler, Oriental Magpie Robin, White Rumped Shama, Verditer Flycatcher, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Black-Naped Monarch (Nesting), Hill Myna, Javan Myna (Balakong), Common Myna (Balakong), Purple-Naped Sunbird, Little Spiderhunter,White-Rumped Munia (Genting), Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Streaked Spiderhunter (Genting), Long-Tailed Sibia (Genting).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hutan Lipur Sg Perdik - 13/7/2008

As I was about to host 3 of my north thailand birders friends to show them low-land forest birds in Malaysia, I thought it would be a good idea that I need to recce this local local birding patch nearby my house.

As I was driving, I was debating myself wondering about those vegetation/shrubs has it recovered since I saw the local folks clear them on 19/5/2008.
As I was heading there I do notice a few cars loads of peoples seems to tailing me most of the way. Only after I have parked my car I realised that this 5 cars and 1 van load of peoples also heading to the same spot as I do. They parked nearby my cars and all this gentlemen was being greeted by their guide who was there waited for them. The guide seems to be all eager to lead and show them the waterfall nearby. Well It seems that the local kampung folks of Perdik has materialised their plans of turning this patch to hutan rekreasi.

The shrubs much have been cleared compared to before to the recent elections. The site where it was once provide a temporary shelter for the migrants Ferruginous Flycatcher has been cleared and a commander hut was erected. Today I notice this camping grounds hosted at least 50 young men.

There are at least 120+ young university freshie marching into the waterfall from Nur Lembah Pangsun (a eco-tourism resort nearby) to add on to those that I mentioned earlier . Of most of my visit to this place I yet to encounter so many peoples.

Those shrubs that use to be a good hide for a few spp of Babblers and Rufous Tailed Tailorbird are yet to recover.

Despite the great disturbance to the eco-system although bird list was not as many as before. I managed to sighted White Rumped Shama,Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo, Black Headed Bulbul, Spectacled Bulbul, Red Eyed Bulbul, Yellow Bellied Bulbul, Rafles Malkoha, Velvet Fronted Nuthatch, Black-Winged Flycatcher Shrike, Blue Winged Leafbird, Yellow Breasted Flowerpecker, Crimson Breasted Flowepecker, Orange Bellied Flowerpecker, Dark Throated Oriole (h), Drongo Cuckoo (h), Indian Cuckoo (h).

The male and female Black-Winged Flycatcher Shrike was chasing each other. One of the bird perched on the wire quite near to where I position myself.

I really glad to notice a few Orange-Bellied Flowerpecker still around. I do recall this tree seems to be favour of the 2 spp of flowerpeckers that you would never fails to notice when you are here is being trimmed a few months back. I notice that the amount of flowerpeckers dash in and out seems to be lesser compared to the previous time where this tree is yet to be trimmed.

As I was waiting quietly for anymore spp that would be camera friendly, I was wondering what is "chuck...chuck..chuck.." sound... OOOH OK finally it is you the Shama.. Huh that is your another call ?
Inside the trail I have this Raffle's Malkoha female who pose for my camera.