Saturday, September 20, 2008

Panti Bird Sanctuary/Suaka Panti

In 1949 Panti Forest was gazetted as a Forest Reserve with 16,592 ha wide are. This area comprises of mainly low land evergreen forest, hill dipterocarp forest, freshwater swamp forest and lower montane forest at Gunung Panti Barat 513m asl , Gunung Panti 481m asl and Gunung Muntahak 643m asl.

Originally this forest reserve is meant for timber logging purpose. Over the years some of it area was re-gazetted as agricultural land (palm oil plantation). Besides these there is also sand quarrying activities.

To prevent further loss in biodiversity at Panti Forest, forestry department with the help from the volunteers from non-government organisation and universities students conduct Scientific Expedition to collect data to be used to determined the best adopt matters. At one time they have been considering should this remaining pristine vegetation be save by proposed to the state government to turn it as a national park.

On 20th December 2007, news break to the public that they have been looking into converting the forest status from reserve to “multiple use”. The 13,189 ha will be divided to 7 zones (1- timber production 5,0003ha, 2 – water catchment 2,843 ha, 3 – soil protection 2424 ha, 4- wild animal protection 1,800ha, 5 – virgin jungle 802 ha, 6- research 171 ha, 7- recreation 146 ha).

Over the years, due to the campaign to save panti for the home of animals by a small group of the nature lovers, finally Suaka Panti/Panti Bird sanctuary comes to realisation. The signboard that read Suaka Panti/Panti Bird Sanctuary one can noticed as you travel on the trunk road to Kuantan/Mersing. This small dot in the map of Malaysia, situated in Johor State is a well known site for birdwatching site situated in Johor State. With the advancement of communication through Internet this place is also know internationally by the bird watching communities. Panti Forest is with the coordinates 103o 54' East 1o 50' North is being highlighted in Birdlife factsheet as IBA (important bird area). It has been recorded several endemic and globally threaten species found here eg Storm Stock, Crestless Fireback,Wallace's Hawk-eagle, Short-toed Coucal.

This trail the bird watchers communities fondly called it as Bunker Trail. It was named after the two bunkers demarcate both side of the road ever since from World War II. Timber logging has been ceased from this trail and one can noticed the trees here are start to regenerate back. However sand mining still exist at the far end of this track.

Birding can be done along this whole old logging track. This track does not need a 4WD to access it. It is a sandy track with some mild pod holes and certain part is rough surface of rocks. Just to remind that if you are using small passenger that are with small tyres just to be careful so that those rough surface would not burst the tyre and spoilt the sport rim.

As the state government have in mind to have Suaka Panti as it's latest eco-tourism product in Johor, therefore you would notice facilities such as information center, public toilet, a nice car park and a bird hide/watch tower.

Nice watch tower/bird hide.

However all this facilities are pad locks, yet to have electricity and water supply maybe it is yet to be officiate.
Therefore for those wish to spend the whole day for either birdwatching, for butterfly watching or for others nature appreciations, it is still advisable to pack trail meals.

These 3 stray wild dogs may have been left behind by the quarry staffs are temporary overtaking the task of the nature guide. This dogie we nicknamed it as "tripod". He has 1 leg missing.
You do not need to pay a lot to hire Brownie and spotty to be your guide. Just pack along some leftover food that are not too salty would do.

As this place is the midst to be gazetted and officate as Panti Bird Sanctuary therefore up to the date of my visit there are yet to station any park rangers. For your own safety camping are not advisable. Accomodations can be easily source at Kota Tingi which is about 25 mins drive from here.

How to get there.
From Kuala Lumpur use the north south highway exit at Kulai and then follow the road sign to Kota Tingi, The journey from KL bangi toll takes about 5 hours.

There are a number of reasonable price hotel. The MNS bird group seems to favoured Hotel Seri Kota, Jln Jaafar, Kota Tinggi tel number 07-8838111. The food bazaar is within walking distance to make it easy to pack along food to be taken as trail lunch.

My trip report - Birding at Panti Bird Sanctuary 12/9/2008 -15/9/2008
Birding trip to Panti Forest and Kuala Sedili my first visit is in year 2004. Since then it has implanted in my memories that Panti is indeed haven for bird watching. I do recall I managed collect a number of lifers then. When I got the news that Malaysia Nature Society Selangor Branch Bird group organise trip again at 12th of Sept - 15th of Sept, I quickly grab a place before it was taken off. For this time I have in mind to look out for the Scarlet Breasted Flowerpecker. I do recall very well in year 2004 during my 1st visit to Bunker trail when I spotted a beautiful Male Scarlet Breasted Flowerpecker, that memories still very distinctively engrave in my memory. However I do recall for this trip as I have set an aim to see and able to capture this spp of flowerpecker.. as the time is ticking fast it really set my heart to be more anxious... *****sigh***** .I only manage to sight the female only AARRGGh...

Anyhow this male bird in my wanted list appear to our trip leader Alan only. But the good company of my birding friends on this trip and a few lifers I picked up in this trip seem to set off my anxiety's on that bird in my wanted list. For this trip I manage to have 7 lifers.

Sharing with you all some of the pictures taken from this trail. I do recall it was a hot day on 13th of September. We came back to Bunker Trail at about 3pm+. A few of my birders friends spotted 2 birds keep repeating fly down to this stream. Birds do takes bath to cool down and it is also a part of their feather maintenance routine task. This is a sub-adult bulbul species.

After a dip, it fly up to this perched to preen.Another bird also taking a dip at this clear cool water stream. This is a Cream-Vented bulbul

It is all wet..
Another time of cool dip.

Yes I managed to sight flowerpecker.. BUT.. But... it is not the one in my wanted list.. the time is ticking fast though...
Crimson-Winged Woodpecker. To determined should it be the male or female. The male would have a red submoustachial stripe.
There are a number species of Bulbul can be found at this track.
Besides bird people comes to Panti Forest for butterflies appreciation. I have a feeling that this is a Fraunis spp. More butterflies you may able to noticed during in May.
See another Flowerpecker species...
I do recalled I using my last few hours before I need to head back to KL to hunt for the Scarlet Breasted Flowerpecker. Instead I sense the presence of the second largest woodpecker around. She was perched far away.. Yet she allow me to have a good satisfaction admire her beauty.
For this Buff-Vented Bulbul I took it after a slight drizzle.
Another flowerpecker.. This is a juvenile.

Banded Broadbill - Male

Another look at this broadbill

A flock of blue-winged leafbird came by.

Cream-vented Bulbul..

Hahhh. this creepy crawlies this is my 1st time bump into this.

It looks more to me like a walking squid..

3 of us have been standing nearby to this patch for quite a while just before we are about to checked out from Panti Forest. This noctural bird seems to be very camouflaged, we did not notice it at all. Carol came to join us. For this lifer of mine I should thank Carol for her sharp eye-sight. I do recalled she scan through with her pair of binoculars.. and out of her sudden she said.. OOh gosh... Frogmouth... Frogmouth.

We sighted and heard.
Crested Serpent Eagle, Blyth Hawk Eagle, Rufous Bellied Eagle, Barred Button Quail, Little Green Pigeon, Thick Bellied Pigeon, Blue Rumped Hanging Parrot, Blue Crowned Hanging Parrot, Violet Cuckoo, Chestnut Breasted Malkoha, Chestnut Bellied Malkoha, Black Bellied Malkoha, Red Billed Malkoha, Malaysian Eared Nighjar, Whiskered Tree Swift, Silver Rumped Swiflet, Needle Tailed Swiflet spp, Scarlet Rumped Trogon, Banded Kingfisher, Blue Eared Kingfisher, Red Bearded Bee-Eater, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Red Crowned Barbet, Blue Eared Barbet, Brown Barbet, Crimson Winged Woodpecker, Checker-Throated Woodpecker, Grey and Buff Woodpecker, Buff Rumped Woodpecker, Olive Backed Woodpecker, White Bellied Woodpecker, Maroon Woodpecker, Orange Backed Woodpecker, Banded Broadbill, Pacific Swallow, Black-winged Flycatcher Shrike, Large Wood Shrike, Bar Bellied Cuckooshrike, Fiery Minivet, Scarlet Minivet, Green Iora, Lesser Green Leafbird, Greater Green Leafbird, Blue Winged Leafbird, Grey Bellied Bulbul, Yellow Vented Bulbul, Olive Winged Bulbul, Cream-Vented Bulbul, Red Eye Bulbul, Finch Bulbul, Spectacled Bulbul, Grey Cheeked Bulbul, Yellow Bellied Bulbul, Hairy Backed Bulbul, Buff-Vented Bulbul, Streaked Bulbul, Greater Racket Tailed Drongo, Black Throated Oriole, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Large Billed Crow, Velvet Fronted Nuthatch, Fluffy-Backed Tit Babbler, Black Capped Babbler, White Chested Babbler, Sootty Capped Babbler, Rufous Crowd Babbler, Grey Headed Babbler, Chestnut Rumped Babbler, Stripe Tit Babbler, White Rumped Sharma, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Common Tailorbird, Dark-Necked Tailorbird, Rufous-Tailed Tailorbird, Grey Headed Flycatcher, Grey Chested Jungle Flycatcher, Rufous Winged Monarch, Tiger Shrike Juvenile, Hill Myna, Purple Naped Sunbird, Ruby-Cheeked Sunbird, Plain Sunbird, Little Spiderhunter, Scarlet Breasted Flowerpecker, Yellow Breasted Flowerpecker, Orange Bellied Flowerpecker, Crimson Breasted Flowerpecker, Pale Blue Flycatcher, Javan Frogmouth - Female
To know more about Panti Forest, click on the url link

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Waders Watching at Tanjung Sedili, Johor

13th of September 2008 -- Woooh So many Great Crested Tern.

It is a habit of MNS Selangor birders long trips that normally try to educate it's members as many birds in different habitat as possible. Trips to Panti Forest would not be complete without a ½ day trip for shore birds/waders at it's coast facing the South China Sea.

Head to it's beach front facing the South China Sea from Kota Tingi town, one could feel the quite, peaceful kampung lifestyle unlike the hectic and hassle/bustle in the big city like Kuala Lumpur. There are a numbers of nice holiday resorts and chalets erected along it's coastal lines. During our time of visit, I noticed that these holiday resorts/chalets are empty, maybe it was not school holidays as well as during Ramadan whereby it is a fasting month for the Muslim. Normally during fasting month it is the lowest seasons for all of the holiday resorts in Malaysia.

This is one of the small village that we visited for our tea break. This small little village many years back one need to takes boat from this jetty to get across to the other side. Those days there is no road to lead to this village. Now there is a nice pave tar road that would lead you passed by a palm oil plantation, some holiday resorts along the way.
A beautiful mosque in that small village. We also notice that this village also populated by chinese as well.
As the low time in the daytime happen around 10am during our visit, we only could head to it's
coastal line on 13th of September – (the 2nd day). By the way low tide happen twice in a day. Each day it varies to the times it happen and how low it would be. Tides at certain times of the month are unusually lower or higher than at others. The reason for this has to do with the position of both the sun and the moon relative to the Earth. At low tides waders on their migration passage would takes the opportunities to feeds and rest at it's shore lines. To enjoy waders watching it is still the best to refer to the latest tidal tables before you head to the beach front. For malaysia do click on

The time when the tide is the lowest very likely the waders would be too far to be definitely ID them. Therefore we normally would prefer the in-between not to low nor high. Waders watching unlike bird watching in the forest where are trees for shades from the scorching sun. Waders watching at the beach the heat not only comes from the scorching sun but also from the sand that reflect back the heat. This could be one of the main reasons that normally will put people off from enjoyed the beauty of the waders.

Anyhow waders/shore birds due to many of them are migrants or passage migrants to Malaysia coastal lines, for this reason we could not have them all year round. Even though Malaysia all year round is having warm tropical climate and no doubt that our coastal lines are with ever rich source of foods ready for the waders.
One of the example of nice juicy crabs for the shore birds.

Shorebirds even though they comes in all shades of dull brown and white but at certain stages of their life especially juvenile and breeding, they do have some additional catchy interesting colors. Unlike forest bird watching where we normally trek, stop, hear and look out from where the sound originate. Waders watching only need to find a shady places, sit and relax, the whole bunch of waders waiting ready for you to scan through to be pick up on which one you would like to see.

I did this way... My birders friends says that I'm indeed crazy baking myself in the hot sun. Waders normally prefer to feeds very near to the shore lines. With a 10 X binoculars it is indeed a hard task to look at them. Therefore if the shore permit me to walk through with my feathery light body I would rather try to get to the nearest safe range between the birds and me. Not to frighten them off I slowly crept over. Was it hot baking myself like this manner? Well at that very moments I forgotten the meaning of hot as I noticed OOOOOh yoh... so many ... so many waders.

Waders would normally rest, preening or feeding near the shorelines. They even do it in the nightime during the low tide.

Not all of the time they are pecking and dig deep into the beach..

One of the preening moments of a Sand Plover. Notice it eye lid is close.
Their legs are not injuired. This is one of the way to rest.
Finaly I managed to sight Little Tern resting unlike in Bagan Sungei Buloh, Selangor where it always on flight in it's hunting motions.
Waders come in different size.
For waders watching at Sedili one would not complete her/his list without the Malaysian Sand Plover Charadrius Peronii. It is only 15cm, it would favour undisturbed sandy,coral and shelly beaches. Due to this one of the example of species that it's choosy habitat of survival, it further the aspect that waders are protective species.

Malaysian Plover

As we noticed the tide is yet to reside at the desirable level for waders watching instead of wasting time at the usual beach front. We travel to Kampung Sri Ganding, Sedili Kecil and Sedili Besar. We would head to the beach front to look out for waders.

These are some of the common migrants shorebirds/waders that our Malaysia shorelines would temporary host them.

Looook... LOOOK so many terns. This is the largest flock that I have seen so far.. I only could managed to take a snap shots a portion of them only. They are mainly Great Crested Terns.

A Common Redshank.
I wrongly Id this much earlier. I do recall this bird is much more taller than those Lesser Sand Plover that also attracted me. This bird is still in it's breeding garments. Well not all of the time shorebirds are brown and white..
This is not in it's breeding garments.. This bird is moulting..
This small little one are the Lesser Sand Plovers.. A few of them have some intresting plumage.
Poke deep for food.
Looking for food.

This is a different Individual.

For this 1/2 a day trip from 10am + till about 2pm + with at least 3 stop-over. We sighted
Malaysian Sand Plover (they normally moves in pair)
Lesser Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover
Common Green Shank
Common Red Shank
Marsh Sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Little Heron
Little Egret
Little Tern
White Throated Kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher
Black Naped Oriole
Abbot Babbler
Magpie Robin
Common Iora
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Peaceful Dove
Bhraminy Kite
White Bellied Sea Eagle
Greater Crested Tern -This is most exciting part to me is able to sight a huge resting flocks about 500+