Friday, April 30, 2010

The Old Pump House Road

Friday 30th April, 2010

One of the best birding destinations was the Old Pump House Road. At its height, I would even rate the place to be far better than the whole area of Frasers Hills in total. But that was history, today, the place is a little like 50/50 chance with many a times meeting up with little or no birds at all.

But when the place was closed to the public in December last year, I was at a lost as to where can I go? After all the waiting, the road was once again open to the public as from last Sunday.

They have installed a new power station and some finishing touches are still being carried out. So, if you are there, just expect some vehicular traffic.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2 lovely chicks for the morning

Wednesday 28th April, 2010
On Monday I wrote about being to Rimba to check on the chicks. I said, Brahminy chicks and didn't mention about the Coppersmith Barbet. The bough where the nest was situated was way too high about 30 feet high and having the sky as background.

Don't expect any nice pictures. This morning, Wednesday, thought I better behave myself before I get kicked out of the house for out birding daily. Then there was a frantic call from Henry, he has gone "searching for food for the babies and I am suppose to figure out a way to care for the 2 drop-outs."

I went to site and understood that the bough holding the Barbet's nest broke. Down came the nest and babies. The event fortunately seen by Loi at the nick of time. I was there and saw the 2 babies happily standing on the ground at the foot of the tree. Fairly matured and could be fledging soon. But knowing Coppersmith, if left alone, the babies may take another week or so before they are ready to fly. Lifted them up to a low fig tree with dense foliage. The parent called and the chicks responded. Seeing them connected, the 3 of us left the place and the chicks to look after themselves.

Then came Part II of the day!

I was satisfied and also I wanted to share with these 2 kind Samaritans the Flying Carrot scene as a reward. So the three of us went for a ride after collecting my gears from the house.

Upon arrival, the place was deserted. Good, we could all take positions. All ready the first feeding came. Very impressive and the 2 gentlemen were overwhelmed by such wonderful display. The bright red little bird with a frog in her mouth. Explained to them why I had to show them the place. On Monday, 2 carloads of Singaporean. On Tuesday, I was briefed by a Frenchman who was there since the morning, that this hot spot is of international knowledge. The daily crowd is not surprising at all. For example he commented that seeing the peak of 12 photographers appearing here last Wednesday is nothing when compared to the crowd of 50 in Lower Pierce Reservoir for the Oriental-Dwarf.

Before I could finish my story, one van load of Taiwanese arrived, heavily armed and together with packed lunch. They too settled down. Soon, came the first round of firing by them. The sound of their actvities recorded on my video. Such huge crowd I felt unconfortable and so thought that it was time to leave. My 2 companions pleaded with me to allow them seeing one more round of feeding.

Yes, I waited. It was another 40 minutes, they too happily left their stalking spot and came looking for me as I was far away from the hives of action. Took the oportunity to show them the Blue-eared but we took left the place soon afterwards as Blue-eared are very shy birds. Allowed the visiting crowd the priviledge of taking charge of the place.

The Blog site went "Cuckoo" last night. Would not allow me to post the picture

Monday, April 26, 2010

Flying carrot draws large daily crowd

26th April, 2010

My posting had suddenly disappeared at end March from the Blog sites scene and nothing is heard of my actvities except for Madi & Yen who met up with me in Kemensah in mid-April. Yes, I was busy bringing out my old Video clips shot around 2002. The quality of the clips that suffice my needs then are of little use to anyone now. I couldn't throw them down the drain! So I came up with a plan to make them the core for my web page. Having positioned them, the progresses? I aim to replaced them with clips of contemporary quality as I get them in the future. That the main reason for me lying low as I've blocked my time in getting the task completed. For relaxation I went to check on the Brahminy Kites periodically. Whew! All that special assignment is over now and I was ready to relax concentration a couple of weeks. First -where to? That explain the priority, I checked on the hot Kemensah spots, now 3 trips through no reports.

Today, prompted by that latest report on the Flying Carrots I thought it time for me to be updated. Monday afternoon is a good time. Arrived there just after 2.00 pm. There were 2 car loads of Singaporeans. The area around the nest tramped smooth. The parents were still feeding regularly. The cameras forming a ring around the nest - believe me it's only a 10 foot diameter. Across and in front of the nest a 3 feet long slender bare branch, just 3 feet from the nest. The parent came, calmly perched on the branch and inside for feeding. These were the most domesticated nesting parents I have seen. Then a short while later, my friend came and then another came. Now 4 cars plus mine, 5th in the jungle on a Monday afternoon. Hate to do a roll cal for last weekend attendance. I got my video of the birds "full frame", but were out of focus. I still do not know how to focus my newly acquired toy manually.

I left the nesting spot and tested my luck. As reward I got a beautiful bird. A common bird but look at that yellow on the under part. I was attracted by the yellow below the throat. The last time I shot this bird was in Rengit. Today, I got my fill. What a satisfying trip! All because of a common bird.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

3 nestings in Rimba Kiara

27th March 2010

I was caught with the urge to learn more about videos. Recalling that I started my birding many years ago doing video. Those were the days, I used the video to bring the scene back home for ID. Now I need not ID birds but rather interested in getting meaningful images for posting in U-Tube.

Whether it is Video or not, opportunity comes in various form.

When you least needed it, like this day the Blue-throated choose to perched rather low to me.

Oh! I still need to go through my rituals of checking on the chicks.

There was not much action in the Brahminy nest!

I could see a white head, most probably that of the parent seating on the eggs

Then there was this newly found Oriole's nest. I could see 2 chicks. But on second thought, I better transfer the going -on back to my own web sites to monitor the progress. If you interested, you could see it here

I only hope I am given the chance to se its fledging.

The Goshawk chicks still remain mysterious. I could make out 2 chicks, so far to date I have not seen them in action, merely lying low in the nest.

I am glad that the park is so near to my house. I could be there to make daily check

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Two active nests

21st March 2010
It's a Sunday and I have not a place in mind where I could be doing some productive birding. Then its time to check on the Kite's nesting nearby. Into the park I went and started with the video. First to come to me were the a pair of Ioras. That's the spot where Tan joined me. We updated each other on the going-ons, and like Park Rangers, we inspected the various points of interest. First stop the Kites. Just then, a pair of Bazas dropped by. Some 300 meters away with the Sun as back drop.

Bazas normally played the role of "Back-sweepers" during the north bound migration period as I had monitored them in previous years. This time was no exception, they showed but didn't get that close for a picture.
Oh! Before that one picture for the Ioras that I was toying with. The same mistake happened this morning. I did not get a picture of those Ioras too.
Tried getting a still from the video clip. Here is one to show. Just a recognizable picture but nothing of quality. So for the record!
On Saturday, we surprised by the calls of the Collared. Even more shocked to spot a pair of them. This bird like winter's visitors had been sighted and remained in the Rimba Park for a long period last year. Then that one bird was gone. This year, a pair. Good that we have taken note of its appearance.
Picture I made on Saturday. This day, we did not look for them, neither did we hear any call.
Coming back to my chore for the day, here is one shot of the Brahminy seating in the nest.

The picture below is supposed to show glimpses of the 2 Goshawk's chicks. Still in downs, their heads occassionally raised above the edges of the nest. Don't strain your eyes, they were not seen here. For me, I could only detect their tiny movement through the variations while flipping through a series of the same pictures in this series. Next report, hope to show you clear view.

While showing Loi the Asian-brown on Saturday, I caught a glimpse of a different bird dropping by. Caught you this time!
This is a female. The male dropped by too but higher up in the canopy level and blocked by twigs. All Tan could say was "It is a very beautiful yellow bird!"

But after hours of watching the Asian-brown, I was getting disillusioned that from the colors at its wing tip, this could be a different Flycatcher. Thank goodness, there were a few other Asian-brown around. That's the reason I had made a joint picture to confirm the similarity.
We had plenty of time to split hairs. An example! Nice question asked was "why did this Kingfisher wears such fade off colors?"
Is this an old bird with fading colors. An interesting point to do some research.

Same spot, same species but different happening. Not for comparison of colors. A pair were perched in the on the rail again. I got this wonderful shot when large Raptor flew by. Could not make out what this light grey Raptor was but it gone behind the trees. I didn't miss the Kingfishers who were also keeping their fixed on the new intruder.

An interesting morning, with good company and plenty of bird talks. Of course the harvest for the day was not bad too. Back home, the quality of video I got for this second batch were disastrous after I set my camera to have them captured in 15:9 format. I have them posted up as well to show the trend of my progress. That's life. Not all action of mine were flawless and not all pictures taken ideal.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another routine trip to Jeram

18th March 2010
I was searching in my archive for pictures of the Javan Myna to complete my line-up of Mynas. There were many in the store but none of them to my satisfaction. I could see that my standard for judging the quality of pictures invariably has improved. At the back of my mind, another assignment, I was itching to go out for some videos. Which better place was there for chioces but to pick Jeram. Upon arrival, the place by the beach was swamped with this nasty birds - Javan Mynas.

Got a couple fo shots. There were not much details of the bird in this picture either. Now I know, the little respect given to this bird also influenced the dedication I put in for a good picture.

By coincidence, the contrast in mood came very quickly. Can see the difference now with this Little Bronze Cuckoo, perched further away and both my feet standing on inch deep mud. I am happier with the take. Unfortunately, no matter how I tried, the face of this bird don't seem right. After consultation with Tou, I dismissed that idea this could be a Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo.

My next prize for the day was waiting for me to be done with the Cuckoo. Perched patiently, the pictures I landed also were the answer to my query from the last trip. With better details and careful consideration, this bird is now ID as the sub-adult of the white-bellied.
To fill my day's wishes, this very co-operative Koel stood by to have my video skills tested.

Of course, the best video I accomplished for the day was not that of this Koel who perched motionless for a long time, but a lone Otter who unknowing became my subject. Moving dramatically from one act to the other. But sorry, no still.
For picture, I found this Heron extraordinary. Perched on the crown of the mangrove forest and with such an unnatural pose.

At my age, almost certain now that I just couldn't remember to do such a wide array of tasks. That day , with the priority of seeking for opportunity to get video, many moments which I would normally spent clicking away were wasted and now ended up without the much needed pictures. The most obvious incident was the time with the Black-capped. No pictures! One possible fact I know now, it would appear that one bird was leaving late or may not be returning home. I saw the same bird at the same vicinity during the last visit. This time around, the same lone Black capped.

Overall Jeram did not disappoint me for that day.

Friday, March 19, 2010

2 Pigeons in Rengit

14th March 2010

Since they started constructing that Bio-diversity complex, the whole stretch of road for Rengit has turned for the worst. The ambience of birding there was slowly eroded when the road with its sides cleared of bushes and undergrowth. This once upon a time, forest trail now is like any other country side road. Gone are the feelings that we get when walking inside a jungle. Rengit is deep shit? Very true, results we got after many visits reflected that sentiments. Much less birds encountered and little chance of meeting up with quality birds. This was how I felt when we had to check up the place.

Upon arrival near the Deer Farm, plenty of birds call at 8.30 am. The Drongos, a pair of them provided the background music.

On this lone bare tree, the Falconet was having its breakfast

The Thick-billed on another trunk was waiting and surveying.
Also on the same tree, the woody was making itself heard.
After spending some time watching all these birds on a single tree, we counted there were actually 3 Drongos, 3 Woodpeckers, a Pigeon and a Falconet.

The action seen in this morning appeared to have started us on the right footing. Well, no quality picture was harvested. After a while, this one single tree did not spell bonus, the birds gone and we moved on. This time till the end of the road

I met up with another pair of Woody again. This time - picking off stuff on the crown of each Marcaranga stock. This season, only woody and all the same species?
Gilbert & Yoke Sim picked up a bird at eye level. No! This type of yellow bird seldom seen foraging in the lower storey.
Of course after seeing our arrival retreated back to their usual canopy level to continue their business.

The level of bird life improved at the area around the guard house. The trees there were over 100 feet tall and the birds happily doing their routine at the canopy level.

A pair of Pigeon were busy collecting nesting materials and did not mind getting down lower where we could get some meaningful images.
The day started with a Pigeon and ended with another Pigeon. Imagine driving all the way there with no dramatic result.