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.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gunong Ulu Kali

14th March 2010

I have lost confidence in birding on this montane road. That was years now since they kept roadside free of  scrubs and ferns. This was the normal setting of forest edges. Birds emerged to feed on insects that had gathered and they spent time foraging. For some now, with that type of habitats gone, the birds in smaller numbers still come to this vicinity but no reason to stay by the roadside. They just dashed across the road to the other patch of forested area. Hardly any chance to seeing them close.

This day, the proposal came from Stephen to check out the montane road and I veto-ed that proposal. After his constant nagging, I gave in that we would give it a try, since I needed the Minla. Upon arrival, I selected the spot to park and the stretch to bird.

We waited! But hold it! Holy cows, the whole area crawling with Crickets! Hundreds upon hundreds of them in this angled road curve of 7 feet by 15 feet edge.  

The pet shop operators would strike bonanza here. All that was needed was a hard thump on the ground and the whole area came alive.
But rather strange. Since there was so much food, there was no hungry hordes waiting nor any signs that we disrupt any bird's lunch.

How we wished that the crickets would do the trick of luring a  concentration of forest dwellers.

All we could find was this luminous beetle

At about 4.30 pm, the bird wave ritual started, the entrance led by a flock of 6 Mountain Bulbuls. They were there but no signs of them going after the crickets. They were leeching off the branches of trees,on close inspection, minute fruits. There were fruiting trees.

The Minla, the bird that I was targeting, only a pair did not want to miss the feeding, appeared momentarily.

Another uncommon scene, instead of a flock, only one Sibia, turned up. This bird did not join the bird wave but came alone much later.
The bird wave here was unlike those in Frasers Hills. The birds came by themselves by species. It all happened within that narrow corridor of time.

This pair of Mesia, moved about the branches not seeking for food. The way I saw their movements, obviously in mating mode. Typical of Mesia, they would not stop for a moment. Even this frame captured is blurr on some part of the body.
The Spiderhunter came. Waited on the open branch -then dived into the bush near to us and we thought that it got a cricket. With the long legs seen - a large spider.
Moving away from that corner full of crickets, caught this beautiful species of Scrub Lizard

The Javan Cuckooshrike much associated with the peak of Gunong Ulu Kali remained on trees near to the area of the Radar Station.

When every other birds has done their rounds, the Laughingthrush came. They were the birds feeding on the Crickets. The Chestnut-capped was not among thegroup.

The species that turned up this day was beyond expectation and in good numbers too. Not shown here were the few that we wanted as well, especially the Peregrine Falcon, another Thrush with eye brow and the Flycatchers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Old Pump House Road

14th March 2010

We were In Gohtong Jaya around the Christmas seasons of 2009, we were shocked that the Old Pump House Road was sealed off to facilitate construction and no admittance to outsider. There was no notice posted but the guard on the newly erected guard station was kind enough to give to us an estimate - should be ready and open to the public after the Chinese New Year.

We waited for that CNY to be over plus a couple of weeks buffer. This day, we were there to check out. Situation did not changed a bit. Construction was still going on inside. This time, the guard gave us more details. An electric fence was being installed together with guard station and sort of warehouse. He took a safer stance saying that he presumed that the work could be over by May or June this year.
Satisfied, we mentally register our mind when comes to future planning. So without that route, we went for the fall-back -The Awana Trail.
Weather was less than ideal. No mist and no rain but the air was still and the place shrouded in darkness like that before a heavy downpour. Hardly any call.
First and only bird we met was a Orange-bellied Leafbird. Then, the mono-tone calls from Hornbill.

Not long to wait, the big bird appeared on the higher part of the slope across a valley.
The picture -when it landed.

Another one moment later, the Hornbill dashing off.

There were chances of we getting flying shots of the bird gliding away. But the pictures would be low grade due to the poor lighting and long distances away.

Then it stopped and perched. Nice grandstand view across an open valley.
About a kilometer away.
Such glimpses of one bird that broke the monotony of a otherwise dull day in our birding record.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Rufous-collared Kingfisher

13th March, 2010
Had a fruitful visit to the Blue-eared and this day's turn for the Rufous-collared Kingfisher.
This Saturday as with other mornings of the week started as a gloomy mood. I waited until 8.30 am for my electrical shop to open to get my missing link. Normally I would be in Perdik by 8.00 am but there was no need to rush this morning, I had specifically target the Kingfisher, I think they are not early birds.
While on the main road in Ulu Langat, the weather turned good and the sun was shinning. Made my turn into the tiny country road, I was greeted by a long line of trainees. They were heading for the waterfall. Somehow they would be out there plus support group loitering in the area. My dream of quiet birding session just vanished?
Wait! a bigger shock I got when I reached the T junction. The place where I used to park my car, the road with the broken bridge, where I do my walk-about for birding, completely filled with cars. And people! Oh! My birding ground turned into the stage for the film set. Quick thinking and no investigation, I took the left turn fork into the jungle park. Third surprise for the day. Right at the bend, there was a group of guys already in the midst of their business with their bazookas. Cornered with limited choice, I parked car next to where they were "perched".
I told them that I was there for Rufous-collared Kingfisher. Expressed surprise?
They went into action and a batteries of calls brought the whole forest awake. There were Rufous-collared, Dusky and Hill Mynas.
Within minutes -someone shouted "One on top". A few more hops within the next the 15 minutes, it came to the tree and a branch overhead. Here this is, I got my first proper picture of the bird, with their "help".

At last, I completed my assignment of getting that much needed picture. A start for me as I wish to get better pictures. But with crowd, the bird would not come to the lower storey. You can be sure that I will be back on a non working day with more hope. Right now, this period would be a week of school holiday and Perdik is one of the "No No" places.

The Blue-eared fledged

12th March 2010
I won't say that I didn't purposely went into hibernation waiting for my luck to change but I was really below par after that dinner. So the body needed the rest.
Been few days down and time to be out.
This time arriving on the spot beside the T junction for the Blue-eared once more. The materials I used for seating and waiting in my last visit were all intact. Could see that the place did not attract much visitor nor fisherman. Of course for the day, no more hindrances and no more excuses for not getting my pictures. Settled down and waited one hour. Again no show.
A White-throated came to occupy that perch. Even made a couple of dives into the river, right in front of my eyes. Yet, no Blue-eared!
Would the larger Kingfisher had taken over its tuft? Very likely, but still I should wait for a while. The break came when I saw a dark brown shadow of a small bird that darted across the T junction skimming over the water surface towards the Bamboo clump upstream. So the bird was around and possibly up in the Bamboo clump again.

Squatting and crawling with my hide over me and camera, low profile eh! I approached that clump of Bamboo. Couldn't see much but shadows of 2 birds making exchanges. Shoot first, through the network of twigs, sorry nothing of quality came out.

Then one bird off, leaving behind this. On closer look -  a fledgling!

 Yes, the Blue-eared's chick fledged! Stood exposed unable to move very much but quietly chirping away. I was too close for comfort. Both parent came. Exposed themselves to me in a brave attempt to lure my attention away.

This picture is typical of the result I get from the hazard I faced. Putting the camera on manual focus I still could not make much out of the scene.

This day, I accidentally stumbled into the fledgling and I could not capitalize on the situation. I am happy that I was given the opportunity, time to leave the family alone. Now that one nesting is over, I cannot say whether the Blue-eared would continue spending that much of time in that favorite perch.

Blue-eared - Here I come!

3rd March, 2010
That elusive Blue-eared! Dodged me from one place to another. This time I've got the best fix on it. After the tip off by Madi, made a recce earlier to the place, saw the bird flying past 3 times and no perching.

This morning I hoped that my luck would not be that low. Upon arrival, I saw 3 fishermen hanging around the T junction. Oh No! Not again.

Still I waited, the Little Heron hunting in the stream flew up the "bridge" to check on me.

 Chi! Chi! Chi! The bird stopped. Not on the bough overlooking the stream but within the Bamboo clump opposite. Just long enough for me to run a few shots.

Very quickly it was over and never to return, so long as I was there.

Wait for 2 hours and no sign. A pathetic wagtail came to the river kept me company for a while.
Time for the fishermen to leave too. Both went out and another went upstream to continue his quest. Couldn't understand why he overflew the usual perch, I left only to find out that the bird was all the while waiting in the lone Bamboo clump.

For me, it is a day to confirm that the bird followed a pattern. Not on the bough but flew to that lone bamboo clump some 50 feet upstream.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Close encounter with the "Flying Carrot"

28th February 2010

There were postings on the Multiply about the Rufous-collared being spotted in Perdik. Those pieces of news also coincided with my long absence from that destination. So it was time for me to make that habitual trip. Rather unusual was, this time the trip fell on a Saturday, when holiday makers would be around.

Once at the spot, the place looked very quiet and the leaves thatched "resort" was deserted but looked well kept. Walked into the compound. The family of Banded Broadbills were enticing me with endless calls from a few directions.

Drongo Cuckoo were common bird in the area. Perched low and looking sedated. It is a matter of having good eye sight and easy to see them on each trip, they should be around most time. This one an acquaintance Yee alerted me to its perch.

While we had enough and wishing that we could get the front view, the bird obliged.

The next pix was the highlight of the day. The Rufous-winged aka Flying Carrot as known in our circle had settled down in a secluded area and using it as their place of normal residence. Knowing it now I need not wait for it at the bridge, but just stalk it around its normal hang-out.

An event not within my routine, this forest Lizard just popped out from a decaying trunk. Beautiful specimen.

Lastly, I saw this big bird flying in. Stayed high, nerviously exchanged a few perches. Without warning it came down to the road and I was about 30 meters away in full view. I could not verify whether the bird was feeding on seeds dropped to the ground or grains left by some one.

Another short visit for me as I had not taken my breakfast. Very fulfilling trip too as I got most birds in close quarters.