Monday, September 27, 2010

Panti :: 26th Sept 2010


When we reached the 1st Yellow Sign at 9:00am, we could only drool when we saw a Blue-eared KF was perching low and still and merely 2-3m on our right. We knew that there was nothing we could do as the gear was still in our bags behind the seats, and the BEKF gave us a 30s stare then flew away.

So, a big mistake on my part, as I usually would have my gear setup and place on my lap when taking a ride. And if I drive, the whole setup would be on the window sitting on a big-fat tailored made bean bag, ready to fire on anything that moves, and now I have to keep reminding myself all these simple rules once and again!

( Carlson Hong and GCWong were having a good time with the obliging FBTBs)

By the time we reached the 1st stream, we saw Dusky Broadbills were roosting high up at their usual spot. Must be the heavy rain earlier, the DBs looked tired and only one of them perched low, but far away with much blockage.

So the FBTB’s were called into service and they responded within mins, and we all have lot of fun doing their close-up portraiture shots, all three in a row singing happily in rhythm to our mp3's tune.

Grey-cheeked Bulbul (Alophoixus bres)
Merbah Sampah * 灰颊冠鹎 * ハイガオカンムリヒヨドリ

I walked away and toward the slope later to check out an unfamiliar bird calls, I saw a Grey-cheeked Bulbul on a fruiting tree, so the calls must be something else. Just as I squint hard into the foliage hoping for a lifer, 2 Velvet-fronted Nuthatchs landed on a tree trunk just besides me! And they started charging upside down without caring of my close proximity.

Lifer !

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Sitta frontalis)
Patuk Dahi Hitam * 绒额䴓 * アカハシゴジュウカラ * Trèo cây trán đen

With much excitement, I fired immediately in a point-and-shoot manner hurriedly, hoping that at a preset iso of 1600 my shutter speed should be ok since the lighting was bright, for these birds are really tiny and actively fast!

Panning sideway and upwards are easier or logically make sense for most photographers I guess!! So the VFNs are usually birders nightmares, for their habit of crawling downwards rapidly in a spiral pattern in hunt for tree worms, and they hardly stop moving, or least i have never seen a Nuthatch that perched longer than a sec before.

I remember a well-known birding photographer once said in a forum

"when you see a Nuthatch, just keep firing and hope for the best", and I did just that...

But when I viewed all the imgs later at night I was shocked to see that many were not in good focus, some were with only the tails at the bottom of the frame, and some w/o anything at all in the frame, meaning by the time i snap with downward panning the bird had already gone further down!

So I was glad to have a few good imgs out of the 30 shots in the brief encounter with the VFNs. Few shots because half the time it simply disappeared from my viewfinder and i have to locate them with my naked eyes before i could aim and frame it in the viewfinder!

The VFNs are quite active recently and are often seen lately along the bunker trail, 200m before and after the 1st stream.

( all these while, I wanted a shot like this....but this img is not sharp though)


While heading towards the 3rd stream, a Tiger Shrike* flew across us and perched still on my left, allowed me to snap a few shots from the car, so lesson leant, always have your gear ready while in the car!

We got out the car immediately hoping for more but it had already gone deep into the forest, and surprising, a friendly Red-bearded Bee-eater was calling non-stop and loudly just a stone throw away! The RBBEs are among some of the frequently seen species in Panti this year.

Tiger Shrike (Lanius tigrinus)
Tirjup Harimau * 虎纹伯劳 * チゴモズ * Bách thanh vằn

Red-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis amictus)

Beberek Tunggal * 赤须夜蜂虎 * ムネアカハチクイ

By 2:00pm, we were ready to go home but another two RBBEs and a TS show up by the sides of the bunker trail, near the temple trail and the Ponduk/hut respectively, so the trip was delayed unexpectedly for another 2 hours….

(seen about 200m after the Ponduk/hut, same location as last year's sighting)


While on our way out, we spotted another 2 VFNs on a broken branch far away and probably at 100’ high! It was an active nesting and with the 8x36 bino I could see something like a chick sticking its head out occasionally while the adult bird perched next to the hole, now, if only I own a KATO crane…..

* - Tiger Strikes are migrant species, year 2009 I spotted only 2 along the trail, hopefully to see more of them this year!


  1. So you go again with a crane for the VFN? ha....ha...

  2. Wong, LOL! No way, I shot the VFNs first at diff location, 5km away.

  3. gorgeous shot on those Fluffy-backed Tit-babblers...