Monday, December 20, 2010

Bukit Tinggi :: Mugimaki Flycatcher..

19th Dec 2010

Lifers: Mugimaki Flycatcher, Large Woodshrike, Striped-throated Bulbul, Ochraceous Bulbul.

Last Sunday’s trip to Bukit Tinggi was a last minute’s decision, the 4-hour trip was decided just hours before we took off. So I wasn’t expecting to catch anything rare except some fresh air in the montane resort.

It was dark when we arrived @ 6:30am and we proceeded to the resort as the entrance barrier to the summit was closed. An owelet was sighted on a bare tree just next to the roundabout but if flew off before we could take a shot! A pity because I was able to walk within 10’ of it earlier thinking it was a monkey.

When we reach the summit at 8am, we met up a group of familiar birders by surprise at the car park. Adrian and Alagan, whom I have never met before, gave us a warm welcoming handshake and invite us immediately to join them photographing the Mugimaki Flycatcher before I could introduce my self! 

Mugimaki Flycatcher (Ficedula mugimaki), male
Sambar Mugimaki * 鸲姬鹟ムギマキĐớp ruồi Mugi

From Wikipedia

"It breeds in eastern Siberia and north-east China. Migrating birds pass through eastern China, Korea and Japan in spring and autumn. The species winters in South-east Asia..."

So the Mugis do not breed in Japan despite its Japanese name. And Mugimaki means "wheat-sower" in Japan. Another interesting note is its alternate name is Robin Flycatcher!

The Mugimaki Fc was arguably the most 'glamorous' bird in BT last year, attracted hundred of photographers from all over Mysia and S'pore!  The is the 3rd year it re-visited BT and the bird is basically Adrian's pet! And thanks to Adrian, I was able to get some decent shots of this lifer despite the massive flow of tourist along the spot. 

A bird wave came while we were waiting for Mugimaki Fc to land on our "dream perch"...

Stripe-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus finlaysoni)
Merbah Luris Leher * 纹喉鹎キビタイヒヨドリBông lau họng vạch

Large Wood-shrike (Tephrodornis gularis)
Rembah Kayu Besar *  大鹃 *  オニサンショウクイ Phường chèo xám lớn

Black-crested Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus)
Merbah Jambul Hitam * 黑冠黄鹎ズグロヒヨドリ *  Chào mào vàng đầu đen

Our morning venture to the Japanese Garden was more like an event of equipment display for us.  Lots of people passing by admiring our setup and the only birds shown up were an ABFC and a friendly Streaked Spiderhunter which has the habit of landing closer than my min. focus distance.......

Streaked Spiderhunter (Arachnothera magna)
Kelicap Jantung Gunung * 纹背捕蛛鸟タテジマクモカリドリBắp chuối đốm đen

If you want to visit Bukit Tinggi for bird watching or photographing, avoid Public Holidays, and Sunday during school holidays. Last Sunday crowd was a nightmare for birders indeed, many a time i have to shift my setup at the summit's narrow trail and Japanese Garden to allow crowd to walk thru the narrow passage, and imagine once a kid who could hardly walk rush to grab my tripod shaking it violently asking his dad to lower my cam for him to see! 

But my persistence to walk thru the crowded summit's trail proved a prudent one at the end, the female Mugimaki Fc , ABFc and Ochraceous Bulbul were sighted and imgs captured. The only regret was the calls of OB Trogons was heard at 2 location distinctively, but they never show up.

GCWong, waiting for the female Big-foot to come out......

Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica)
Sambar Asia * 北灰鹟コサメビタキĐớp ruồi nâu

 Female Mugimaki Fc was just feet away from the Asian Brown Flycatcher!

Ochraceous Bulbul (Alophoixus ochraceus)
Merbah Berjanggut * 白喉褐冠鹎シロハラカンムリヒヨドリCành cạch bụng hung

We went back to the Mukimagi's spot around 3pm hoping to get some improvement shot and much to our surprise, the crowd was almost double and our equipment became the exhibits!  Some have asked for mock-up photograph to be taken and overseas tourists were keen on the equipment price and species of birds in BT.

One amusing local, who actually asked how and why we bring the bird all the way from Johor to BT to photograph!

 OK, next time i will put a price tag "US$3/photo"

Calixto, a computer sys engr, was impressed with her portrait taken earlier @ 80'away!

And three Chipmunks came to entertain us before the shower came at around 3:30pm..... Funny that I only take about 380shots for the whole trip, and unbelievably 93 shots were for the chipmunk! :)))

And for those who have not been to Bukit Tinggi......

..and don't forget to bring a wide-angle lens for a FF shot of the gorgeous Black Swan!

And sample video from my early christmas gift, Panosonic LX5. 

Go get the white one and make sure you know how to tickle the sales man at his soft spot, I kneeled, begged, cried and screamed and threatened to scratch his car/face, and eventually got the "Exclusive Cleaning Kit" for a cup of McDonald coffee! 

The kit consists of
- amazing powerful blower
- joby flexi tripod
- soft fabric
- longer strap
- screen protector
- leather wallet
- a multicard reader! 



  1. Awesome Paul,love reading your blogs....Keep up the good work.

  2. Awesome Mugimaki, and a beautiful place at BT.

  3. paul,
    you are killing me.
    Take me there next time. Let's put up a night there and we can shots 2 days. I plan to back in March next year.

  4. Thanks for the kind comment!

    > Ben, March could be late for the Mugi!

  5. That Mugimaki Flycatcher sure the star of the day, flown all the way from Japan.
    Lucky that you meet our BT sifu - Adrian.
    Yes, please come back for Silver Breasted show in march.