Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus sumatranus), Tj Piai

The Chestnut-bellied Malkohas are quite frequently seen in Panti Bird Sanctuary along the main bunker trail. But they tend to perch high, and often not in the open. I have photographed quite a few times but wasn't very happy with the imgs captured.

In my 4th trip to Tj Piai on the 25th Sept 2009, we spotted 2 CBMs of unusual behavior near the jetty. They were shuttling non-stop to-and -flo across our path and just inches away from our setup and bodies.

And on two incidents its wings were touching my back and tripod rexpectively, as witnessed by my friends, Boon, GCWong, and Ong.

Many times we were trying to avoid being crashed by them in the limited space of the jetty narrow walkway!

One of the them was with food in mouth, the other was just calling non-stop. Luckily for all of us, after all the commotion, they got tired and perched for few mins at eye-level just 15' from our setup

*Imgs abv were shot with D300 500mm VR F4 TC1.4

Monday, August 30, 2010

Buffy Fish Owl (Ketupa ketupu), Tanjung Piai

One of my most unforgettable birding trips was capturing the imgs of this BFO in Tanjung Piai, on the 25th of Aug 2009. It was my first visit then!

The owl perched right behind me silently while I was setting up my gear in one of the trail, and my nephew, Cliff Khew, who spotted it first and said "You better take a quick look at this, something really huge, and close!". That sent a shiver down my spine, for I was thinking it must be some kind of man-eating animal inching towards us, like the Giant Python or a ferocious crocodile.

As i turned my head slowly looking down, expecting the worst.... Cliff pointed up with a big smile....."Look!"

My setup then was D300 with 500mm TC1.4 , Cliff was with D90 and 300mm F4. The BFO was cooperative, making all sorts of eyes and head movement as if dying for our portrait shots.

So both Cliff and I were frantically filling up our mem cards and we tried all kinds of settings one could possibly imagine, from diff WB to diff flash setting...low iso to high iso, MLU to machine gun firing.....we even exchanged our lenses!!

It only flew away when i tried to close in for a side profile shot 45mins later...

Subsequent visit to Tj Piai later we did not see this BFO again, and were told by the management that it was always seen at the pond before the ticketing office early in the morning 5-7am, and after 9pm at night.

Other species seen/img captured; Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Streak-breasted and Sunda Woodpecker, Purple-throated Sunbirds, Collared and Blk-caped Kingfisher, Jungle Fowls, White-eyeds, Oriental Magpie Robin, White-throated Fantails, Braminy Kites, White-bellied Sea Eagles, Blue-throated Bee-eater, cuckoo (??), Ashy Tailorbirds etc and common migratory shore birds like sandpipers and plovers etc. Will upload more soon. :)

Tanjung Piai is located in the southernmost point of Johor, Malaysia, so it is also known internationally as the southernmost point of Mainland Asia.

For more info abt Tj Piai please visit their website at:


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fluffy-backed Tit Babbler (Macronous ptilosus)

FBTBs are generally very easy to shoot in Panti around this time of the year. Habitually hang around underneath thick undergrowth of fern near swampy area or adjacent to streams. My fav spot is at the Swamp before the Elephant Trail of Panti.

Although they are easy target, but getting a full body shot can be frustrating at times, as they prefer to hide partly in the bush while responding to your calls. Fortunately they do like to perch clean for a brief moment just once in a while so you have to be quick to act within seconds.

This image was captured today with full side profile at a distant of 10' with D3s 500mm VR F4 ISO 3200 f11 1/80s.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Black-and-red Broadbill (Cymbirhynchus macrochynchus)

I don't remember sighting a single BRBB in Panti in 2009. But in June and July this year, they appeared suddenly out of nowhere and started to build nests frantically around the Green Tower.

Generally they are quite shy and they always seemed constantly on the look out for imminent danger. Hence, if you rush to set up your gear in front of them upon sighting would most likely to scare them away with no show for 1-2hours..

These brightly-coloured birds can be friendly and perch low (around 6-8' ) and close (10 to 15') as long as they are given sufficient time to be comfortable with you. I usually hang around near them for 20-30min without direct eye contact before snapping at them.

Many have asked me the trick of having 2 of them perched together, I guess the only explanation is I was shooting alone, camou cloth over my head and the surrounding was really quiet that day. They do always perch close together as far as my observations are concerned.

The high iso capability of D3s enabled me to shoot these BIF shots early in the morning at iso6400 1/800s to 1/1000s. Imgs were superimposed as you could easily tell in the different building material it carried. :)

Oriental Dwarf Kingfishers

When I started birding photography last year, sighting of ODKF were rare despite my frequent trips to Panti. But then again i wasn't experienced enough to look for them :) !

Year 2010 the situation turns around, and much to the photographers' delights, between April to August alone, nestings were spotted at various locations.

Sharing some of my fav shots here...