Monday, November 29, 2010

Black Kite

 Sg Balang Jan 2010.

i am still 'grounded' by the recent wet weather, So recently i ran thru my raw files taken in Sg Balang and was surprised that many imgs were not processed yet, so i guess must well spend the time to practice them on photoshop and Capture NX rather than shooting birds in the rain!

These were taken with D300s and the Black Kites were on the ground because of  the menacing White-bellied Sea-eagles hovering in the air, taking control of the airspace's rights from them. 

As i have mentioned in my previous posts, the Black Kites rule the sky in Sg Balang, only in the absence of White-bellied Sea-eagles. 

So thanks to the WBSEs, i was given the opportunity to shoot the BKs in close range.

   "Better be safe on the ground than being pecked in the air!"

   "Oops! Another WBSE is still up there.."

   "Hey you! Stop taking my pic! Can't u see i am stuck here whole morning! GGrrrr....."

   "Ya.....hoo......., the WBSEs are gone! "

   "Here i come!"

   "Get out of my way you little butt..butterfly! 

   "hmmmm, now lets see what is for lunch..."

   "Hey, that fat toad is mine!"

   "Haha! Got you!"

   The toad,"Hey, stop tickling me, stop that!"

So, another toad gone missing in Sg Balang! Never heard from it since..........

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Panti :: 23th Nov 2010

So despite still sneezing i still made a trip to Panti this morning to ease my itch on birding. Bad flu and cough have grounded for days! Somehow i feel that my sickness was worsen psychologically by the same old daily weather forecast in the last few weeks "Sunny with occasional rain and thunder in the morning, and likely rain and thunder in the afternoon and evening!"  Have they forgotten to change the tape! 

If they had added "dozen of Vultures are seen in Sg Balang early this morning".... :)

I was just shooting around the car park and Tower area and my Doc was right, I should rest for another week! Before noon i was already on my way back!

Blue-and-white Flycatcher (Cyanoptila cyanomela) female???

Not sure what the species is for pic above!  Anyone? Unfortunately i only had a burst of 9fps at this angle, by the time i got out from my car it was gone.

Not much luck on Dark-sided Flycatchers! This Asian Brown Flycatcher probably has just arrived last night! Looked nervous and it seems eagerly wanting to venture into the 8km trail for his short term stay in Panti. It was 'hopping' from tree to tree inching towards the bunker trail, just a few shots i lost tracing her. 

According to the figure collected from friends, so far 3 DSFCs and 2 ABFCs have been spotted along the Bunker Trail and Temple Trail at various spots. 

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

The Red-crowned Barbets are the most common and friendly among all the barbets species in Panti. Their calls generally can be heard everywhere, but funny that at times when you really want to look for them, you can't even see one at all. RCBs are often ignored by seasoned photographers for being easy targets! But i love to photograph them! Take a closer look at its gorgeous colors!

Red-crowned Barbet (Megalaima rafflesii)
Takur Kepala Merah * 花彩拟 * ニシキゴシキドリ

Just as i pack my gear ready to go home, this lovely CB Flowerpecker flew towards me wanting a few shots.....

Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker (Prionochilus percussus)
Sepah Puteri Pelangi * 红胸锯齿啄花鸟ムネアカハナドリモドキ

Kenko Teleplus Pro DG TC2X

Naaaah, pic below is not a bird and hope it did not scare you if you have the habit if scrolling down before you read the page.

This was shot with Kenko TC2  on  500mm VR and just sharing with friends on image quality with the Kenko 2X tele-convertor.!

Looks pretty good to me ! Maybe a tad over sharpened?

Pic is not cropped, but usm and pp'ed.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Direction to Sg Balang!

Over the last two weeks i have received many mails and calls regarding the way to Sg Balang. So i made the note in the pics to make life easy for everyone, just download my pics onto your iPad (if you have one!) and follow pic B1 to B7 and you should reach Sg Balang in 1 hour 30mins. Here we go.....

From South to Sg Balang........

If you plan your trip to Sg Balang on weekday, make sure you reach the Town of Batu Pahat before 6:45am, to avoid the massive traffic of factory and school busses starting from around 7am. 

I prefer to go on weekdays because farmers are working, so tractors are ploughing the soil for replantation (~Nov to Jan), i.e. field mice, worms and frogs are screaming to be eaten by the raptors! 

New signboard @ entrance, pic added on 7th Jan 2011

Alternately, you can use the B) entrance which give you quicker access to the infield dirt roads. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Panti :: Sg Balang :: Gunung Pulai

Gunung Pulai :: 10th Nov 2010

The reason for my frequent trips to Gunung Pulai is for the Spotted-wood owl and Barred-eagle Owl! I was only abt 20' from the spotted and a bike came past in full blast and scared it away! It was a 2-hour wait in the bush and hide behind some dying oil palm trees, lots of mosquitoes bites came free as usual. So far the only shot i have got is, not camera shake, the SS was too slow and i stepped on a soft ground causing my whole setup to tilt just the moment i snap! Brilliant!

My record shot of G Pulai's owl! Looked like spotted to me, i could be wrong though...

But the common Flamebacks are always there to entertain! 

Common Flameback

金背三趾啄木鸟ズアカミユビゲラGõ kiến vàng nhỏ

Panti :: 12th Nov 2010

The Red-naped Trogon was already waiting by the side of the bunker trail when I arrived at its usual hang around spot, the 3rd time it shows up on my arrival in fact. I have this stupid feeling that the Red-naped is trying to relay or transpire something to me, perhaps a message from someone. J  

But when my friends came to the same spot last week, a female Diard’s Trogon turned up instead! The Red-naped was nowhere to be seen.  And until now I have not seen a female Diard’s Trogon in Panti before. Arrr.....

Four birders from S’pore Nature Society were amazed that The RNTs did not fly away when they joined me and were extremely delighted the RNT stayed for more than an hour for them.

When I met up with the birders later on another location, I heard the muted calls of Scarlet-rumped Trogon probably 30’ away.

The SR Trogons are always easy to photograph in Panti, just a bit of patience and “sweet-talk’ you could have them perch almost right in front of you! And the birders shake their heads in disbelief, having seen 2 species of Trogons within 2 hours was just something they could never dream of. So i got 4 warm handshakes from foreign birders lasted more than 5mins, a record for me! 

Scarlet-rumped Trogon
Kesumba Puteri*红腰咬鹃*コシアカキヌバネドリ

these alien can hover, flip, hop, and fly, so ladies be warned, I would scream too if landed on my back!

Spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus erythrophthalmos)
Merbah Mata Merah Kecil * 小褐鹎 * コアカメチャイロヒヨドリBông lau nâu nhỏ

Sg Balang :: 14th Nov 2010

I put up a night in Batu Pahat, in Pelican Hotel on Saturday, hoping to catch some owls in Balang in the evening. By the time i reached Balang at 3:45pm, a friend who has came to Balang earlier was on his way back to JB, told me the Barn Owl was perching on a banana tree near the main entrance for more then 2hours! 

And no, i wasn't lucky this time, a farmer who was at the scene told me the owl just took off the moment i drove in!! Now who is going to pay for my hotel bill!

extra single bed for my precious

Pelican Hotel (***) is located along the main road from BP to Muar, with the local hawkers centre across the road and nearest to Balang than any other hotels in BP, this one get my vote.

the car park behind with guard on 24hrs duty should give you a piece of mind to sleep soundly w/o worrying on missing rims and tyres the next morning. 
One double and one singlebed for RM128, breadfast incl!

Last weekend was not a good day for birding in Sg Balang, occasional drizzles in the morning followed by extreme heat in the afternoon seemed to have quite an impact on birds' appearances. Terns were not seen at all and less than 4 Blk Kites were sighted. Even the Blue-taileds and Brown shrikes looked tired!

Black-shouldered Kite
Helang Tikus 黑翅鸢 * トビ * Diều hâu

Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)
Pipit Pinang 斑文鸟  *  シマキンパラ *  Di đá

Jungle fowl? Ayam Kampung? Or Kentucky?

Another Lifer! Myna on a cow's head!

Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Helang Ekor Cabang黑鸢トビDiều hâu

Against the strong back light, the only way to tell the diff between Blk Kite and GSE is the shape of their tails. The blk Kite has straight -cut while the GSE has rounded tail (see pic below)

Interesting to see the Blk Kite behind the GSE for quite some time without initiating an attack.

This is the 2nd GSE i saw in Balang, much lighter in colour, could be a juvy though.

Nikon D7000

I took delivery of my D7000 the day i went to Balang but unfortunately i did not have much time to really test it. ISO was really impressive and personally i would say more than 1-stop better than D300s/D90.

The shutter is a lot more quiet than my D3s in Q-mode. I am so used to the quick AF in D3s that i do find the AF speed a bit lagging in low lightl, this might not be a fair judgement against a pro body i guess!

Imgs looked softer compared to the D3s in raw but i suppose that could be easily fixed in pp.

My major complain about D7000 - the exposure dial (PSAM) which is not lockable, easily moved to another setting without my knowledge while handling the camera, so it is frustrating for me to constantly having to remind myself to look at the setting thru the VF or visually at the knob! Could it be just my left hand???