Monday, December 27, 2010

Panti :: Rhino Hornbills, Drongo Cuckoo, BKF!

26th Dec 2010 

Lifers : Rhinoceros Hornbill, Drongo Cuckoo.

Yesterday's morning was exciting because I saw two CHEs (dark morph) and one CHE (pale morph) on my way to Panti. I couldn't take any shot as the road shoulder along the Kulai-Kota Tinggi is narrow and traffic was high. And sunrise was unusually early after a heavy downpour the previous night.

I have not being to Panti for weeks and all the usual calls of birds suddenly sounded strange and unfamiliar. It took me a few mins to realize the call at the gantry was of the CHE  on my arrival around 7:30am.

We parked the car near the Hut (Ponduk) and before we knew it a group of 5 Rhinoceros Hornbills flew off from the trees just next to the Hut and perched 200’ away at 100’ ht, barely a tiny dot thru the VF! 

I have seen Wreathed, Black and Pied Hornbills before but not the Rhinoceros Hornbill, so I was delighted to get my first lifer early in the morning despite the sensor-dust-sized image on the frame.

And thanks to the two Drongos who helped to flush out one that was hidden on  a tree top which enabled me to snap some shots of aerial hot pursuit! It was the loud and perpetual low tone calls of the hornbill that drive the Drongos mad at first.  Wonder why the R Hornbill did not just turn around in mid-air and swallow them!

Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros)
Enggang * 马来犀鸟サイチョウ
Calao rhinocéroszobákorožec velkýนกเงือกหัวแรด

While waiting for the flight shot of the Rhino hornbills, a female banded Kingfisher landed on my right silently about 20’ high and flew off secs later, I took a quick shot and back to look for the hornbills again, and moment later it was sighted on a lower branch and raising its crown rhythmically in respond to a male calls! 

It was Wong’s first visit to Panti after acquiring his new cam and I can bet with you he is going to be smiling like a toad for many weeks to come. For almost an hour, we decided to leave because the male did not show up despite its calls were heard in close range.

Banded Kingfisher (Lacedo pulchella)
Pekaka Rimba * 横斑翠鸟 * カザリショウビン Sả vằn
Martin-chasseur mignonrybárikovec jarabýนกกะเต็นลาย

And a flowerpecker landed in front of me needing some attention!

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
Dicée poignardébobuliar modrochrbtýนกกาฝากอกสีเลือดหมู

When Wong sighted a partially blocked "Crow-billed Drongo" on a tree close to his side while we were on our way in, he asked if I wanted to shoot the CBD for improvement shot, I hesitated, take a lazy look at the fat CBD that looked pregnant to me and said why not, while he waited in the car!

Four handheld shots, were all blur so I asked for extra time in order to setup my tripod, close in slowly to my lens's min focus dist of 10' and the sun suddenly shines into the canopy while I took a burst of 9fps, it was a Drongo Cuckoo!  And Wong was trying to kill himself because it flew off just as I turned my head and whispered to him in slow motion “快 …快.........D R O N..... G O ….. C U C K O O…..”

He smiled later after I promised him a Pitta in year 2012!

We both had mistaken it as Juvenile CBD which we have shot earlier at the Ponduk! And thanks to Wong again for this wonderful lifer! 

Drongo Cuckoo (Sumiculus lugubris)
Burung Hamba Kera * 乌鹃 * オウチュウカッコウCu cu đen
Coucou drongokukucka drongovitáนกคัคคูแซงแซว

All my usual Tiger Shrikes must have gone to X’mas Island for holidays, not a single one was sighted, DSFCs and ABFCs were not seen either at their usual spots too, strange!

200m before the First Stream....
But this lovely couple of the Scarlet-rumped Trogons was either having a fight over the party last night or still having their hangover. They were sighted with their backs facing each other by the side of the bunker trail, and while we were setting up our gear to shoot, at least 6 cars and two truck drove past  between us and yet they show no sign of panic or nervous. 

We didnlt shoot the female as it was partially blocked, and she looked just as mad as the male below too. and to tell you the truth, I have never seen such an angry-looking Trogon either.


We sighted a lot of birds just along the main bunker trail and i believe it was mainly due to absence human activities during the festive season. 

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!