Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Changeable Hawk Eagle nesting Part ll !

For some good reasons, I am holding back the posting of the closeup shots of Changeable Hawk Eagle's chick. It is growing real fast and fledging soon, and here are few shots taken last week. I was quite shocked to see its size almost as big as the adult just within a few days. 

And according to another worker I spoke to yesterday, the correct birth of the chick was 8th Feb (almost the same as mine!!), so if the 60-75days is the norm for fledging (according to the info i gathered in google), this chick could leave as early as next weekend!  

All pics (cropped 60%) above were taken with Kenko TC2 
on the 500mmF4, which gives an EFL of 1000mm on
 my DSLR.

I measured the height of the nesting, and it's sitting at 43' from the the ground and a quick survey of the surrounding i realized indeed the nesting was build close to a stream, in line with some of the findings for CHE's nesting. Other similar finding was fresh leaves were laid on the nest, probably to keep the chick warm at night as well as cushioning effect.

The stream is right behind the row of banana trees, as shown in the dotted line.

Feeding was mostly by the pale morph and the dark morph spent much of the time guarding its chick nearby. 

One interesting observation was if the female adult did not return by dawn, the male adult would make repetitive loud calls presumably yelling for her return. And if the female did not return with food, the male would hunt for lizard or rat nearby to feed for itself as well as the chick.  

I have no where to tell which is the male/female so I am assuming the pale morph as the female and the dark morph as the male here, unless someone tell me otherwise.

There are quite a few species occurred here such as the Pink-necked Pigeon, Black-naped Oriole, White-collared Kingfisher as well as Brown Shrike, besides the usual Mynah, Dove and Crows. But the biggest surprise was the Banded Bay Cuckoo. Its calls were heard frequently around 6pm but unfortunately I have not sighted it yet.

So when I heard the BB Cuckoo calls on the 26th, I was excited and immediately scanned the whole 10acres of durian plantation on foot but instead I saw an Indian Cuckoo!!

It looks like I will be visiting this durian plantation more often soon that I had thought earlier!

Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus)
Sewah India * 四声杜鹃 * セグロカッコウBắt cô trói cột
 Coucou à ailes courtes kukucka krátkokrídlaИндийская кукушкаนกคัคคูพันธุ์อินเดีย

Birds And flora Photography Contest 2011

Thanks to the heads up by my friend, the competition is valid until 30th April.

And here is the link for official webpage;


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Changeable Hawk Eagle nesting! :))))

It was the subject of "Who owns the best tasting durian farm in Kulai?" that lead me to the Changeable Hawk Eagle's nesting! After poking my nose for two days eventually I came to know, by words of mouth, that the location was just 10km from my home! 

According to the plantation's owner Mr.XXX, the chick was born 15days ago and one "black eagle" was seen by him building the nest two months earlier, which mostly make up of sticks nicely packed on a Y-branch just 40' above ground, on a durian tree of course!!  So you could imagine the grin on my face and my excitement because both the CHE nestings I had observed last year in Panti were 90% blocked by the thick foliage of Panti hence resulted no useable shots.

Changeable Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus)
Helang Hindek * カワリクマタカDiều đầu nâu
Aigle huppéorol viactvarýИзменчивый Орелเหยี่ยวต่างสี
Haubenadler * Águila-azor Variable * Lysbuget Høgeørn

This was shot just 60' away from the 40' ht nesting, so do your 
calculation on the dist! 

Although I could go nearer but the nesting is deep-dished, hence
the situation forces me back up the slope for a clearer view of 
the chick.

Only the Pale morph (presumably the female) was seen feeding with a lizard once out of the three days' observation all done between 3-7pm. And the dark morph, presumably the male, always seen perched 30 feet away safeguarding its chick. Crows that came too near to the nesting tree were fiercely chase away.

I spent much time walking around the nesting tree just to see how the CHEs react to my presence and obviously, both the adults were more worried of other birds of prey than an old man looking for some fallen durians below. They must have got used to the workers here I guess.

The two previous nesting sites in Panti did not give me a chance to see both the adults together so I was extremely thrilled this time when both perched on the same branch for more than an hour for me, the only regret was the strong backlight resulting the imgs with very low contrast, but like i always said, I am not complaining!

And finally, could someone PLEASE teach me how to climb a durian tree! The chick is waiting!! :(

"Paul, are you serious of climbing???"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Two More Stars are out!

Panti - 12th March 2011

The Frogmouth's sudden appearance 2 weeks ago must be the cause for the significant increase of visitors to Panti recently. But it looks like more will come soon as two more Stars of Panti have emerged, the Rufous-collared Kingfisher and the Black-backed Kingfisher! Both are highly sought after by bird watchers and photographers around the region.

The Rufous-collared Kingfishers occur in many spots in Panti and they are not too difficult to find between March and August, as their calls can be heard frequently. Two pairs were sighted around the car park's vicinity on my arrival and I soon forgot the Frogmouth that perched tamely nearby.

While most male birds look prettier than the female, the RCKF is the other way round. The pale green and light yellow dotted spots on the female's back make her much more attractive to the photographers than the male. And similar to last year's observation, the female tends to perch lower than the male. So like the Banded Kingfisher, when you see a female at low perch always look out for the male on top


Rufous-collared Kingfisher (Actenoides concretus)
Pekaka Rimba Besar * アオヒゲショウビン
Martin-chasseur trapurybárikovec zelenohlavýМалайская альционаนกกะเต็นสร้อยคอสีน้ำตาล


The Black-backed Kingfisher, as commonly known as the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher now, is one species rarely seen compares to its cousin, the Rufous-backed Kingfisher, so let alone taking its photograph. 

But I was indeed lucky this time as my friend Mr Ong had shown me the bird which he snapped a few sec earlier was still within sight, and after a 100m hot pursuit in the forest without leech socks again, managed to get one decent shot. 

Another 5 leeches (besides the 8 I got for the RCKFs earlier) on my feet literally turned my white Nike socks into Ferrari Red, but it was worth it as I have only seen the Black-backed Kingfisher 4 times over the last two years in Panti.

And I have to admit, the Black-backed Kingfisher is the most beautiful bird in Panti, for me least!

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx erithacus)
Pekaka Api * 三趾翠鳥ミツユビカワセミBồng chanh đỏ
Martin-pêcheur pourpré rybárik džunglovýТрёхпалый лесной зимородокนกกระเต็นน้อยหลังดำ

I met up some friends later at the Tower and an over-fed Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker that perched still for 30mins gave us much photography joy. It was seen earlier feeding frenziedly on a fruiting tree next to us.

Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker (Prionochilus percussus)
Sepah Puteri Pelangi * ムネアカハナドリモドキ
Dicée poignardébobuliar modrochrbtýПерсидский цветососนกกาฝากอกสีเลือดหมู

all guns were at the Crimson-breasted flowerpecker!

The Frogmouth was easily sighted near the same location again and provided much excitement to those who see and shoot the very first time. And you would grin like us when your hear its call, an eerie, ghost-like scream simply gives us uncontrollable laughter every time.

Javan Frogmouth, female

Raffle's Malkoha, female

Red-naped Trogon, female

And just in case someone (the same guy actually) ask "Where is the male Red-naped Trogon that you always say easily find?", See pic below which I took behind the satisfied couple, whom later bought me sumptuous dinner! 

Take a closer look at her camera's LCD screen! Fullframe I think! :)))

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spotted Wood Owl

Gunung Pulai

Spotted Wood Owl (Strix seloputo)
Burung Hantu Berbintik * 点斑林鸮マレアモリフクロウHù phương đông
Chouette des pagodessova pagodováПагодная неясытьนกเค้าป่าหลังจุด

Six months of endless pursuit, my wish of getting a close up shot of the Spotted Wood Owl in Gunung Pulai was granted finally, in a very unusual way. It crashed into a tree not far from where I was trying to get some flight shots of a woodpecker! 

And glad that the Owl finally took off safely 2hours later without serious injury, and surely wish to see her again soon, without the crash I hope!


So I failed again in getting the flight shot of the Common Flameback! But who is complaining! :)))

Monday, March 7, 2011

Javan Frogmouth!

Panti 5th March 2011

The is one species that has caused me many sleepless nights! When a pair together with a juvenile appeared last year, photographers flocked to Panti but I shy away from the crowd, thinking if everyone could get it easily then It must be easy for me!

Big mistake, three weeks later when the crowd receded, the three frogmouths disappeared altogether. And for that I spent a number of times venturing into the trails as early as 6am hoping anxiously for one lousy record shot......

So on Saturday, when I learnt that three of my friends has chance upon a frogmouth in the trail, I was thrilled! And after much persuasions, tickling and unlimited offer of my homemade GLGs,  I went later to the given spot, praying hard that the bird of toad would be there for me this time!

The 3 heroes were handsomely rewarded with the tipoff of the frogmouth!
L-R : Chris Li, Calvin and Micky

Without leech socks and in a trail that is infested with thousands of the blood-sucking little eel-like creatures, the Frogmouth was spotted half an hour later, 6 leeches were already having big feast on my juicy legs, but i guess i have enough blood for a thousand more so without delay, I proceeded to shoot without bothering the 6 fattening leeches!  

The Javan Frogmouth is not easy to spot in the dark forest canopy of Panti, it just appears as a dead leaf and now I believe I must have walked past hundreds of them without noticing. In fact when it perched on another branch two feet away, I couldn't even find it for mins after shifting my gear.

But thanks god it's tame! I am still grinning like a toad, after capturing two hundred shots of this precious beauty of Panti.   :))))))!

 staring and frowning at me as if she has been 
looking for me for a long long time!

Javan Frogmouth (Batrachostomus javensis)
Burung Segan Jawa * 爪哇蟆口鸱  *  ジャワガマグチヨタカ
Podarge de Javažaboústka jávskaЯванский лягушкорот * นกปากกบพันธุ์ชวา

Last Saturday was not a fruitful day though as there were not much bird activity along the main bunker trail. So i made a trip to the old spot where the Blk Magpies used to hang around,  and the usual 2 showed up an hour later. Spending 30mins simply walking around to gain their trust eventually I was allowed to approach slightly nearer to them this time.

But I guess i will be back for more of these black birds.


                                                                   Dark-throated Oriole

                                                            White-bellied Woodpecker

I saw this gorgeous spider near the Green Tower fencing, below is actual uncropped shot at 10', which is the min focussing for my lens, not surprisingly also the same dist I dare to go near to this giant Spider!

Below @80% cropped! Thanks god that it couldn't fly and hop around to attack!

And this pic of bird is the funniest i have seen! Poor Woodpecker!

Obviously a so-called "The True Nature Lover" was frustrated with photographers flashing at the nesting woodpeckers, so he decided to "relocate" the woodpeckers to another hole,  A plastic Coke bottle was plugged into the hole and a note to vent his frustration.

But the woodpeckers keep coming back to their home! 

Photo copyright of Kmsim, S'pore and used with permission here.