Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Camera Highland, 27 years later.....

I never thought i would re-visit Cameron Highland so soon honestly. But when i was asked recently if i could help drive and tag along as a company for a 3 days' trip to the mountain, with all expenses pay for, i couldn't resist and i accepted the 'offer' with one condition, "Just leave me alone when we reach the mountain!"

The six-hour drive was not as taxing as i thought, we reached the town of Tringkap around 5am, it was drizzling, misty and cold, and thanks god the only Kopitiam (cafĂ©) that was opened for business serves “yong tau fu” and hot drinks for breakfast! And 4 Green Magpies made a sudden appearance at low perch right across the road somehow makes me feel really good about the trip, despite the local weather forecast said otherwise.

I would not have come too if not for my birding friends constantly luring me with gorgeous pics of the montane species, in which they claimed bao-jiak (In Hokkien dialect, it means satisfaction guaranteed, or in bird photography context, "guarantee to have their imgs captured")

So for two and half days, i was led to a few locations and each time i was told "just squat here and wait, the bird will show up in mins!" 

I wasn't disappointed of course as i finally got another 7 ticks to my collection. Thanks to all my friends in Cameron Highland! 

Slaty-backed Forktail

Despite the Wagtail made several passes along the stream barely 15' from me, i was only able to capture 2 images

The biggest surprise for the trip must be to the Large Hawk-cuckoo. It was drizzling quite heavily then when it perched right in front of me suddenly. I thought it was a Blyth's Hawk Eagle at first glance and told myself not to shift my setup as most likely it would fly off before i could make a snap.  So i gave the bird quite a few seconds to settle down without eye-contact and then i smiled from ear-to-ear to my friends "We have got a big cuckoo at 11 o'clock!"

Large Hawk-cuckoo

Much to our delight, the Large Hawk-cuckoo stayed for almost 45mins, allowing us to call another 4 birders who were 200m away to come join us, so 6 of us must have got more than 1000 shots in total!

December is definitely not a good month to visit Cameron Highland due to the monsoon rains and year end holidays. Most of the hotels were fully booked on our arrival, but fortunately for us, Mr. Lim MW got us a reasonable apartment with three bedrooms, big enough for 8 of us! Phew! 

 I just need the sugar to warm me up......

Buff-bellied Flowerpecker

Lesser Shortwing

Silver-eared Mesia


Blue-tailed Robin


Blue Whistling Thrush

Rufous-browed Flycatcher

I saw quite a few Streaked Wren-babblers at one of the locations in Tringkap and on one instance, 4 were hopping around my tripod happily in the open where i was taking my lunch just a few meters away, but when i was serious taking their pics, i was just able to capture one shot in the foliage, despite they were not too far away...:(.

And the Streaked Wren-babbler, is known as the "Little Dracula" 
by birders in the North, for its red-eyed and mean looking features.

And if you love the classic Land Rover, you would love visiting Cameron highland too. There are probably more than a few thousand of them still running strongly here.