It has been a while since I last wandered into the wild interiors of Pedu Lake in Kedah state and my second day of birding with Bob gave me the opportunity to do so. The lone access road that cuts through the forest here is isolated and can spring a surprise or two – especially at this hour. A distant gamebird foraging along the edge of the road got our pulses racing. But when it finally revealed itself, there was no mistaking its identity. Naturally, I was hoping for it to be one of the uncommon species but I have be contented with this common but handsome male Red Junglefowl for this time.
Brownish flycatchers can be tricky to identify but the majority of them usually turned out to be Asian Brown Flycatchers. After all it is the commonest flycatcher despite being only winter visitors. This one had our attention until we were certain of its identity and I obtained yet another image of the Asian Brown Flycatcher for my digital archive.
It did not take long for the temperature to soar and from the look of things, it was going to be another sweltering day. The condition now was perfect for a soaring raptor and true enough, an Oriental Honey-Buzzard glided into view.
The magic of birding in the forest, despite all the challenges, is that you can never expect what you might come across. A red trogon was perched significantly low and one species naturally came to mind – the elusive Cinnamon-rumped Trogon. But I cannot identify a bird based on habits alone. The trogon was exceptionally confiding and we patiently waited for him to reveal his rump in order to eliminate the possibility of the much commoner Scarlet-rumped Trogon.
I do not have enough field experience to confidently identify a Cinnamon-rumped Trogon from the front. Due to the close proximity, my images of the trogon were commendable. A quick check with my mates online left no room for doubts and it was a Scarlet-rumped Trogon. Posterior view was not required. Bob was exhilarated with the find but I could not share his joy. And I am not proud of it.
Our next destination of the day was another forest site and it was the Bukit Wang Forest Reserve. This migratory season, a couple of uncommon flycatchers have been performing well. The male Chinese Blue Flycatcher continued to awe birders from his shadowy domain. Apart from the lighting, his performance was flawless.
Today, the Green-backed Flycatcher was just amazing. This is the closest I have ever been to this uncommon migrant and needless to say, the encounter left me breathless.
Just when I thought nothing could better that, the Short-tailed Babbler refused to be outdone. I have a soft spot for this adorable bird despite its dull colouration. Looks can be deceiving and the Short-tailed Babbler can be quite feisty at times and its behaviour is the thing that earn my affections.
Like the flycatcher, it was literally fearless today. For a bird of the forest undergrowth, open and intimate views like these do not come often and spending time at a stakeout is probably the only way where you can have that opportunity.
How can you not love a face like this?
One of the reasons why this site is such an alluring site is because it is one of the few places where you have a chance to encounter the beautiful Chestnut-necklaced Partridge. I have my fair share of encounters with this game bird but to lay eyes on one moving about the forest floor still does it for me.
The last destination of the tour was the mangroves of Sungai Batu. We came across another confiding babbler and the Abbott’s Babblers maintained our momentum with this family of birds.
When it comes to common birds, very few species can beat the Yellow-vented Bulbul here in Malaysia. However, we cannot hold that against the bird and an occasional recognition of its presence is only right.
However, for the striking Forest Wagtail, its presence will always receive my recognition…
The Mangrove Pitta again proved difficult and despite all my efforts, refuse to reveal itself from the depths of the mangrove forest. For the second time today, the feeling of disappointment crept in. A confiding male Mangrove Blue Flycatcher eased the episode with the pitta and his radiant blue plumage and charm was good enough to wrap things up for the day.