Thursday, 31 December 2009

30/12/2009: Bukit Wang Recreational Forest (Kedah)

Choo Eng and I decided to check out this northern forest reserve and as it is the first time for the both of us, we don't really know what to expect.

We arrived at the car park shortly after dawn and were greeted by a flock of Bushy-crested Hornbills flying out from their roost. One of the indications if a locality has any potential in terms of birding is that it still supports wild populations of hornbills. When we were about to leave the car park area, Choo Eng spotted an unfamiliar bird foraging on the road. Upon further scrutiny, it turned out to be a Taiga Flycather - a rare migrant to Malaysia with only a handful of confirmed records.

Although this is the third time in my life I have come across this flycather, I am equally as excited as I now have the opportunity to capture its images. The bird just forage around the car park area, paying much attention to what else but the rubbish dump. It was not particularly shy but due to the poor lighting conditions, the images were not that clear but good enough for identification.

Although it looks like the much commoner Asian Brown Flycather, it prefers to forage on the ground and the lower levels. It also possesses a habit of corking up its tail. You can say that it is one of those birds that when you see, you will know it.

The park itself was quite charming with all the bridges and huts...

Further in, the forest trail cuts through some pristine habitat...
Bird photography in the forest is not easy and in most cases, not many great images are obtained. It is no different here although we managed to record about 70 species during this day trip. The foliage and lighting conditions are major factors you have to face when photographing forest birds. Although this Hairy-backed Bulbul was rather confiding, the dim lighting and shadows somehow made the image lose some of its appeal.

The same goes for this Cream-vented Bulbul...

Hornbills are notoriously shy birds - especially to me. I have been trying to obtain good images of the Bushy-crested Hornbills for a long time but without success. I guess the only reason this female disregarded the attention I was giving her was because she was quite far away and almost half hidden. My patient wait for her to show more of herself was futile. Perhaps I should try praying or bribing...

But then there are moments of magic when everything just falls right in place. It is these moments that make hours of slugging it out in the hot and humid tropical rain forest worth the while. A stunning male Black-and-yellow Broadbill decided to provide the magic this time.

My wife is particularly fond of this species (and so am I) and she calls it the Cartoon Bird. It is quite a logical description for this jungle jewel. It does appear rather comical at times and the blue coloured bill looks so unreal. Thanks, buddy!

Yours truly having a tiring but rewarding time at this new playground...

Bat Hawks are one of the most enigmatic raptors around and every sighting is a bonus. A pair of these crepuscular hunters was seen resting on a tall tree just next to the access road. As the birds were quite high up, they don't see a couple of birders as threat and allowed us to capture as many shot as we wanted. Our maiden trip to this locality turned out much better than I had expected. I can foresee numerous trips to this new birding hot spot in future.

Try to keep it down, wil' ya? I'm tryin' to get some sleep here...

5 comments:

Hawkeyes a.k.a Kiah said...

Hi,
Excellent written field trip report.
Congratulation to you and Choo Eng for the new sighting of the flycatcher. Great shot on the black and yellow, i think it perched quite near from you.
One day, I must visit this place.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Kiah.

Tabib said...

Great finding at 'Money Hill'.
Love that Cartoon Bird.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Tabib

madibirder said...

Wow , looks like a very exciting location for birding. Well documented.