Wednesday, 10 February 2010

08-09/02/2010: Cameron Highlands (Pahang)

I visited this hill resort for a sightseeing-cum-birding trip with my godfather and his nephew. My “god-cousin” is from America and the sights and sounds of Cameron Highlands really intrigued him. We stayed at the Lutheron Bungalow as it is quite a good birding area from what I heard from the MNS outing here last year.

On the first day, we visited the mossy forest of Gunung Brinchang which is the highest elevation that one can drive to in Malaysia. A striking Blyth’s Hawk-eagle greeted us as we traveled up along the access road. This species is by far one of the most attractive raptors around and I have been trying to add it into my photographic database since the first day I took up photography. This fellow answered my prayers, finally…

The vegetation here emits a unique charm of its own and I always have the feel of being in a foreign country whenever I visit this area.

An extremely tame juvenile White-tailed Robin alighted just next to the access road and we had terrific views from our car. Unfortunately, the area was quite dim and my shots were greatly hampered.

Bad lighting was not a factor with this Grey Wagtail but its shyness was...

The male Little Pied Flycather is an adorable and beautiful montane species – even if he is partly hidden by the vegetation.

We also took a nice stroll on a boardwalk that cuts through the forest and the view was quite breathtaking. As this is not a hardcore birding trip, I actually took the time to soak in the wonderful sights of the environment – something that I will usually push aside.

Anyway, a magnificent Black Eagle glided just above the canopy of the forest as we were making our way along the boardwalk. Now, this is what I call soaking in the sight. Luckily, I just managed to capture a few shots before it disappeared from view.

My companions for this trip who had to put up with my restlessness whenever we were not out birding…

The next day we decided to do some birding along the access road that leads to the bungalow. It is indeed quite a wild and isolated area - much to my delight.

I came across a male White-tailed Robin foraging within the bungalow’s compound. However, I was faced with the same dilemma of the juvenile we saw yesterday. The lighting was simply too dim for any great shots but I am quite happy with how the shots turned out.

I was given another chance to photograph the Little Pied Flycatcher when a male was seen foraging in the compound as well.

In the end, I managed to capture an unblocked image but the angle was a little too steep for my liking….

A soaring Grey-faced Buzzard caught our immediate attention. I was rather excited as this a photo-lifer for me. It was later joined by 2 other compatriots and they were seen circling the vicinity for quite a while. It was a bit puzzling as it is still too early for these raptors to undergo their spring migration.

The last area we visited before heading back to Penang was naturally, the stunning tea estates. The various shades of green spread over the rolling hills really made an impression on my cousin.

The Boh Tea sales gallery at Sungai Palas is quite an architectural wonder – projecting out from a hill slope. With such a picturesque landscape, it is no wonder the guys spent quite some time on the viewing platform.

I did managed to capture some of the birdlife that occurs in this habitat including this head-on shot of a flying juvenile Rufous-bellied Eagle.

Large-billed Crows are a common sight but they were rather wary of human presence.

But their wariness is nothing compared to this extremely shy Long-tailed Shrike. Looks like my hunt for my first clear image of this resident shrike goes on…

This female Oriental Magpie-robin wrapped things up for a rather enjoyable casual birding trip.


zzlaloq said...

reading this made up my mind... cameron it is.. :). happy cny!

terence said...

Great Trip!
great Raptor picture!!!

Choy Wai Mun said...

Best of luck, zzlaloq.

Thanks, Terrence

yen said...

lovely landscape shots, the white tail robin is quite a shy and I triend many times for a good shot but fail, nice one.