Choo Eng and I arrived at the locality slightly after dawn and were greeted by the diagnostic calls of the resident Bat Hawks. These enigmatic raptors do their hunting mostly in the dark and it was no surprise to see them preening and resting at this hour as they probably had a pre-dawn feast earlier on.
A Tiger Shrike foraging along the lower levels of the forest caught our attention and upon further scrutiny, turned out to be a juvenile bird. I have noticed from past experiences that juveniles of this species are rather tolerant to human presence and will allow reasonably close approach. This is something that is quite impossible to achieve with the closely-relative Brown Shrike. Anyway, with a little perseverance and coaxing, the youngster made itself available for me to capture quite a few goods images despite the dim lighting conditions.
Thick-billed Green-pigeons used to be reasonably common in my home state of Penang but sadly, its number has decline drastically of late. This species is rather wary of human presence everywhere and I think it has got a lot to do with the fact that it is prosecuted as a game bird. Although we came across this same flock a couple of times, they certainly took the effort to keep themselves as far away as possible from us.
The Brown Barbet is a unique representative of this family of birds as it is the only one without any green colouration at all and it also does not possess the repetitive drumming calls typical of the family. Although it not an uncommon species, it tends to keep the canopy levels of the forest which makes photography rather challenging. However, one of them made my day by alighting on a much lower perch and remained there for a few minutes.
The Cream-coloured Giant Squirrel may be duller looking than the Black Giant Squirrel but it is certainly the rarer of the two and I have had only a couple of encounters with it in the past. This is the first time that I actually managed to capture a few of its images before it disappeared into the canopy levels.
A fruiting tree near the edge of the recreational area of the forest reserve attracted quite a number of bulbuls. A flock of Hairy-backed Bulbuls provided quite a number of good images as the fed on the fruits without much concern of our presence.
Besides the bulbuls, flowerpeckers were also pulled in by the fruits like this Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker.
The Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker is a very handsome bird but my efforts to capture its images do no justice to its true beauty at all.
The Raffles’s Malkoha is another attractive species that we came across but this male bird did not come close enough for any good shots.
It is a known fact that most bird species have beautifully-coloured males while the females are much duller in comparison. That makes identifying a male bird in the field generally much easier than a female or a juvenile. That is so true when it comes to Violet Cuckoos. There is no way that you can misidentify the stunning male bird but I had to wait till I got home and looked over the rather miserable photographs I took to confirm the identity of this juvenile bird.
On the way back to Penang, we took a detour to Bedong which is near the southern border of Kedah state to check on the migrating raptors that will pass over this area as they make their way south. Although the raptors were far and few this time round, we did managed to capture quite some good shots of an Oriental Honey-buzzard which was circling quite low overhead.