A group of Penang birders including yours truly offered our services to help Universiti Sains Malaysia do a biodiversity survey on birds for their application of a Heritage Site status for the area. We conducted our survey in two major areas that is Gua Kepala Gajah and Gua Gunung Runtuh. This is the area where the remains of the prehistoric Perak Man were discovered back in the 1990’s.
A foraging Long-billed Spiderhunter was tame enough to allow us to enjoy good views and of course, photographic opportunities as well.
We came across Oriental Honey-buzzards on a few occasions and this is the best image that I managed to capture.
Although this Common Iora was resting right out on the open, there was no angle for me to capture a single image that was not blocked.
The Grey-and-buff Woodpecker is always a welcomed sight. However this tiny forest jewel got the better of me and left me without any good images to show - again.
At the other end of the scale, the magnificent Rhinoceros Hornbill was also camera-shy. At least I managed to obtain a record shot which was more than I could say about the pair of Great Hornbills that passed through the same locality minutes later.
This Changeable Hawk-eagle was returning home with supper in the form of a Tree Shrew. There was not much I could do about the quality of the image as it was almost dark at the time. Anyway, the sighting got the whole group excited as well as a few locals that were keeping us company and find out more about what these strangers are up to in their backyard.
We also bumped into a group of USM researchers conducting a biodiversity survey on bats. This Lesser Bamboo Bat was more than a handful for the researcher despite its diminutive size.
Our accommodations were provided by USM and we stayed at their field station just outside Lenggong town.
A pair of Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers frequented the fruiting bush behind the station and whenever we took breathers from the survey, I stationed myself nearby the bush and for my efforts, obtained one of my best images of this common but striking garden bird.
A pair of Large-tailed Nightjars took shelter from the rain by alighting on the gravel compound of the station. The birds rested rather close to the building and we managed to photograph them in the relative comfort of the station.
As it was a 2-day survey, we did our own birding on the final day. We scouted around the shores of Tasik Raban, which was quite close to the station. The scenery and habitat was certainly breathtaking and looks good for water birds.
White-headed Munias are quite attractive due to its contrasting colours. When a flock decided to alight and forage quite close to our stationery vehicle, it would have been a sin not to take the time to appreciate them.
A short detour to the nearby Lata Kuak waterfalls produced a rather confiding female Black-and-yellow Broadbill at the edge of the forest.