Wednesday, 21 December 2011

20/12/2011: Sungai Sedim (Kedah)

I have only gone a short way up the Gunung Bintang access road when I came across a splendid male Siberian Blue Robin foraging just up ahead and this is a species I long to have in my archives. At this early hour the lighting was terribly poor and I had an impossible time trying to focus my camera on the bird. Then something scared the living daylights out of the Robin because it suddenly dived into the undergrowth while emitting alarm notes. And I was pretty sure it wasn’t me. While I was still trying to figure out what took place, I noticed a slithery movement on the road and it was the culprit that made me miss my shot – a Variable Reed Snake. However, it was too small to possibly hunt the Robin but I guess it was a case of better be safe than sorry for the Robin.

That little episode got things rolling for this trip and what a trip it turned out to be. During my 5-hour visit, I managed to record two lifers and more than 60 species including a few very notable records. Unfortunately, the key word here is record. My first lifer, a female White-throated Rock-thrush, stayed in sight long enough for a positive identification only. I did manage to take a shot of my second lifer, the Brown-chested Jungle-flycatcher, but the image turned out to be pretty insignificant. Not only because of the poor quality but it only showed the back of the bird.

I could hardly contain my excitement when I came across a pair of foraging Chestnut-backed Scimitar-babblers. Apart from the fact that this is the first time I have seen this species here, they are truly striking birds and always a delight to observe. I guess you just have to take my word for it…

This male Orange-breasted Trogon on a slightly exposed perch was probably the best bird image of the trip.

A total of 4 Hornbills were recorded at the locality today. The Rhinoceros and Bushy-crested Hornbills were heard calling. A pair of White-crowned Hornbills flew just above overhead with the dense forest canopy between my camera and them. It has been almost 8 years since my first visit to this forest reserve and the distinctive calls of the Helmeted Hornbill can be heard on almost every visit. You can only imagine the amount of pleading and swearing that went down when I took this shot of this amazing bird.

One image did turn out quite to my liking but it was not of a bird. This beautiful Dragonfly was resting about eye level at the forest edge and the green foliage provided the prefect background.

This millipede making its way about some thickets wrapped things up for a memorable trip despite the disappointments from a photographer’s point of view.

On the way home, I made a quick detour into the paddy fields at Kubang Semang to check on the Temminck’s Stints only to find the patch been completely planted with new paddy shoots. However, an immature Eastern Imperial Eagle circling over the fields put on quite a performance and unlike photographing forest birds, it is almost impossible to miss a bird as huge as this right out in the open.


M. A. Muin said...

Nice one Mun! The snake is a variable reed snake, Calamaria lumbricoidea. Good find and it is non venomous. I've never seen it before,lucky u!

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks Muin for your comments and the snake's id.

mike kan said...

Good showing Mun !

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Mike.