Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Northern delights (07/01/12)

The group of four of us decided to do some birding up north and our first destination was the Bukit Wang forest reserve in Kedah. The resident pair of Bat Hawks was resting at their regular haunt. Nothing like a good stretch after some pre-dawn hunting…

It is very unfortunate that the resident Malaysian Honeyguides here have gone into hiding but this locality still remains the best place to observe Bat Hawks.

Hornbills, despite their immense size, are extremely shy birds. The Bushy-crested Hornbills are commonly encountered at this locality but good views and photographic opportunities are certainly scarce - like this male resting near the canopy level at the edge of the forest. Don’t be shy, big guy. I’m not going to bite.

He must have heard my plea and on this rare occasion, obliged

So, I finally managed to obtain a few reasonable images of this species. Although it is not as impressive as its larger cousins, it was still a breathtaking experience.

The Dark-necked Tailorbird is another common species that has evaded my camera thus far but today, it decided to give me a break. This particular individual was a little “sluggish” than usual and I was able to comfortably follow its movements. And when the right moment came along, I took the shots.

To top it all off, it even alighted momentarily on an exposed perch in a well-lighted area.

Our next destination was the Chuping sugarcane plantations in Perlis where a Eurasian Wryneck, a rare visitor and recent addition to the Malaysian checklist, was seen a few days back. Unfortunately, we dipped out on the target bird but we did manage to record a few other notable species in the end. The highlight from this locality was undoubtedly a pair of Plain-backed Sparrows that was collecting nesting materials from the grounds of an open area. Unlike the much commoner Eurasian Tree Sparrow where the sexes are identical, the male Plain-backed Sparrow is rather striking while the female has a much duller plumage. My last sighting of this Sparrow was back in my teenage years and at that time this species could still be found in my home state of Penang. Sadly, it is now locally extinct and I have to travel all the way to the northern tip of the country to see it.


Anonymous said...

Just like the Plain Backed Sparrows, but its name was a bit decpetive, so I must be looking for the wrong bird all the while. Thanks for sporting it for all of us. Choo Eng.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Yeah. I prefer the old name - Pegu House-sparrow.

John said...

Great to see the Bat Hawks in good light..... the few times I've seen them, it was nearly dark !