Sometimes you can spend hours in a forest and yet, end up without even a single image. The dense vegetation, the difficult shooting conditions, the behaviour of the birds are just some of the factors that make forest photography so damn challenging. However if you happen to chance upon a suitable fruiting tree, it can balance out things in your favour. What started out as a mediocre morning along the access road of Bukit Palong, Kedah turned for the better with the discovery of such a fruiting tree. It was unfortunate that the sun was slightly behind the tree but it was still a rather enjoyable experience. The dense foliage also hampered my chances of obtaining more and better images as well.
The majority of the birds present at the tree were Bulbuls and in the end, I only managed to photograph the commonest species around – the Red-eyed Bulbul. It was not because I was so fascinated with this species that I ignored the more uncommon and striking species like the Ochraceous and Scaly-breasted Bulbuls. But all of my efforts to obtain some reasonable images of them failed to materialize due to one reason or another. So much for tipping the scale to our favour!
A few Ruby-cheeked Sunbirds were feasting on the lower branches but their active nature made it quite difficult for me. The image of the striking male bird below turned out to be my best effort and there was certainly much room for improvement.
This female was pretty determined to reach for the fruits near the end of the branch and did not mind having to perch awkwardly as long as she can achieve her goal.
The male Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker is another dazzling denizen of the forest. Not really uncommon but again, hard to obtain reasonably good images. So, it comes as no surprise that I got pretty excited when I spotted a lone male gorging on the fruits near the top of the tree’s crown. He was quite confiding but the distance between us was just too great for my current setup to reach.
The best performer of the trip was a pair of Green Broadbills that was resting unobtrusively (after feasting on the fruits no doubt) just beneath the crown of the tree. The female was a real darling and allowed me to photograph her to my heart’s content. That’s a good girl!
Her mate, however, was not too thrilled with my presence and gradually moved deeper in the foliage and eventually, out of sight. As always, the duller one is usually the more confiding one - Murphy’s Law at its best.
While stalking out at the fruiting tree, a Tiger Shrike came relatively close momentarily. Being a pure predatory bird, the fruits are of no interest to it and it was merely passing through.