Wednesday, 8 August 2012

White water birding (04/08/2012)

The Sungai Sedim Recreational Forest in the state of Kedah may be well known for its white water rafting facility but to us birders, it is one of the best and easily accessible forest birding localities in the northern region. As we are now in the Ramadhan month (a period of fasting before we celebrate the Muslim New Year or Hari Raya), there were hardly any picnickers along the main river just next to the car park. 

It also explains why we finally managed to photograph the resident Blue-banded Kingfisher despite all our previous visits to the locality. The absence of human activity has made this river specialist much bolder than usual but most unfortunately, my attempt at capturing this striking male bird turn out rather poor.

The white waters of the rivers here are also home to the Chestnut-naped Forktails – another striking species that is extremely wary of humans. Although I wish that this foraging pair would come closer to our side of the river but they didn’t and the images obtained left much room for improvement. Anyway, I am still quite happy with the images in the end. 

However, there are some residents here which are so accustomed to human presence they will let you walk right up to them to capture their images – like the ever-present Pacific Swallow.

And the locally common Whiskered Treeswift.

Both species of Treeswifts are found within the boundaries of this birding hotspot but the Grey-rumped Treeswift is never as tame as the former.

As for the forest birds, this Rufous-winged Philentoma stopped long enough in the sunlight for me to capture a few images.

A male Banded Kingfisher teased our senses and lenses by alighting directly overhead before making his way deeper into the forest.

We also came across some feathers along the access trail. It was probably a recent kill of a civet or some other predator. From the colouration and size, I am guessing that the unfortunately victim was an Orange-backed Woodpecker. Anyone wants to take a shot at this?

And to conclude the trip, the three of us helped ourselves to some local durians. The season for this king of fruits is drawing to an end soon for this year but that is not the reason why we decided to have the durians here and not back home in Penang where it is famous for the best durians in the region. This durian seller has been giving us tips on where birding is good in the surrounding areas. Some of his tips may have been a bit exaggerated like wild Partridges being as tame as domestic chickens but I guess that’s how you keep your patrons entertained and coming back for more.


holdingmoments said...

Stunning birds, and beautifully captured. Always a pleasure to see the birds from your area.

Wong Tsu Shi said...

Nice account, I have yet to see one Blue-banded KF and the Chestnut-naped Forktail here is even more skittish.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Keith & Wong.

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

Interesting feathers!
No idea what it was, so I'll just agree with you on the Orange-backed. Also love the Chestnut-naped Forktail. Wish our forktails up here were as colorful.

Phil said...

Wow - love the colours on the Chestnut-naped Forktails and the Whiskered Treeswift is just superb. You obviously worked hard to get thos pictures. Is that the smelly fruit that is actually great to eat?

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Ayuwat.

Thanks, Phil. It is an acquired taste. You should try it if you have the chance.

northierthanthou said...

Like the Forknale

John said...

I think of forktails in black-and-white so Chestnut-naped always comes as a nice surprise !

Madibirder said...

Hi Mun, You finally got the shots of the Blue Banded Kingfisher from Sedim.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Yes, Madi - after all these years.