Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Keep calm and bird on...(03/05/2014)



I have been told from an early age that one only has to fear two creatures that roam the tropical rainforest of Malaysia – the Asian Elephant and the King Cobra. There are numerous other species of animals that can cause mortal harm but I guess these two, being unpredictable and deadly, are right at the top of the list. I have to thank my lucky stars for not having to face any of them on foot so far. So when Choo Eng and I came across fresh elephant dung along the access trail at Sungai Sedim Recreational Forest in Kedah, it was enough to send a slight shiver up my spine.


The thought of elephants lingered in the back of my mind. I also told myself to be a little more caution today and do not let the birds take over my senses and logic again. That worked for a little while until a Diard’s Trogon started calling from the forest edge. We managed to locate the bird after some effort and it was a stunning male bird. Unfortunately, the shooting conditions really tested my equipments’ capabilities.

A male Red-throated Barbet foraging way below the canopy level is something you do not get to see very often. Barbets on a whole are usually heard rather than seen. Their persistent call is the only thing that will give away their presence. Each species has its own distinctive call and easily recognizable once learned.

Another forest denizen that usually keeps out of sight is the Broadbills. Again, their calls are the only indicators of their presence and for most of the time records are based on calls alone. This morning, a lone Banded Broadbill perched much lower than its preferred canopy domain and allowed me to take one single shot before it disappeared out of sight.

Bulbuls are well represented in the forest here but today, only this Buff-vented Bulbul was willing to be photographed. Well, maybe not that willingly…

The Oriental Honey-buzzard can be quite varied in appearance. Sometimes, it is the smallish head that gives its identity away. This individual that was circling above the forest canopy had a plumage that resembled the Crested Serpent-eagle.

Despite their enormous size and the racket they usually produce whenever they are present, hornbills are shy and timid creatures. Even at a far distance and partially hidden, this male Wreathed Hornbill was not too thrilled about my presence and flew off shortly after.

9 comments:

holdingmoments said...

Wow, you never cease to amaze me with the pictures of your fabulous birds.
So colourful; like jewels of the skies.

The worst thing we have to look out for while birding here, is dog mess! I'd swap that for Elephants any day. lol

John Holmes said...

Great variety of forest birds…

Elephants ! Yes, I'd be careful, too

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Keith and John!

Phil Slade said...

I don't envy your birding spots when there might be elephants or cobras lurking nearby. But you have such a great wealth of exotic and colourful birds that I could be tempted. Great pics as ever Choy.

Sulaiman Salikan said...

love it...have yet to visit this location..well done mate..

Tsu Shi Wong said...

Yes, Mun, nice reminder about elephants and poisonous snakes, we have to be careful all the time.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Phil and Sulaiman.

Sometimes we tend to forget ourselves when we're out birding, Wong.

Russell Jenkins said...

Some amazing birds and you managed some stunning pictures, Choy. Amazing, in fact. I can't imagine worrying about elephants. I've nearly stepped on dangerous snakes in oz whilst looking up for birds and stress all birders should be aware of the environments in which they are treading. Bright yellow and red bear signs keep me away from the mountain forests in Japan in the summer which is kind of sad...I guess we are rewarded with being brave as you have demonstrated.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Russell. Well, I don't have to worry about bears here because our Malayan Sun-bear is timid, elusive and very rare.