Monday, 30 June 2014

It can't rain everyday...(28/06/2014)

Motivated by Adolph's excellent post, I was back again at the forest of Sungai Sedim in Kedah. The first half of the morning was relatively quiet and I was beginning to brace myself for yet another barren outing. And then, all of a sudden, I found myself smacked in the middle of a big birdwave. The wave was like a ray of sunlight on a gloomy day and I could certainly do with a little sunshine right about then. In between trying to record every species that were present, I managed to capture a few record shots as well like this young Grey-breasted Spiderhunter taking a breather from the feasting. 


Velvet-fronted Nuthatches are adorable little birds that scamper around branches and tree trunks like miniature squirrels. They are a joy to observe but a pain to photograph. Their constant movement and the harsh lighting condition really tested my gear. These are probably some of the better shots that I managed to obtain in the end.


 
The Great Iora is the rarest of the 3 Ioras found in Malaysia. It has been quite a while since my last sighting of this species. This female was too preoccupied with the wave that she did not take much notice of my presence and came relatively close. However, the dense foliage that provides her food and sanctuary keeps her well hidden most of the time from me. 


During bird waves, some birds can go into a feeding frenzy and become exceptionally bold and just simply disregard human presence. This male Dark-necked Tailorbird came really close but it also moved off really fast. 


I caught a flash of brilliant green from the corner of my eye and soon found myself looking at the all too familiar shape of a Green Broadbill flying directly towards me. It landed almost directly overhead and allowed me to press the shutter a couple of times before it disappeared into the vegetation. I could not be certain if it was participating in the wave or just curious of all the action that was going down. It was most unfortunately that it alighted against the sun and I did not have the luxury of time to adjust my exposure accordingly. As expected, it was a striking male bird - Murphy's Law at its best. 


It seems like I keep on bumping into Green Broadbills of late (not that I'm complaining) and my second encounter for this trip was this relatively confiding female bird. However, the lighting conditions and distance prevented me from obtaining better images. 



Sungai Sedim offers sanctuary to a few species of Trogon and the commonest of them all is the Scarlet-rumped. Common it may be but dull it certainly is not. A male Scarlet-rumped Trogon (on second thoughts any male trogon) is a sight that will overwhelm the retinal receptors to a level rarely achievable in normal everyday living. Naturally, I gave him the attention and admiration he truly deserves.  



Feed me!! Looks like the resident Pacific Swallows have their ‘hands’ full with the next generation of swallows…


Despite missing out on photographing a flying Helmeted Hornbill, my spirit was still high as I made my way to the canopy walk. How could I miss a bird that has a 3-foot long tail? Well, there were hardly any breaks in the dense canopy where the big guy took flight and by the time I ran to an open area, the hornbill was nowhere to be seen. Despite its enormous size, the Helmeted Hornbill is extremely elusive and shy. In my lifetime, I have only seen it a handful of times in which I only had my camera with on two occasions. The photo below is my best effort so far. A bird in full view just after dawn in Merapoh Taman Negara a few years back. Unfortunately, I still had my camera's exposure at yesterday's setting and the shot turned out terribly underexposed. It was a careless mistake - one that has continued to haunt me till this very day. 


Anyway, the Tree Top Walk at Sungai Sedim is the longest canopy walk in the world. It is almost a kilometer in length and the highest section is over 200 meters above the forest floor. It is no doubt an impressive structure but it has yet to give me any truly memorable encounters. But the view is always breathtaking…



Since today is my day in the sun, I did not end up totally empty handed from my tree top walk. Here are some of the birds that I managed to shoot and despite being on their 'level' for a change, they were sometimes still beyond the comfortable reach of my gear.

Red-eyed Bulbul...


Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike...


Ruby-cheeked Sunbird...

9 comments:

Sulaiman Salikan said...

hope to join you one day big bro...I have yet to visit Sedim..well done

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Sulaiman. Well, if you are ever coming up north to Penang just let me know, ya? Sedim is one of the very few localities left that is still good for birding.

许启文 said...

Excellent , hornbill always on my most wanted list.

John Holmes said...

Looks like there are some great birds to see at Sungai Sedim…. even if they're too far for photography.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Adolph.

Yes, John. This place is still good for birding.

Anonymous said...

Good shot of the Great Iora, 1 of the always there uncommon birds of Sedim.
Choo Eng.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Choo Eng. Not an easy subject at all to shoot.

Sumeet said...

Very nice blog, I just loved watching the images, wish one day I get a chance to go to Malaysia.

You can come down to India as well, we have a pretty varied birding landscape.

Thanks
Sumeet

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Sumeet. I will certainly visit India if given the chance.