Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Faith restored...(04/12/2015)

I was a little uneasy as I drove past the archway that leads to the forest of Sungai Sedim in Kedah with a couple of Australian guests, Barbara and Peter, after the very slow start at this locality during my last visit. As the first rays of the morning sun gradually found their way through the dense vegetation, the forest came to life with the calls of birds and my faith in the birds at my local patches, restored.

A male Scarlet-rumped Trogon started the day off by perching on a branch long enough for everyone to marvel at his striking plumage. His persistent calling was the thing that betrayed his presence as he sat motionless at the canopy level.

However, the day did not only belong to the birds. A roosting Dayak Fruit Bat was a rather interesting find and I tried my best to obtain a decent shot in this challenging lighting condition.

The fruiting tree that I discovered 2 weeks ago still had some fruits. And where there are fruits, there will be birds. Although the variety is species present was not as high as my previous trip, the fruiting still managed to provide a memorable experience. Cream-vented Bulbuls are among the patrons on this beautiful morning.

The Buff-vented Bulbul also came for the fruits. Both species of bulbuls are nondescript in appearance but their behaviour at the fruiting was anything but dull.

The high level of bird activity must have caught the attention of this presumably Japanese Sparrowhawk. Due to the angle of the photo, Chaiyan the raptor man himself, cannot be absolutely sure of the identity of this little raptor. Female and young accipiters can be notoriously difficult to identify in the field but their presence will always increase the level of excitement of any birding excursion.

On the way to our next destination, the paddy fields of Kubang Semang, I took a little detour at the Kulim High-Tech Park for the roosting Barred Eagle-Owls. It was a gamble that paid off well as we did manage to find one despite the fact that I had nothing but a huge Rain Tree to show during my last two trips.

At the paddy fields, we were greeted by the huge flocks of Grey-headed Lapwings that are really getting very comfortable at their wintering ground this season.

The adorable stints were present in good numbers as well. Unfortunately, most them were a little too far for my gear except for this lone Long-toed Stint. Smartly-dressed even in winter, this little peep certainly got our attention. 

Little Ringed Plovers have a rather dull winter plumage and this one was trying very hard to get a little attention as well...

The migratory Eastern Yellow Wagtails were seen throughout the day. They are constantly on the move and good shots are hard to come by. So, when one casually strolled by our field of view, it was an opportunity not to be missed.

The final destination of the day was the Air Hitam Dalam Educational Forest. Again, this site did not quite deliver during my last trip and it was a mediocre affair for my guests. The resident pair of Mangrove Blue Flycatchers made sure it will not happen again.

The male was especially cooperative today and although you are almost guaranteed to see him on every visit, he is still a handsome and charming bird. And to me, it is a sin to ignore him when he is performing as well as this. That's a good boy...

Woodpeckers are loud, colourful and full of character. In this little patch of swamp forest, you stand a very good chance of seeing one in action. The Banded Woodpecker is not uncommon here but its preference for the higher canopy levels makes it a little difficult for photography. We came upon this male foraging at almost eye level but he did not stay for long and quickly made his way to the safety of the canopy level.

This site is renowned for daytime sightings of owls and today, a roosting Brown Boobook provided the perfect ending to a rewarding and memorable trip. Life is certainly blissful when everything goes according to plan. May it be a guiding a bird trip or taking a snooze with total peace of mind on your favourite roosting tree.

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