Jun 23, 2011

The Sultan Tit (Melanochora sultanea) 20.5 cm

Just like other birds with black feathers over the eyes, makes for getting a 'balanced' contrast much more difficult. More so with changing light conditions as the agile bird skip-fly from one perch to another. However with determination all shall prevail with good pictures of this yellow crested bird. Perhaps because of it's 'royal' yellow that it was named Sultan or King.

Lesser Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna javanica) 38-41 cm

During the trip to the Ox-Bow lake near Sg. Mati a total of 5 Lesser Whistling Ducks was sighted. Two of them were seen flying around the lake and the other three were quite contented just wading and enjoying the cool waters whilst at the same  foraging. The numbers have reduced from the 9 birds sighted during the first visit. Wondering if trapping them for food by local villagers ignorant that these are 'wild' ducks is the cause for the reduced numbers. :-(

Common Shrike (Juv) Tephrodornis pondicerianus, 14.5-17.5 cm

This lone bird was feasting on the white moths which could be found in abundance after the overnight rain. It was unusually 'tame' and unafraid of human presence as it went about picking it's favorite meal. It's indifference to human presence could be due to being just a juvenile and without an adult to raise the 'alarm.'

The Red-tailed Racer

I came across this beautiful snake on one of the recent birding trip in the highlands. Upon checking up up it's ID the following is a description for this specie.

The red tailed racer is a medium-bodied arboreal rat snake that occupies lowland to mid-level rainforest. They are common and widely-distributed across the Peninsular. They are usually completely green except for the yellowish labials and lower cheeks. A faint stripe runs from the snout through the eye and fades off towards the neck. The tongue is blue and the tail tip is a dark rusty brown.

Red-tailed rat snakes are aggressive and flare up their throats and bodies when under duress. They hunt birds and rodents in the wild, using constriction as a killing method. Gonyosoma oxcephalum can be differentiated from Elaphe prasina by their much larger size, stripe through the eye and rusty brown tail; features that the green tree racer lacks. in Southeast Asia, this species occurs in Malaysia, Borneo, Thailand and Indonesia, some with different colour forms

Here are a few photos.

Jun 22, 2011

The Black & Yellow Broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus) 15 cm

It is one of  7 species of Broadbills to be found in West Malaysia. This colorful bird never fails to create a stir amongst bird watchers whenever one is sighted. In a recent birding trip we were in luck when a pair flew close to our position. As if checking us out they flew 'sorties' above and around us before perching on branches nearby.

Here are photos for sharing.

Jun 20, 2011

The Ox-Bow Lake - Chapter II

On June 18 I made a second visit to the Ox-Bow Lake near the town of Sg. Mati, Johore. This time I have the company of the President of  the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Prof Dr. Maketab Mohamed. Prof had made a special stop-over to see and hear the feedbacks from Mrs. Yong and other long time residents there, first hand. I believe he was convinced that this humble lake could be developed as part of an eco-tourism project which will benefit this small town and the village folks. Agriculture and planting of paddy are the main activities which form the back bone of the smallish economy in Pekan Sg. Mati. 

The President went away with an assurance to the village community leaders that he will seek out the relevant government officers and departments in charge of tourism located in the state capital of Johore Bahru. MNS have the expertise to provide assistance in areas of  conservation, the selection of the appropriate specie of fruit trees which will attract birds during the fruiting season. The abundance of bird life will certainly serve as a big draw and attract bird watchers, both local and from overseas. Birding and other related activities will help to liven up this otherwise sedate village.

During the tour around the lake I took the opportunity to 'capture' and record the birds along the way. Here are some of the photos taken in under 2 hours.

            Google map of the Ox-Bow Lake 

             Common Iora 

              Greater Coucal

                 Purple Heron

Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker

               Red-wattled Lapwing

             Cinnamon Bittern (non breeding)

             Lesser Whistling Ducks

Jun 14, 2011

Black and Red Broadbills (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos) 23 cm

Discovered these two nesting Broadbills by accident, albeit a pleasant one. Both birds were flying in and out their nest built high up for safety from potential predators. Watched the goings-on for about 15 - 20 minutes before moving on to other locations.

Here are a few photos for sharing.

          The hard working pair

The nest 

Jun 13, 2011

The Rhinoceros Hornbills (Buceros rhinoceros) 91-122 cm

It was an exciting moment to see a pair of these big birds, again. My last encounter with this specie was in April or May last year. Their loud calls could be easily mistaken for that of large primates.  The calls were heard at the right hand side of our position. Instinctively our eyes looked skyward but saw no movements. A short while later one of our birding mates called out and pointed towards the sky. This time we saw a silhouette resembling that of a large size hornbill partly eclipsed by the almost noon day sun above us. The ID could not be made out. We were a little disappointed.

It's calls could still be heard. It has obviously perched on a branch, well hidden under the cover of thick leaves of the trees which stood between us and  a clear view. A short while later we heard another call and upon looking up saw another bird flew from right to left to join the first one. This is the mate. And our luck seemed to take a turn for the better! Through the thick leaves and branches we could now 'pick out' the two lovely birds.

Below are photos of both of them!

                    The first one which arrived, probably a male was approximately 200 ft up

Semi-cropped pix below show the actual distance from camera

The second one, could be a female 

Jun 11, 2011

Spectacled Spiderhunter (Arachnothera flavigaster) 21.5-22 cm

Watched 5 Spectacled Spiderhunters feasting on the sweet nectar of the aftrican tulips. A favorite food source for these agile birds. The same specie have been sighted in other birding locations feeding on the same flowers.

Jun 10, 2011

The Blue-eared Kingfisher (Alcedo meninting) 15.5 - 16.5 cm

Each opportunity to digitally capture this cute and lovely King is hard to pass up. So when a friend sent an invite without hesitating even one second I inquired where is location and when to meet. It was a most 'uplifting' outing with staking-out for the tiny fella adding to the day's excitement.

Here are the 'spoils' of the day. In my view, worth the cumulative hours of waiting and well earned. :-)

               A shot from a distance to give a perspective of how tiny it is.

Greater Green Leafbird (Chloropsis sonnerati, 20-22 cm

The birds were out early in the morning foraging on a fruiting tree. There were more females and juveniles then male. On this occasion I manged to only capture the female. Did not manged to get any photos of the male bird on this trip. The Leafbirds are an interesting specie. Part of the fun is to pick them out from amongst the color of the leaves. Very unique camouflage.


Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (phaenicophaeus javanicusw) 45-45.5 cm

It's been quite sometime since I last sighted the Chestnut-breasted Malkoha. So it was to my delight when a pair were amongst the early birds which showed themselves as my friends and I were about to set out for our birding outing. A shy and sensitive specie both decided to keep their distance, although we ensured we kept sufficient space between ourselves and the pair. I managed to take in 3 shots of one of them before both birds flew deeper into the forest. Here are 2 photos.

Jun 7, 2011

Lizards of the forest

Featuring three species of lizards which are commonly found in our tropical forests.