Saturday, June 07, 2008

31st May 2008: Fraser's Hill, Part 1

It was school holidays last week, so we took the opportunity to head for one of the few places that isn't booked solid over this period - Fraser's Hill.

Since there are so many outstanding photos of the 'common' birds of the Hill around these days, I decided to focus on some of the less easy birds to photograph. Top of my list were the 'Ps': Mountain Peacock Pheasant, Long-billed, Malaysian Hill and Ferruginous Partridge, and Rusty-naped Pitta.

This morning I walked out on the Pine Tree trail for about half a kilometer, and set up my hide on a promising-looking stretch of trail...

Sitting in a hide is an interesting experience. You cut your field of view down from 360 degrees around and 180 degrees overhead to a small rectangle the size of a TV screen, thereby diminishing your chances of seeing things considerably. But it does make you concentrate all the more on what can be seen and heard. I notice every flower or leaf that falls to the forest floor, and the changing shapes of shadows as clouds move high overhead. Every dark coloured dead leaf is scrutinized in the hope that it might be a bird. Sometimes birds come very close, even perching on the hide, but I rarely see them. I try to identify some by call and others by the sound of their wingbeats!

On this particular occasion I waited for three hours without seeing a single bird! Then a large group of hikers came along the trail, and I heard the following conversation:

"Oh look, a toilet!"

"No, it's a tent."

"No, it's for birdwatching ... look, someone's left a camera in it."

"Oh, there's someone inside ... Hello - sorry!"

I decided this was a good time to pack up, and headed to Bishop's Trail. I had just started my descent down this trail when the heavens opened, and I managed to find a shelter to take cover in.

Bishop's Trail in the rain!

Eventually the rain stopped, but with the trail now a slippery mudslide and the clouds descending, I beat a retreat.

Jalan Lady Maxwell after the rain.

Back at Jelai Hill Resort I finally got my first bird shots of the day!

This fledgling Black-throated Sunbird crash-landed in the porch of the resort. I picked it up to put it back into a tree but it seemed quite happy to sit on my finger!

Back in a tree, it was soon attended by a harried-looking mother!

The male looks on.

There were several Orange-bellied Leafbirds in the bottlebrush plants behind our room. Having photographed the male last time, I was pleased to get this pic of a female.

Still in misty conditions, I managed to get a couple of shots of a male Black and Crimson Oriole on the Telekom Loop later in the afternoon.

After dinner I went owling, and managed this one shot of a Mountain Scops Owl, unfortunately hiding behind a creeper!

This Common Palm Civet was much more obliging!


boeyzone said...

i enjoyed your naration, dave. and good to see you managed to get so many quality birds. i have not seen some of the birds before. looks like i would need to try overnight trips instead of day trips.

Anonymous said...

Definitely worth at least 3 days Stephen!



Wong Chor Mun said...

I enjoyed your sharing too. Thanks for sharing out "the real birding heavens" of our fraser's hill.

Wwooow.. Mountain Peacock Pheasant a indeed a good sighting that still in my wish list..But I know I due time God would plan that a Mountain PP would cross my path..