Tuesday, July 15, 2008
11th - 13th July 2008: Bukit Larut
Took another weekend trip to Maxwell Hill (Bukit Larut)with some other Penang birders. Rather than give a day-by-day account, I'll lump together some of the highlights in themes.
We stayed at Speedy's Rest House again, and the weather this trip was more typically wet and foggy than the last one.
Birdwise, it was a good trip for photographing babblers!
There were several pairs of Streaked Wren Babblers around, calling constantly.
Pygmy Wren Babblers are easy enough to hear at the hill stations; seeing one takes a bit more luck. Seeing one this well - well your chances are as small as a Pygmy Wren Babbler's tail!
This guy was fearless, and I had to back away to be able to focus on him.
See what I mean about the tail!
The roof of the mouth has backward-pointing barbs, presumably to enable holding and swallowing live invertebrate prey.
In contrast to the last trip, Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babblers were both vocal and showy.
I was pleased to get this shot of a Chestnut-crowned Warbler. Though not uncommon, they are tiny and always active, so not easy to photograph.
Grey-headed Canary Flycatchers seemed to be singing everywhere. Their loud, five-note song belies their diminutive size.
Early morning roadside encounters with Rufous-browed Flycatcher and Large Niltava were my only reward for my hide vigils; neither pitta nor partridge obliged!
A female Large Niltava. There were several fledged juveniles around too.
Little Pied Flycatchers are far scarcer here than at Fraser's Hill or the Cameron Highlands.
An interesting plumage of a common montane species. This is an eclipse male Black-throated Sunbird, with a nice white throat!
The poor weather, particularly in the evenings, wasn't conducive to photography, but turned out to be good for mammals - we saw Common Palm Civet, Binturong and this:
A Lesser Giant Flying Squirrel. This photo was taken by Tan Choo Eng, who was brave enough to bring his camera out in the rain!
The weather was even better for reptiles and amphibians, although the razor-sharp eyes of our 'herp' expert - Muin - had a lot to do with it! Identifications are courtesy of Muin, errors are mine!
A face only a mother could love! Giant Malayan (or River) Toads (Bufo asper) are very common. This one 'roosted' every day on our wall.
This is Ansonia malayana, sometimes known as Malayan Slender Toad. It's a montane species, and Muin was really excited to find this one! Unfortunately, it mysteriously disappeared while we were fiddling around with our flashlights, so we only got a few pics.
Say hello to Limnonectes latriceps, otherwise known as Corrugated Frog or Rivulet Frog. The latter name is particularly appropriate for this individual, as it was in a rivulet by the road.
My first tree-frog! This is Philautus vermiculatus - Vermiculate Bush Frog, and I love the way it can cling to a stem like this!
This attractive frog is Rana signata - Spotted Stream Frog.
This one seemed to be the commonest frog judging by the calls. It's Xenophrys aceras - Perak Spadefoot Frog. If you're wondering where I got this wealth of info about amphibians, apart from Muin, I also checked out two great websites; Herpweb and Ecology Asia.
We also found a couple of very cool geckos.
This beauty is Cyrtodactylus pulchellus - Banded Slender-toed Gecko.
Check out those eyes! (Must get a macro lens!)
In case you ever wondered how mosquitoes survived when we weren't around, now you know!
This one is Cyrtodactylus variegatus - Variegated Bow-fingered Gecko apparently.
Muin also found a couple of small snakes:
A juvenile Malayan banded Wolf Snake...
...and this Malayan Mountain Reed Snake,which is apparently rare and only known from the mountains of Perak and Pahang. Though dull above, it has a beautiful bright orange underbelly.
A couple of weird and wonderful creatures to end up with.
A huge long-legged beetle that turned up in our living room.
And a molecricket - a beast about which I know almost nothing!