Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Whistling Thrush Project: Fraser's Hill 19th June 2009

We were up pre-dawn to open the nets, and there were a number of Mountain-Scops-Owls calling nearby. Once the nets were dealt with, a group of us set out to attempt to get to grips with one of the elusive owls. I have twice managed to photograph them before, but always partially obscured by branches (see here and here).

The bird proved to be very responsive to a whistled imitation of the call, and we were soon enjoying great views of the little chap.

The nets proved adept at catching Forktails - we caught a family of Slaty-backed - but there was no sight nor sound of any whistling-thrush.

A Buff-breasted Babbler - their 'pitchew' calls are a ubiquitous sound at Fraser's Hill but they are frustratingly difficult to see well.

Mountain Tailorbirds are another common songster at the Hill, but these are the first decent pictures I have managed to get of an adult.

This juvenile looks quite a bit different from the adults.

Black Eagles were seen quite frequently today - this adult...

...and a rather closer subadult carrying a clump of foliage for some unknown reason.

After drawing a blank at the top gate, we decided to divide the troops, leaving some nets at the top gate, and taking others to set up at Jeriau Waterfall, another well-known whistling thrush stake-out. Jeriau is an interesting locality, because there are reports of both Blue and Malayan from the site. Eventually, after several hours wait, we heard the familiar high-pitched call of a whistling thrush, and a bird alighted in the picnic area below the waterfall.

The heavy build, bill and headshape, as well as the pale spots on the median coverts, identified this bird as a Blue. Interestingly it also sported an aluminium ring, presumably from the Wildlife Department. One of several Slaty-backed Forktials we caught was also wearing a Wildlife Department ring.

At dusk we were serenaded by the lilting call of Malysian Eared Nightjars high overhead.

1 comment:

Neoh Hor Kee said...

According to the book "Raptors of the World" and other literature, the Black Eagle is a known nest-robber, hence the slow soaring flight close over the forest canopy when it scans for the nests of birds. What your photos have captured is a successful raid by a Black Eagle on some bird's nest. This species is known to carry off the entire nest and devour the contents somewhere else.