Monday, July 27, 2009

23rd July 2009: Whistling Thrush Project: Perlis State Park

The aim of this trip was to see, and if possible, catch the Blue Whistling Thrushes that are seen around the chalets in Wang Kelian State Park in Perlis. These birds are supposedly the northern resident crassirostris race, which differs from the dicrorhynchus subspecies in being smaller, longer-tailed, having more prominent pale spangles on the plumage, and a yellow culmen to the bill.

Perlis State Park is a substantial area of forest set among limestone hills. The forest crosses into Thailand, where it forms the Thaleban National Park.

Some forest birds seem commoner here than further south (Grey-cheeked Bulbul, Rufous-collared Kingfisher and Red-crowned Barbet were three we found relatively numerous), while other forest birds common further south are notably absent here (we didn't record Striped Tit-Babbler, Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot or any flycatcher-shrikes, for example).

Birds were hard to photograph on our first day, but there were plenty of other interesting subjects. This is Bassarona dunya.

Lebadea martha.

Neorina lowii. This one also has an English name - Malayan Owl (!).

A fairly common damselfly, Prodasineura laidlawii.

I think this may be Gonocephalus grandis - Anglehead Lizard - but will need to have that confirmed by Muin. [Edit: No, I'm wrong - it's a juvenile Acanthosaura armata!]

White-handed Gibbons were calling well into the afternoon - singing might be a better description. Gibbon song is one of the most evocative sounds of South-east Asian rainforest - haunting, beautiful and funny at the same time. It's just hard to imagine that they aren't having a lot of fun! If you've never heard them, try listening to the sound sample (first part) at this link. Eventually a small party came into view, and this male spent some time taking a long hard look at us!

Later in the evening, after dinner, we did some spotlighting along the road outside the Park HQ and came across a Slow Loris on a long stretch of telegraph wires a long way from any trees. Knowing that Slow Lorises are notoriously s-l-o-w, we took our time getting our camera gear and flashlights set up, only to discover, when we were all ready, that the loris had disappeared! It had legged it along the wires and found an isolated tree which it proceeded to shin up at quite a speed. It successfully managed to hide itself in the uppermost foliage, leaving us feeling slightly sheepish and without any photos! Lorises maybe slow, but we were slower! Or maybe we could rename the species the Surprisingly Nippy Loris? Oh well, next time!

1 comment:

Wai Yien said...

I visited Wang Kelian State Park last year, and was not blessed with an Thrushes.

Nice place though.