Sunday, August 16, 2009

14th August 2009: Merapoh, Taman Negara

Peter and James's last day started with flight views of a Large Frogmouth, as we again heard two birds, but a long way from the two heard yesterday, so probably we recorded a total of four birds!

A stunning flight shot!

We took a ride the 14km or so into Kuala Juram today, which is the starting point for the two-day trek in to Gunung Tahan, the Peninsula's highest peak. We had brief and distant views of a pair of Scarlet-breasted Flowerpeckers, as well as a fly past by a magnificent Helmeted Hornbill (the less said about my photos the better!).

Swifts overhead included Silver-rumped Spinetails, one having a head-scratch!

There were also some strange, dark-rumped swiftlets. These were noticeably dark below as well as on the rump, and showed barely any tail-notch. Perhaps these are 'lowi' Black-nest Swiftlets, which Robson mentions have been recorded from Gunung Benom.

Some birds seen along the road at Kuala Juram - Maroon-breasted Philentoma and Dusky Broadbill - the latter with nest material.

We were treated to an exhilirating chorus by two groups of Siamangs, with another of White-handed Gibbons in the background. The Siamangs came to the road, but when this scout saw us, they turned round and headed back into the forest.

A Rufous-bellied Eagle appeared at exactly the same spot as one we saw last year

A small flock of White-bellied Munias was shy and elusive, so I only managed these distant shots.

A Dark-throated Oriole was one of a number of species we saw at our last stop before returning to HQ. Peter also saw a Black-and-White Bulbul here,but unfortunately it didn't hang around.

After lunch and seeing Peter and James head back to KL, I went back along the jeep track. There are often fallen leaves on the road which fool me into thinking they might be birds. I routinely check each one with my binoculars, and this time it paid off, as one of those 'leaves' was walking!

With a quiff that would have made Elvis jealous, a male Malaysian Peacock-pheasant strolled across the track - a long-awaited first for me!

It even gave me a flash of those peacock 'eyes' on its tail as it moved into the the sun.

More 'by-now-familiar faces' - a juv Blue-rumped Parrot...

...the same Large Wren-Babbler - still hiding in the undergrowth...

... my daily dose of old faithful - the Garnet Pitta...

...and some other common roadside birds - Raffles's Malkoha and Spectacled Spiderhunter.

As I was walking back I heard a peacock-pheasant calling close to the track, and eventually saw it quite close. This one made a far less leisurely dash across the road than the previous one, so my pictures aren't very sharp! Still - two males in one day isn't bad! This one seems to have brylcreemed his quiff back over his crown, or maybe it was his speed that made it flip back in the wind!

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