Sunday, August 01, 2010

24th July 2010: Fraser's Hill

As soon as the workshop in Kuantan was done I hit the road - at about 6pm on Friday evening. I was determined to make it to Fraser's Hill in order to be in my hide the following morning to try to get better pictures of the peacock-pheasant! About 5 hours later I rolled up at the Puncak Inn to collect my keys, feeling like a zombie and just thankful I had made it without driving the car off the road!

By 6.30am the following morning I was installed in my hide where I'd seen the male pheasant twice on the 20th. However, due my extreme fatigue I was battling a migraine, and I gave up after a couple of hours, having seen nothing.

On my way back to the car I found a Mountain Imperial Pigeon sitting on a fairly low perch.

While I was watching it it suddenly slipped off the perch and dived for cover. Looking up, I saw a Black Eagle skimming the tops of the trees!

Unfortunately for photography, the clouds were low and rain was imminent - in fact it started to fall while I was watching.

Excuse the weird colours - I've had to lighten the images up quite a bit to get any detail on the underside of the bird at all!

As Terence commented on a previous post, this bird looks older than a juvenile. In fact it seems to have begun primary moult, with the three innermost looking fresh and the outer 7 quite worn. So perhaps it's last year's or even a third-year bird. Note the epiphyte it is sitting on at the top of the pine tree.

While I was photographing the bird perched on the pine tree, it started looking up and I was surprised to see a second bird approach and knock the first one off its perch!

The new bird was also a subadult, but was clearly larger than the first, making it a female, the smaller bird being a male.

It wasn't easy to tell them apart unless a direct size comparison could be made.

Which it could sometimes!

Note that the female has grabbed a chunk of the epiphyte from the pine tree. I noted this behaviour by a juvenile last year, when it was suggested that the observation might refer to the bird having robbed a nest. These photos show otherwise. The bird has ripped off a chunk of epiphyte from the tree and appears to be carrying it 'for the fun of it', or maybe to practice seizing and carrying prey?

There was quite a bit of sparring between the two birds.

Eventually, I had to walk away from the two birds and head for something to eat, followed by a few hours sleep!

A few photos from the afternoon - this female Black-and-crimson Oriole had found the most enormous caterpillar, and was roundly smashing it against a branch. Unfortunately she flew off before I could see how she would go about swallowing it!

I spent some time at the Glossy Swiftlet breeding colony in the garage on Telekom Loop trying to get flight shots. These were my best attempts.

A photogenic male Grey-chinned Minivet.

Little Pied Flycatchers are common but always good to see!

I came across this juvenile snake, which I believe is a Speckle-bellied Keelback. Please let me know if I'm wrong!

On Bishop's Trail I had the good fortune to see two Rusty-naped Pittas. They were two males, and they were chasing each other in an apparently territorial dispute. I was surprised to see that they perched on low vines as well as on the ground. No photos unfortunately. This is the first time I have actually set eyes on this species at Fraser's Hill in 22 years! I saw a Malaysian Partridge also along the same trail, but briefly!

My final shot of the day was this female White-thighed Surili with her baby. Now I know where the idea for the Teletubbies came from!


Wong Tsu Shi said...

Just love your Teletubbies, Dave.

Anonymous said...

wonderful shot on the white-thighed surili, always looking forward on monday to check out your blog..
keep up your fantastic hobby & great photography..

Anonymous said...

Not only perching but sparring Black Eagles!
Choo Eng.

Thaibirder said...

So often when reading trip reports it seem so easy. You saying it took you 23 years to connect with the Rusty-naped Pittas shows the reality of what it is like.
That is why I didn't hesitate to drive 700 kilometers to get good views and photo opportunity of the same species earlier on this year.

Kate said...

Stupendous images as always.