Showing posts with label fantail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fantail. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

20th October 2010: Danum Valley BRL, Sabah

It's light by 6am in eastern Sabah, so the birds are up early too!

I managed to snap a few shots of a flock of Bold-striped Tit-babblers foraging along the river bank in the early morning. Babblers are always worth a close look (and listen to) in Borneo, as their forms almost invariably differ from those found in Peninsular Malaysia (as you might expect for a group of sedentary birds predominantly confined to forest). In the case of this taxon, it has already been recognized as distinct to species level from the now renamed Pin-striped Tit-babbler (formerly simply Striped Tit-babbler) of West Malaysia and elsewhere. Other splits are bound to follow in the babbler group.

Flavour of the morning in the Indian Coral tree was Little Spiderhunter - the third spiderhunter species I'd seen in the same tree in a few days.

Later on, the Spectacled showed up again.

The Chestnut-necklaced Partridges were in good voice today, with their defeaning duets on full volume. Photographing them is another matter though, as they are always concealed in thick undergrowth except for the split second when they dash across a clearing or the trail. This one was too close to get the whole bird in shot!

An adult Dark-sided Flycatcher in moult. The brown Muscicapa flycatchers can be a confusing group. I find that the very small bill of Dark-sided (visibly shorter and narrower than Asian Brown), is a good pointer in the field. Darker centres to the vent feathers are diagnostic of Dark-sided if they are present (which they aren't always).In East Malaysia, there is also the chance of Grey-streaked, which appears long-bodied and long-winged and has more distinct brown streaks on a white background, especially on the flanks.

More migrants! A research team from MNS HQ - Glenda, Maye and Eileen, with Edmondo (resident!).

Another endemic race - the 'borneensis' form of Asian Paradise-flycatcher.

And another...the 'brookei' race of Banded Broadbill. This is the female, and she sat overlooking a large nest on a tree from which the canopy walkway is suspended. Most broadbills build hanging nests, so I was surprised to see this one had been constructed in a fork in a huge mengaris (tualang) tree.

Black-throated Wren-babbler. This was one of my target birds for the trip. Nothing wren-like about these at all! Like the other large wren-babblers, Large and Marbled, this reminded me more in size and shape of a laughingthrush. They were more arboreal than other wren-babblers I've seen too.

The 'Jacuzzi Pool'. When we arrived at this pool along one of the trails, we discovered that a picnic had been laid out for us - chicken wings, dragonfruit,tuna and lettuce sandwiches, ice-cold apple juice...

 I wasn't dreaming! BRL hospitality at its best! Pic courtesy of Alan McBride of Wildiaries

Crystal clear water and lots of fish!

Some Lantern Bugs at a Lantern Bug convention. They seem to have got their head gear design idea from Rhinoceros Hornbills!

Another Bornean puzzle! All resident 'Ceyx' kingfishers in Borneo appear to have at least a rufous mantle, distinguishing them from the migrant 'Black-backed' Kingfisher. So this is the resident form. Some authorities claim that hybridization between the resident 'Rufous-backed' form and the migrant 'Black-backed' form is widespread in Borneo, leading them to conclude that there is only one species - Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher - involved. However, there is another possibility - that the Bornean taxon is simply variable! In that case, there could be three forms in Malaysia- the Rufous-backed of Peninsular Malaysia, the migrant Black-backed, and a third taxon resident in Borneo, currently recognized as a race - 'motleyi'.

White-crowned Forktail. This one's already been split from a neighbouring form which occurs in the highlands of Sabah - now called Bornean Forktail (cf the extent of white on the crown on this bird photographed on Gunung Kinabalu).

Another babbler, another puzzle! It's a Short-tailed Babbler ('sordidus' race). Here's another from Peninsular Malaysia ('malaccensis' race), and one from Sarawak ('saturatus' race). I'm not an expert on babbler vocalizations, but the birds in Danum have a song which I've not heard in West Malaysia.

A Spotted Fantail. This one is also a forest resident, yet it's monotypic, showing no variation over its range. Work that one out!

Stormbringer! A Wreathed Hornbill flies under some threatening clouds. Rain usually arrived after lunch!

On this particular day,a brilliant troupe of Maroon Langurs also arrived after lunch! I'd had some rather unsatisfactory views of some in treetops, but this bunch seemed reasonably happy skirting the fence outside the restaurant by the river. Much better! The young are whitish, and seem to remain dependent on Mum till they're pretty large!

You'd think this might affect their mobility, but apparently not!


Adult and adolescent!


This Western Tarsier was the highlight of the night drive.

Tarsiers are primates (check out those fingers!), and have the largest eyes relative to body size of any mammal. They feed on insects,which they catch by acrobatic leaps from tree to tree.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

HCV Assessment 11-12th June: Terengganu

On our final site visit we were pressed for time to visit all the potential HCV areas, as there are a number of Forest Reserves in the area. In the end, we visited two: Bukit Jemalang Permanent Forest Reserve and Sungai Cherul Forest Reserve, and they could hardly have been more different in terms of their management.

Bukit Jemalang is apparently gazetted as Permanent Forest Reserve, yet within our short visit we saw areas cleared for orchards, oil palm and a landfill site! It has some nice peat swamp habitat left in it, which is still apparently home to some large mammals, but surely its days are numbered. Apart from this sign we saw no signs of enforcement and plenty of signs of encroachment.

Nannophya pygmaea is a peat-swamp loving species and the smallest dragonfly to be found in Malaysia.

The distinctive four-toed front footprint of a Tapir.

A Banded Broadbill sat on an uncharacteristically exposed perch - too bad I didn't have my digiscoping gear with me!

It was joined by a Puff-backed Bulbul. There were good numbers of this swamp forest-loving species here.

I still wasn't able to get a good photo though!

The other forest reserve, Sungai Cherul, has forest rangers permanently stationed on site, and is protected as water catchment forest. In consequence, it appeared to be in excellent condition and full of birds, among them, Banded and Garnet Pittas and Malaysian Peacock-pheasant.

Some of the many fresh tracks seen on the road, tentatively identified as: monitor lizard, otter sp?, small ungulate - possibly Barking Deer, even smaller ungulate - mouse deer sp, small felid - possibly Leopard Cat, Sun Bear.

There was certainly a healthy population of Wild Pigs.

They were very active in daylight - some unaware of our presence...

... others definitely knew we were there!

Some of the forest occupants were feeding opportunistically in the adjacent plantations - this is porcupine damage.

The monitor and the mosquito! We spotted this Clouded Monitor resting high up a tree, but he still couldn't escape the mozzies!

This is one of the rarer dragonflies - Ryothemis obsolescens - which was seen in swarms at canopy height.

We again recorded 87 species of birds, but only a few consented to be photographed!

A Sooty-capped Babbler - the commonest babbler in the forest.

A pair of Spotted Fantails were attending a nest.

This female Raffles' Malkoha was foraging for spiders.

Our night surveys were a bit disappointing bearing in mind all the mammals we'd seen evidence of by day. This was a roadside Large-tailed Nightjar.

I think this is Limnonectes blythii, otherwise known as Blyth's Giant Frog. Please correct me if I'm wrong!

This male Leopard Cat was rather obliging!

Fur looks so much better on a cat than on a catwalk!