Tuesday, July 29, 2008

25th July 2008: Sungai Relau, Taman Negara

Our first full day! Thankfully, after the rain of the previous evening, the weather was dry, although overcast. Birding in the forest was incredibly exciting the whole day - the birds never seemed to go quiet. There was so much activity and diversity - giving us an idea how rich virgin lowland rainforest is compared to even lightly logged forest, which is the habitat we are more familiar with. Four Pitta species were heard or seen - Banded and Garnet being more or less widespread, and Giant and Blue-winged heard once each. Malaysian Peacock Pheasants also seemed numerous, with birds heard or seen at four separate localities during the day. Other highlights were 9 woodpecker species, 6 hornbills, 4 trogons, 4 kingfishers, 15 bulbuls, 13 babblers and 5 spiderhunters!

Rufous-crowned Babblers foraged by the roadside.

Ferruginous (top) and Grey-headed Babblers were more likely to be encountered on the forest trails.

Jewel of the forest! Garnet Pittas had a variety of calls, not all rising in pitch, causing confusion with the similar-sounding Rail Babbler.

The red crown seems to have its own internal light source, shining beacon-like in the darkest undergrowth.

This one did a circuit round us in response to imitated calls. Seeing it was one thing; photographing it unobstructed by undergrowth was quite another!

A male Scarlet-rumped Trogon came to the edge of the forest to check us out.

I came across a family of Banded Broadbills on another trail. This one is presumably a juvenile.

I got this close to a Malaysian Peacock Pheasant!

Unfortunately the bird was not attached to the feather!

Fruiting trees were common, especially macaranga trees. These were neck-straining opportunities to see many species coming and going, such as Greater Green Leafbird (male top, female below)...

...Grey-breasted Spiderhunter, ...

... Lesser Cuckooshrike (female),...

... and Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker.

Black-thighed Falconets, not much larger than a swallow, frequented more open areas with dead trees.

Helmeted Hornbills are arguably the most spectacular of all hornbills. Their outlandish call sounds as if it originates in a lunatic asylum, and the long central tail feathers make them look like a bird of myth and legend.

My first Gynacantha! This genus of dragonflies, with their distinctive long anal appendages (at the end of the 'tail') fly at dawn and dusk, and are attracted to lights, as this one was. Gynacantha subinterrupta after dinner!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HI David,
As usual a very interesting account of your trip.
I have a few questions.
1. How do I get to this place from KL without renting a car?
2. Can I find lodging and food once in the park?
3. When does the rainy season begin? Is September ok?

PLS reply to pkknjj@yahoo.com
Peter Ericsson