Monday, June 29, 2009

27th June: Panti Forest Reserve, Johore

A weekend trip to Johor Bahru to celebrate a family 50th wedding anniversary gave me the opportunity to make my maiden visit to Panti.

I arrived before dawn, and so was in time to see a few Malaysian Eared Nightjars overflying the carpark.

True to its reputation, the place seemed alive with bird activity, though getting good views wasn't always easy. My main goal for this short trip was to photograph as many babblers as I could, with the prime target being rail-babbler. I heard a rail-babbler calling distantly around 8am, but it soon stopped calling.

This Short-tailed Babbler was easier to get views of as it displayed to an unseen mate or rival with much wing-flicking. This bird was much less intensely coloured below than one I photographed in Sarawak earlier in the year, which is probably of the race 'saturatum'.

Fluffy-backed Tit-Babblers were numerous. They tend to go around in pairs, and I witnessed a territorial confrontation between two pairs by the roadside. Each pair would sit on a branch side by side calling together. At one time the two pairs were just feet apart. Once the boundary between the territories had been established, the pairs went their separate ways.

Black-capped Babblers were also frequently heard calling, and this one crept right up to me, alternately calling and searching for prey in the leaf litter.

Just after seeing this babbler I met up with Simon Cockayne and Piet Opstaele from Singapore. We explored a few trails together in search of the scarcer denizens of Panti, and did manage to see a pair of Crested Wood-Partridges crossing the road, and hear another few birds calling.

This Moustached Babbler came to check us out. It's not a great picture, but it shows how faint the 'moustachial stripe' on this species can be - quite confusing!

A few other birds seen along the roadside...Banded Broadbill and Raffles's Malkoha.

Even in the middle of the day, when forests birds usually go quiet, there was still a good amount of activity, including a singing White-crowned Forktail. At around 2pm I heard another Rail-Babbler calling, and this time, the bird was responsive to my attempts to imitate the call, eventually walking right past me just a few metres away. Unfortunately, leaves and other undergrowth blocked almost all my shots. Oh well, I'll just have to go back and try again!

Later I found a patch of stream where bulbuls were coming down to bathe, including a number of challenging juveniles!

This one's a juv Buff-vented I think.

And here's a juv Red-eyed.

A juvenile Buff-vented Bulbul and another bulbul taking a refreshing dip in the stream.

At this point I would have loved to stay on another few hours, but family responsibilities required that I call it a day.


Choy Wai Mun said...

I envy you, Dave. First the Marbled, now the Rail Babbler. Well done...

digdeep said...

Wish the rail babbler pics were a bit sharper and less obscured! Still - there's always next time!

Gyorgy Szimuly (Szimi) said...

How many times you saw the Rail-Babbler there? Is that a reliable place to find?

Nice blog by the way.


digdeep said...

Hi Szimi

I just saw it the once but others there had sustained views of two birds. I think Panti is as good a place as anywhere to view this species.