Monday, February 22, 2010

20th February 2010: Fraser's Hill

Another morning start at the Gap. This time I walked down the road towards Raub in the hope of hearing Ferruginous Partridges, but to no avail.

A typical early morning sight - Mountain Imperial Pigeons flying over.

More perplexing swiftlets! In addition to White-bellied and the pale-rumped Germain's-like swiftlets, there were one or two very dark-bodied swiftlets flying around first thing. Are these 'lowi' Black-nest or Mossy-nest Swiftlets? Unfortunately the low sunlight made seeing their upperside difficult.

Flocks of Fork-tailed Swifts were passing over the Gap at around 100 birds a minute. Goodness knows how many 1,000s passed through altogether. With them, in much smaller numbers, were swiftlets, clearly migrating with them, passing over high and fast. Himalayan??

A Black Eagle allowed brief views before disappearing over the canopy.

Birding at Fraser's can be frustratingly quiet, but there are always things to marvel at - like this tree!

But then again, it only takes one bird to turn a bad day into a good day! I decided to visit the same spot where I photographed Marbled Wren-Babblers last June, and had the most amazing experience of watching a pair of these elusive birds in more or less continuous view for over 2 hours! Here are selection of the 70 or so photos I kept.

This bird, which I took to be the male, would sit stationary for 15 minutes or more giving his monotonous wheezing call.

On one occasion his efforts brought out a second bird, which perched briefly on a branch over his head, before disappearing. Occasionally the two birds would duet, but I couldn't see both of them when this was happening.

Calling while feeding.

Doing a bit of rustling! When feeding, the bird would energetically toss leaves and other debris high over its head. This made the bird easy to track through the undergrowth with the bare eye and ear.

At times the bird came to within a few metres of me, and didn't seem that bothered by my presence as long as I stayed still.


...and relaxed!

Posing for the camera! After about two and a half hours of sheer enjoyment, I left the birds and walked to my car. As I drove up the road to the hill, when I reached the spot they were still merrily duetting away!

In the afternoon, I tried in vain to see a distantly-calling Rusty-naped Pitta on the Bishop's Trail. More than adequate compensation was provided by a pair of Long-tailed Broadbills!

A great end to a great day!

At Fraser's Hill, silver linings come gilt-edged in gold!


Wai Yien said...

Hi Dave, good shots and nice find; mind if I ask you which trail to take to spot the wren Babbler ?

I have been trying without much success, a pointer or two helps.

Appreciate it.

Gyorgy Szimuly (Szimi) said...

Awesome bird. Never seen one before. Nice images. Thanks for sharing.


Kate said...

Magical images. Sometimes I am envious of the brighter-coloured birds in other parts of the world. Ours are generally quite drab, although there are exceptions.