Sunday, April 08, 2012

31 March - 1 April: Gunung Telapa Buruk, Negeri Sembilan

I took a 'slight' detour on my trip back from KL to Penang to visit Rafi at his dream-home near Gunung Telapa Buruk. Though I didn't really need an excuse to pay him a visit, the offer was 'sweetened' by the frequent presence of a Grey-and-Buff Woodpecker in his garden, which is my No 1 'Bogey Bird' in Malaysia, as well as regular sightings of Eyebrowed Wren-babblers at nearby Telapa Buruk.

To cut a long story short, I didn't see either of them, but we did enjoy some very pleasant 'armchair birding' from his verandah!

Not close, but then how many of us can boast any kind of views of Wreathed Hornbill from our back garden?!

Brown Shrike - a commoner garden visitor, but not to be sniffed at, especially when acquiring really smart breeding plumage.

While staking out the top of his woodpecker tree, I was amazed to see this flowerpecker land at eye-level. I'd only ever seen one Thick-billed Flowerpecker before, and that certainly wasn't at eye-level, so I was initially a bit puzzled by this bird.

For one thing, the bill didn't seem that thick, certainly not compared to the illustration in Robson. It also seemed deformed, as if the upper mandible had overgrown the lower. Later digging around revealed that the race 'remotum' that occurs in Peninsular Malaysia has a bill "no thicker than Yellow-vented, Yellow-throated [sic] and Crimson-breasted Flowerpeckers" (Wells 2007). Furthermore, by looking at photos in OBI, I realized that the bill is always this rather unique shape, with the lower mandible fitting inside the upper. This must be an adaptation to facilitate piercing of fruits. Con Foley's recent amazing photos of Brown-backed Flowerpecker show that Brown-backed shares this bill characteristic.

The streaks on this bird were rather less-well demarcated than those apparent on photos of nominate and 'modestum' races, and that olive wing patch really does stand out! Unfortunately, this was a fleeting view, as the bird was chased out of the tree by a Yellow-vented Flowerpecker! Still, it was a new 'garden tick' for Rafi!

This pic of an obliging Silver-breasted Broadbill was my only fruit from our early morning trip up Gunung Telapa Buruk. The place seems pretty 'birdy', but both Eyebrowed and Marbled Wren-babblers remained resolutely silent and invisible!


Unknown said...

I must go to this mountain..maybe give Rafi a visit..hehe.. They said you can drive up the mountain, is it true? That would come handy if i wanna go up at night..

digdeep said...

Hi Muin

Yes, it's quite a long road (7-9 km?), best with 4WD though.

John Holmes said...

Impressive selection of birds, especially from someone's garden...

jytou said...

Your Brown Shrike is an extremely interesting one, seeing such red sensation, my first thought is the Japanese "superciliosus" that is the reddest among the 4 subspecies visiting us, but it lacks the thick white forehead and supercilium of that subspecies. Didn't know that Brown Shrike's breeding plumage is redder, or could this be an intergrade, say "cristatus" X "superciliosus"? The only subspecies that I had difficulty IDying now is the "confusus" as the name itself implies, tried to browse through samples online, and it doesn't quite help, most fieldguides ignore the importance to describe the difference between these subspecies and even with verbal description, I still don't find it very useful to ID in the field.

digdeep said...

Tou, all right, all right, I confess! I mistakenly had the camera setting on 'Vivid' colours. I changed it in the midst of shooting this bird, but non of the 'normal' setting shots were as sharp as this one. So in the field, this bird was not quite as bright as the pic suggests.

jytou said...

oo..... haha, no wonder it was so red...... but the superciliosus is definitely at least as red, but I had only seen it once in Selangor, from literature, seemed to be more regular in the south, haven't seen it in Perak yet.