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Monday, 27 January 2020

26.01.2020 - Birding at Kg. Sungai Danga (Johor Bahru)

A short conversation with Khalis and Ng Hung Chuan, who I met at TBNSA during the "pitta hunt", gave me some initial information on the Ruddy Kingfisher of Danga Bay, in Johor Bahru. But where exactly the spot in Danga Bay? Luckily Ng gave me the exact location coordinates. 

I reached the spot at 7.00am, and I thought I was way too early. I went to have a quick breakfast and reached the spot at 7.30am. The ambience was superb. White Breasted Waterhen were busy hunting for its meal at the bushes along the track towards the mangroves. The calls of ioras, bulbuls and green pigeons filled the air.

Dusky Leaf Monkey with its young

Olive Winged Bulbul

White Breasted Waterhen

Pied Fantail

I saw a photographer (Azmi) just parked and set up his gear. I greeted him and he was kind enough to show me one of my lifer, the Mangrove Pitta. Yet, it was perching pretty deep in the mangroves.

Lifer: Mangrove Pitta

Then Azmi played the call of the Ruddy Kingfisher, it did responded. However it perched high at the mangroves, pretty difficult for a shot. 

Lifer! Ruddy Kingfisher

We also had a pair of babblers which was feeding on the insects and grubs near to us on the ground. It lwas a pair of White Chested Babbler, another lifer of mine.

Lifer! White Chested Babbler

We left the place before noon. Good visit with 3 lifers in total.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

18.01.2020 Pittas of Taman Botani Negara, Shah Alam

It was a great morning, even though the Sun was reluctant to show itself fully. I arrived at the park at 8am, and head straight to the paddy field to see the Asian Openbill Storks. I could say there were nearly 30 to 40 storks, hunting for....freshwater clams at the flooded paddy field. 

Everything was fine when a jogger, who was so recklessly running around the paddy field, never bother about the storks, successfully flushed them away. Morning meal is very crucial for birds to gain energy to move around, so do not interrupt them when they are feeding. Imagine someone chase you away when you are having your breakfast with a starving stomach.

Asian Openbill Stroks at the paddy field
I then walked towards the Camar Rimba track, hoping to see the Hooded Pitta. There were few photographers already waiting for the pitta to appear. I quietly moved in, to get a position to shoot. Some placed meal worms on a log while playing the playback call. The meal worms became an easy meal for the passing by Sun Skinks, before the pitta gets it. So the photographers added the worms all the way. Finally the Hooded Pitta appeared, it was my lifer. Indeed a beautiful bird, probably same size with the Blue Winged Pitta. Along came a female Siberian Blue Robin, to feast on the meal worm. I did not get a photo of it because it was still perching further in the shrubs, made it harder to focus. The whole scene was disrupted by a male Oriental Magpie Robin, which flushed the Siberian Blue Robin further in.

A Square Tailed Drongo Cuckoo on a high perch along the track towards Camar Rimba

Finally the Lifer...Hooded Pitts
I met few birders there, Khalis and Ng Hung Chuan. Once done with the Hooded Pitta, we head towards the arc near to the animal park, to click on the Blue Winged Pitta. Along came another birder, Capt Jenol, an ex-sea man. Unlike the Hooded Pitta, the Blue Winged Pitta appeared instanly, of course with meal worm and playback call.

The Blue Winged Pitta

Took few shots and a video of this. Its pretty shady compared to the Hooded Pitta "lair". I had to reduce the shutter speed to 1/250 sec, still a lil bit worry for my non VR lens.

Finally manage to get a lifer, the Hooded Pitta.

Friday, 17 January 2020

16.01.2020 FRIM Bidor Station Revisited

This is my first birding spot for 2020...FRIM Bidor Station (Perak). After lunching at Teluk Intan, I drove along Jalan Bidor-Teluk Intan. On my way to FRIM, I stopped at a spot as I saw a big flock of cattle egret foraging for insects as an excavator clearing the land. There was a Crested Serpent Eagle perching on a utility pole, having its afternoon preening.

I was hoping to see the Cotton Pygmy Goose actually, and I did spotted 6 to 7 geese paddling in between the water hyacinth growth.

Cotton Pygmy Geese

I drove further in, to have a look at the Asian Openbills. They were there; some are busy feeding on the snails and freshwater clams, while others are preening. There was a clam shell, probably the flesh was gulped by one for the openbills; it was huge, I can definitely say its larger than my palm. It was quite weird since I never seen freshwater clams before in lakes. Lakes are mostly inhibited by snails, as far as I had seen. 

Asian Openbill Stork

With a catch

A large freshwater clam, locally known as "Kijeng", eaten by the Openbill

I saw a single, large wader foraging for food together with an intermediate egret and openbill stork. At first I thought it was a Wood Sandpiper, but it was way too big. A closer look at its photo made me change my mind. It was a Common Greenshank, my first lifer for the year 2020.

First Lifer of 2020 - The Common Greenshank

Wood Sandpiper

Then 3 Pied Stilts joined the party along with some Pacific Golden Plovers.

Pied Stilts
Quite a visit, not bad with one lifer at least!