Monday, October 9, 2017

Introduction to Birdwatching at Botanical Garden Kuala Lumpur (Lake Garden)

Botanical Garden was very quiet when I arrived at 7 am. 22 September was a national public holiday and I guess many city folks were still snoozing and cuddling in their beds to earn a precious morning of sleep on a week day. Wild Bird Club Malaysia (WBCM) was approached by a resident association, in this case, the Persatuan Penduduk Bandar Utama 12 (PPBU 12) of Petaling Jaya, to introduce bird watching to the residents. By 8 am, all the participants had gathered at the restaurant beside the multi-storey car park and Chan gave a brief introduction of the common birds in our gardens to the party of 15 people, including 5 enthusiastic children. 
What is bird watching without binoculars? WBCM was fortunate that Schmidt Marketing Sdn Bhd had agreed to loan us 6 Minox binoculars for this event. Participants were reminded to take good care of the binoculars and with this, everyone happily trudged into the garden to begin a adventurous morning of bird watching. Tang Tuck Hong was gracious enough to lead the tour and he brought along a scope with him. Besides the binoculars, the children were also fascinated with this piece of equipment. 

 
The scope was indeed helpful to give the participants a very good sight of not only the birds but also for them to appreciate the beauty of some birds, example Pink-necked Pigeon, White-throated Kingfisher, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Black-naped Oriole and  Stripe-throated Bulbul. After 20 minutes of walking, we were attracted to the sight of a few big birds perching and flying about the branches of a big tree. It turns out to be Hadada Ibis but to the children, it was all ooahs!!and aars!!  as they were awed by the sight of such a big and beautiful bird. As everyone was captivated by this sight, 2 White-breasted Waterhens shyly ran into some bushes from the nearby pond. 
  

 
As we walked along, everyone caught sight of other common birds example Oriental Magpie-Robin, Little Egret, Rock Pigeon, Spotted Dove, Asian Glossy Starling, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Common Myna and Javan Myna.
  
  
Along the way out to the entrance, we were attracted to a series of loud, resonant and quickly repeated Tonk, tonk, tuuk, tuuk ……………….call. After a brief scan of the trees, Tang caught sight of the colourful Coppersmith Barbet. This was followed by another round of ooahs!! and aars!! from the children. The Barbet was helpful as it perched for quite a long time for everyone to admire its beauty, listen to its calling and take photographs.
We ended the trip at about 11 am. We had sighted about 20 species of birds and heard the call of 2 species (ie Common Tailorbird and Red Junglefowl). 
Besides Tang and Chan, 2 other WBCM members were also present to lend a helping hand ie Tang Pok Yew and Wong Yoke Keng. Although the four of us had just returned from a four-day bird watching trip to Sarawak  a few days ago, our enthusiasm to share the hobby and beauty of bird watching with the residents, especially the children, overwhelm the tiredness of our body and legs from the trip.  
We express our appreciation to the PPBU 12 for inviting us to introduce bird watching to the residents. We certainly hope our effort in this outing had generated interest in bird watching to everyone especially the younger generation.
 
Lastly, Wild Bird Club Malaysia would like to extend its appreciation to Schmidt Marketing Sdn Bhd for the generosity in lending us the binoculars for this event. 

Till then, Happy Birding!!

Text By: Chan Chi Lee
Photographs: Tang Tuck Hong, Chan Chi Lee & Grace Lee (resident of PPBU12) 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Into the Heart of Borneo (well, almost) – WBCM trip to Sarawak 2017

Wild Bird Club Malaysia went on an adventure in Sarawak from 15th to 18th September 2017. We arrived in Kuching airport on a sunny Friday morning around 9.30am and were greeted by Mr and Mrs Vincent Wong. Their four-wheel Toyota Cruiser was already laden with food and bottled water for the 4 days ahead of us. They had loaded local snacks, bottled water, Tebaloi (sago biscuits), carton of eggs, canned sardines, bread, butter, Sarawak puffed rice biscuits (red onion and sesame), peanut butter, barbeque supplies (including the charcoal) for 22 persons into their four-wheel Cruiser – an amazing feat indeed. Julianna met us at the foothills of Borneo Highland Resort (BHR), as we boarded our shuttle bus to reach the jungle cabins and clubhouse of the Resort. 

We had Sarawak Kolo mee and Sarawak laksa for lunch. Birdwatching was foremost in our mind so our instinctive reaction after lunch was to look for the fruiting tree that was in front of Mr and Mrs Alan Koh’s jungle cabin. Red-throated barbet flew into this tree and perched for a while as we were observing the Red-eyed bulbuls. Mr Tang spotted a Thick-billed pigeon sitting very quietly inside this tree just above the barbet. The pigeon was still as a rock, burying its head inside its fluffed out chest blue. The blue orbital skin around its eye was visible when the pigeon started preening its feathers. Twelve thick-billed pigeons eventually flew out of the tree late that afternoon. They were like rabbits appearing out of a magician’s hat. Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle had landed on an exposed branch in a taller tree by the mountainside. We had very good views of this raptor as it stayed perched for quite a long time that afternoon. Rufous-bellied Eagle (juvenile) soared across the skies later that day.


Dinner barbeque that night consisted of
Sarawak sweetcorn, sweet potato, fish, chicken wings and chicken sausages. It started to rain just when the charcoal was being lit so it took a while to get the fire going. Twenty two hungry birdwatchers had a sumptuous BBQ dinner that rainy night , with the wind blowing in from the mountains of Borneo. BHR is located on the mountain plateau, 1,000 meters above sea level, on the Penrissen Range amongst the world’s oldest and second largest rainforest. You
can visit their website at http://www.borneohighlands.com.my/ . Crested Jay was sighted earlier that Friday afternoon by one of our members, Thomas and heard calling twice by a few of us on a late Saturday morning as we walked towards BHR’s clubhouse. Bejampong is the name given to it by the Iban tribe. The Crested Jay is one of the seven Iban omen birds which is also known as the Rain bird. This bird lived up to its reputation and the rain poured down from the heavens that Saturday morning in Borneo Highlands Resort.  



We celebrated Malaysia Day at the Kalimantan viewpoint. The mountain range across the Malaysia-Indonesia border was covered with mist so the views of Kalimantan mountain range remain a mystery to us. The sun broke through the mist at around 11am, as we continued to bird around the grounds of BHR right up to the afternoon, breaking only for our vegetarian lunch at the Resort. Some of the birds seen at BHR were the Bornean Brown Barbet, Chestnut Crested Yuhina, Pygmy White Eye, Dusky Munia, Black-headed Bulbul, Red-billed Malkoha. We checked out of BHR by 4.45pm. Our shuttle bus driver drove us down to the foothills. The Lesser Green Leafbird , Orange-bellied flowerpecker and Blue-eared Barbet greeted us as we were about to board our bus towards Kuching.


The number of bird species seen or heard from Borneo Highlands Resort by WBCM have been logged into eBird Malaysia and can be viewed at   
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39266256
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39266343 

Seafood dinner at Topspot Kuching awaited us. It was a rooftop dining experience on a drizzly Saturday night. Butter prawns, steamed fish, Black pepper crabs, Oysters fried “in a basket” (Sarawak has the crunchier version), Sea cucumber soup, Braised egg tofu and Stir-fried fern were all dished out in quick succession and finished in record time. Kubah National Park which was 22km away from Kuching was our final destination. We reached Kubah and settled in for the night in our Chalets.
  
Kubah National Park comprised of sandstone ridge with its three mountain peaks (see:- https://www.sarawakforestry.com/htm/snp-np-kubah.html). It rained the whole Sunday morning in Kubah - the mighty Bejampong’s reputation extended to this part of Sarawak! We birdwatched from the balconies of our chalets in Kubah and were rewarded with sightings of Flowerpeckers, Sunbirds, Bulbuls, Minivets, Asian fairy bluebird, Buff-rumped woodpecker, Emerald Dove and Spot-throated Fantail. The rain did not dampen our enthusiasm and we started our trek upwards towards the frog pond, Kubah trail and Waterfall trail, as soon as the rain stopped. We birded the whole Sunday afternoon along the tarred road. Sunday dinner consisted of stir-fried local fern, chicken dish, local brinjal with fish, vegetarian fried rice and fried vermicelli.     

Vincent introduced us to the Microhyla Nepenthicola, the world’s second smallest frog species during Sunday night walk at the world-renown frog pond of Kubah National Park. We could see the Microhyla Nepenthicola tadpoles (either sleeping or swimming) inside the Pitcher plants. It was a very interesting herping session for WBCM. Never knew frogs could be just as colourful as birds with green, zebra stripes, brown, pink hues – we had to step very gently and slowly on the planks that night.   



The Rufous-collared Kingfisher, Temminck’s Sunbird, Van Hasselt’s Sunbird, Black & Yellow Broadbill, Little Spiderhunter, Gray-breasted Spiderhunter, Spectacled Spiderhunter, Rufous Piculet were amongst some of the birds which provided us much excitement the following Monday morning. Syafiq was the lucky one to see the Jambu Fruit Dove on our last day of birdwatching in Kubah. The number of bird species seen or heard at Kubah National Park by WBCM have been logged into eBird Malaysia and can be viewed at   
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39293188
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39293314



Although we didn’t venture into the heart of Borneo to birdwatch, our birdwatching locations in Borneo Highland Resort and Kubah National Park did not disappoint. The good food, amazing company especially from Sarawak’s wonder couple Mr and Mrs Vincent Wong and wonderfully helpful Julianna (with her special Sarawak mooncakes) made this a very fun outing indeed.    

Text by Yeo Yee Ling
Pictures by Tang Tuck Hong, Mohd Syafiq Sivakumaran, Andy Lee and Ang Teck Hin  

Friday, July 28, 2017

KEDIDI - Newsletter August 2017 issue

KEDIDI is the thricely newsletter of Wild Bird Club Malaysia (WBCM) and we are delighted to announce that the August 2017:Vol 1/3 is now available for download here.

Members and Birders are also welcomed to contribute bird sightings to the current data collection and retrieval platform via eBird Malaysia.

WBCM April 2017: Vol 1/2 issue is available for reading and you can download a copy by clicking on image below:-

Friday, July 7, 2017

Birds of Palawan Island in Three Days

Olive-backed Sunbird
Melodious Babbler


 Ashy-fronted Bulbul 
Rufous-tailed Tailorbird
Spot-throated flameback
Palawan Blue Flycatcher
Palawan Hornbill
Chestnut Munia
Pygmy Flowerpecker
Birding along the Zig Zag road in Palawan Island with our leader Rommel M. Cruz.
Birds of Palawan Island that were seen from 29th June to 1st July 2017 during Philippine Cockatoo Festival 2017:-
Name of species
Palawan Endemic
Philippine Endemic
1. Hill Mynah


2. Melodious Babbler
Yes

3. Pin-Striped Tit Babbler


4. Plain-throated Sunbird


5. Yellow-throated Leafbird
Yes

6. Hairy-Crested Drongo


7. Square-tailed Drongo


8. Ashy-fronted Bulbul 
Yes

9. Black-naped Monarch


10. Olive-backed Sunbird


11. Eurasian Tree Sparrow


12. Spotted Dove


13. Collared Kingfisher


14. Pacific Swallow


15. White-vented Shama
Yes

16. Black-headed Bulbul


17. Lovely Sunbird 
Yes

18. Little Egret


19. Cattle Egret


20. Great Egret


21. Whistling Duck


22. Cinnamon Bittern


23. White-breasted Wood-swallow


24. Rufous-tailed Tailorbird


25. Asian Glossy Starling


26. Chestnut Munia


27. Philippine Cockatoo

Yes
28. Zebra Dove


29. Scaly-breasted Munia


30. Pygmy Flowerpecker

Yes
31. Palawan Flowerpecker 
Yes

32. Palawan Hornbill
Yes

33. Palawan Bulbul
Yes

34. Sulphur-bellied Bulbul
Yes

35. Yellow-vented Bulbul


36. Palawan Tit 
Yes

37. Ashy-headed Babbler
Yes

38. Asian Fairy Bluebird / Palawan fairy bluebird
Yes

39. Fiery Minivet


40. Spot-throated flameback
Yes

41. Chestnut-breasted Malkoha  


42. Phillippine Cuckoo-Dove
No/Near Endemic

43. Slender-billed Crow


44. Great Slaty


45. Green Imperial Pigeon


46. Oriental Honey Buzzard


47. Common Iora


48. Thick-billed Pigeon


49. Palawan Blue Flycatcher (Endemic?)
Yes

50. Mangrove Blue Flycatcher


51. Stork-billed Kingfisher


52. Blue-naped Parrot


53. Blue-headed Racquet-tail
Yes

54. Citrine Canary-Flycatcher


55. Purple-throated Sunbird


56. PALE SPIDERHUNTER (split from Little)
Yes

57. Emerald Dove


58. Pink-Necked Green Pigeon


59. Intermediate Egret


60. Zitting Cisticola


61. Blue-eared Kingfisher


62. Lesser Coucal


YES means it is a Palawan or Philippine endemic.
(Credit to Rommel M. Cruz who went through the list of species above and confirmed the Philippines and Palawan endemics)   
The colouring sheet that was distributed to the schoolchildren of Narra Municipality, Palawan Island, featured owls and frogmouth of Malaysia with the message "BE QUIET WHEN YOU BIRD WATCH" (Credit:- Mr Tang Tuck Hong). Teachers can download a copy below:-