Friday, May 5, 2023

WBCM Daytrip to FRIM in conjunction with the Citizen Science Project

On the 25th of March, about 20 WBCM members participated in a birdwatching collaboration with 4 staffs from FRIM Research Unit as part of the Citizen Science Project collaboration that has been ongoing between WBCM and FRIM for the past year. WBCM has been assisting FRIM by conducting monthly bird surveys in a targeted area in FRIM called Paya Burung since August of 2022. The bird survey on 25th of March included Paya Burung as well.

Our members gathered at about 7.15 am at a carpark in FRIM. We started our birdwatching session at 7.30am accompanied by staff from FRIM. This trip was being led and coordinated by Andy and myself. At the start of the birding session, we came across a mini bird wave with some interesting sightings. Among the notable sightings were that of the Buff-necked Woodpecker, Buff-vented Bulbul, Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker and Stripe-throated Bulbul. A number of cuckoo species were active as well. The Plaintive Cuckoo and Banded Bay Cuckoo were heard very frequently and a Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo was seen.

As we headed deeper into FRIM, we came across several other birds such as the Blue-winged Leafbird, Chestnut Breasted Malkoha and Banded Woodpecker. At one point in our walk, everyone suddenly saw a raptor flying by. Many members rushed to take photos of the flying raptor. After a short discussion based on the photos taken, our raptor expert Terence Ang confirmed that the bird was none other than the Osprey! Many members obtained their first lifer of the day! Most likely the Osprey was a passer by going to another place as there are no large water bodies in the surrounding area. It was a good find indeed!

Deeper inside, we came across a fruiting tree where several more bird species were seen. However, the trees were quite high up, so our views were limited. As we went deeper, we came across another fruiting tree. This tree was much better as it was lower and we had better views of the birds here. There was a short rain spell of about 10 minutes. During this time, many of us took shelter under the buildings at FRIM while some members brought out their umbrellas. After the rain, there was a bird wave with many birds heading to the fruiting tree. Here, we managed to get some good views of some really beautiful birds including the Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Gold-whiskered Barbet, Blue-eared Barbet and Scaly-breasted Bulbul. The star bird of the day was the elusive Yellow-crowned Barbet. Many members saw a lifer after seeing this rare and elusive bird!

After the good bird wave, we decided to head back to the carpark. During the journey, as luck would have it, we will come across another major sighting. Perched on a bare branch, we managed to see a Rufous-bellied Eagle! Everyone had a good look of the bird. Many members managed to get some photos and videos of the bird in different angles. We finally gathered near the carpark at one of the huts to do our bird list for the day. As we counted the number of birds seen, we were quite happy to have seen and heard around 60 species for the trip. We also agreed to submit the data to FRIM in order for them to use the data for their conservation efforts! 

The ebird checklist for the survey can be found in the below link:

In conclusion, it was a very fruitful session in FRIM. Many of our Wild Bird Club Members were very happy to be involved in a Citizen Science Project. We were also happy to exchange our knowledge and experience with the staff from FRIM who also benefitted a lot from this session. We look forward for more collaboration with FRIM for future projects.

Photo credits : Lee Yue Teng, Mah Foong Sein, Teoh Teik Hoon, Terence Ang Wai Sheng

Report by Ashwin Kalai Chelvan

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Kuala Selangor Nature Park Trip Report

3rd DEC 2022 – Birding at Kuala Selangor Nature Park, Selangor

On 28th Nov 2022, WBCM’ s Andy Lee initiated the plan to have a visit on 3rd Dec 2022 to Kuala Selangor Nature Park, located at the mouth of Selangor River, in the district of Kuala Selangor. About 15 participants joined the visit and led by Mr. Andy. 

Kuala Selangor Nature Park was established in 1987 and been managed by Malaysia Nature Society (MNS). The park covers a total area of 2.4km2, with a combination of secondary forest and wetland. According to eBird webpage, it has the highest number of bird species sighted in Selangor, with 342 species of birds observed. 

It was a rainy morning. We arrived at 7.30am and we just waited for the rain to stop. Around 8:00am, the rain stopped, and Mr. Andy led the team to look for birds near the Information Center of KNSP first. Oriental magpie robins were the first to greet, followed by Yellow Vented Bulbuls, Black Naped Oriole and Yellow Vented Bulbul. We managed to sight a good number of Ashy Minivets, gleaning for insects and caterpillars on the canopies. Adjacent to the minivets were, few Coppersmith Barbets perching as if waiting for the day to turn a little hotter. Brown Throated Sunbird, Common Iora, Blue Tailed Bee-eater was among the bird seen before we enter the trail towards the mangroves.

I had to warn about the mosquitoes here, it is way too awful, especially on the trail towards the mangroves.  So, get prepared with long sleeved tops, long pants and mosquito repellents. Along the trail, we managed to sight and hear some birds. A Greater Coucal was uttering its signature deep resonating - 6 noted calls, from the bushes. Common Flameback was also seen at the beginning of the trail as well. As we were walking along the trail, we found that it was quiet. We saw a solo Grey Heron as soon as we reached a canal. As we approached, it flew away and seek refuge on a nearby tree. 

We later proceed to the watch tower, yet in between we found a Tree Climbing Crab. From the watch tower, we manage to see some birds from the watch tower, including a snake, the Malayan Krait.  

Once done observing from the watch tower, we walked towards the second watch tower, and here we saw Laced Woodpeckers, Lesser Adjutant and a Changeable Hawk Eagle. A Common Kingfisher was also seen perching on a cable overhanging across a canal. 

We then entered into the mangroves. The concrete walkway is rather mossy and slippery. Walking should be done with very much caution here. Here, we observed a sub-adult Crested Serpent Eagle, Japanese Paradise Flycatcher and Swinhoe’s White Eyes. We then go back to the park’s information center to conclude our bird list around noon. Once the bird list concluded, we left the park and then had a good lunch together. 

We would like to thank Mr. Andy for organizing and leading this trip; Mr. Tang to upload the bird list in eBird and Mr. Chan for the lunch treat. 

eBird Bird Checklist Link:

Prepared By: Saravanan Palanisamy

Photos by: Mr. Yap S. C, Mr. Liew C. K. & Saravanan Palanisamy

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Trip Report for the Rompin Bird Race 2022

On the 17/9/2022, one day after the 59th Malaysia Day, Taman Negeri Endau Rompin held it's inaugural bird race during the long weekend. The organiser managed to muster only 6 teams to participate. Being a first timer there, I found the place far and secluded. But having been there, it is acceptable that a jungle resort setting should be as such.

On the morning of the race the place was buzzing with predominantly members of WBCM and Friends of SBBG. Those not taking part were there as arbitrators, volunteers manning their society's booth, and some were there a day or two earlier to enjoy their private birding activities and jungle trekking. 

Participants were there early mingling amongst themselves catching up with friends. Before the briefing started, birds such as Pacific Swallow, Little Green-Pigeon, Pink-Necked Green-Pigeon, and Oriental Magpie Robin were already spotted. 

The briefing by the manager of the State Park Mr. Effendy, arbitrators Tang Tuck Hong and Andy Lee was short. The participants having understood the rules and regulations were flagged off 5 minutes before the official start time of 8 am. Participants enthusiasm were buoyed with the promise of good weather.

At the start all the teams were seen congregating by the end/side of the main building where several species of birds were spotted like the Dark-Throated Oriole, Blue -Winged Leaf Bird, Greater Coucal, Whiskered Treeswift and others. 

After all the initial hoohah and excitement, the teams started to go their different ways around the park.

Team Rail-Babbler decided to go for their lifer of the Malaysian Rail-Babbler which was sighted near the entrance of the Park which is a few minutes drive away. Luck was with them for they managed to sight the bird. Team Tempua and team WBKR decided to tackle the forested corridor along the Sungai Rompin. Team Mountain Barbet, which is a family team from Singapore decided to stay in the vicinity of the Park's office. The other two teams were nowhere to be seen even during the results announcement and prize giving ceremony. With noon approaching, birds were difficult to come by.

By then teams were seen in close proximity together with other visitors peeping curiously into the thick undergrowth looking for a pair of Cinnamon-Rumped Trogon which is quite difficult to come across. Thanks to Low Kok Hen, Andy Lee, Tang Tuck Hong and others for discovering the presence of the birds. It was a happy moment for me as I earned another lifer.

Lunch was served from 12pm to 1pm. After lunch teams were busy exploring different spots to rake in more species. However around 1.30pm the good weather relented, and the rain started coming down. 

By then every teams were back and submitted their results knowing that it would be impossible to race again before closing time. It was another get together before the announcement of the winners.

The winners were announced with Team Rail-Babbler coming in at fourth place, Team Mountain Barbet securing third placing. It was a tie between Team WBKR and Team Tempua. However, Team Tempua were declared the winner by virtue of sighting their first bird earliest, thus winning a free one night stay for 3.

Looking forward to another race next year.

Before that I would love to experience a lovely stress free overnight birding trip, for I am impressed with the accommodations and facilities.

Trip report by Mr. Hiew Fong On

Photos by Mr. Tang Tuck Hong

Some birds were seen during the Bird Race such as the Dark-Throated Oriole, Whiskered Treeswift, Cream-Vented Bulbul as well as the rare and elusive Cinnamon-Rumped Trogon

The participants of the bird race attending a briefing by Park Coordinator Mr. Effendi.

Birding during the race.

WBCM Committee Member Mr. Andy Lee presenting the first prize to the winners, Team Tempua

Thursday, September 29, 2022


From the 2nd to 4th of July 2022, WBCM organized a Long Trip to Taman Negara Sungai Relau in Merapoh, Pahang. This was the first long trip organised since the pandemic. It was a memorable trip with 27 WBCM members attending. The trip organiser was Mr. Low Kok Hen. He arranged the logistics such as the itinerary, accomodation etc. The trip was very well organised. Special thanks to him for the great effort. 

On the morning of 2nd July (Saturday), a few cars gathered at a famous breakfast spot at Raub town. The place was famous for Steamed Bread and Half Boiled Eggs. After a scrumptious breakfast, we headed off to Gua Musang where we will be staying for the next few days during our adventure.

We checked in at Durian Hill Villa at Gua Musang and then proceeded to have lunch. Our plan was to meet up at the National Park HQ at 1pm for the briefing.

In the afternoon, the full gang arrived at Taman Negara Sungai Relau! Our adventure had finally begun! Low Kok Hen briefed everyone on safety measures, do's and don'ts and other regulations that we had to follow. At about 2pm, we finally headed off for our first round of birdwatching at the national park.

Around the park headquarters, we saw birds that were fairly common such as the Common Myna, Spectacled Spiderhunter, Brown-Throated Sunbird, White-Throated Kingfisher etc. As our group was quite big, we ended up breaking into smaller groups of people birding together. Some went ahead while some members of the group who did not wish to walk too far went at a slower pace.

As we went through the forested area, the number of birds that we started to see also increased. We set up a hide at a particular section of the park, hoping to see the elusive Garnet Pitta, one of the target birds for this trip. We did hear the Pitta close by, but it did not come out.

We did see many other birds at the hide though. This included the Yellow-Bellied Bulbul, White-Rumped Shama and the Short-Tailed Babbler. Some of our members stayed at the hide waiting for more birds to arrive while others ventured deep into the National Park, hoping for more bird encounters. One group managed to see a mousedeer crossing the tarred road while they were in.

Some notable birds that were seen that afternoon were the Black-and-Yellow Broadbill, Square-Tailed Drongo-Cuckoo, Wreathed Hornbill and Chestnut-Winged Babbler. Towards the end of the day, a number of members saw the Scarlet-Rumped Trogon, which became the star bird of the day. A number of other birds were heard but not seen as well.

For the first afternoon of birding, we managed to record close to 45 species of birds. It was a good first day. We then travelled back to Gua Musang for dinner, where we also did our bird checklist for the first day.

For the second day, we had an early breakfast near our lodging area in Gua Musang and proceeded to the National Park early in the morning. Our itinerary of the day was to take a 4WD into Kuala Juram. Kuala Juram is the point in the National that is about 14 KM deep inside and is the base for people to start the climb to Gunung Tahan.

Upon reaching Kuala Juram in the morning, we then proceeded with our morning birding. On the way, some groups already spotted some birds including the Asian Emerald Dove as well as the White-Bellied Woodpecker.

At Kuala Juram, were were greeted early in the morning with a fruiting tree where we saw a number of birds including the Red-Throated Barbet, Blue-Eared Barbet, Green Broadbill and several other birds.

As we proceeded to bird around the area, we saw large numbers of Little Cuckoo-Doves at the tarred road heading back to the park HQ. Along our birding trail, many notable birds were seen during the morning session. This included the Rhinoceros Hornbill, Blue-Eared Kingfisher, Spotted Fantail, Chestnut-Backed Scimitar-Babbler, Grey-Headed Canary-Flycatcher, Rufous-Fronted Babbler and Red-Naped Trogon.

After a tiring but successful session of morning birding, we proceeded to have our packed lunch at Kuala Juram. In the afternoon, it was a free and easy session. Some members proceeded to do birding around Kuala Juram before we would take the 4WD back to the park HQ. Some notable birds were seen during the afternoon session as well. This included the Buff-Necked Woodpecker, Verditer Flycatcher and other birds.

We finally took the 4WD back to the location of the bird hide where we spent the rest of the afternoon till about 6pm. Some notable sightings there included more sightings of the Green Broadbills as well as the Scarlet-Rumped Trogon. Some other birds were seen as well. The Rufous Woodpecker and Black and Red Broadbill were seen at the Park HQ among other birds. All in, our group collectively saw and heard close to 90 species of birds that day.

For dinner, we travelled back to Gua Musang and we had KFC. WBCM chipped in for the dinner and it was an enjoyable night. At night, some members noticed that there were a number of Savanna Nightjars lurking around our lodging area. Hence, some members headed out to find them with our torchlights. It was a succesful find! 

On the 4th of July, it was our last day of birding. All of us were determined to see as many birds as possible before were to leave the National Park on this day. Again, we broke into smaller groups. Some members opted to bird along the tarred road while others chose to wait and try their luck for the Garnet Pitta. For our last day, close to 70 birds were seen that morning. Some notable sightings included a number of Babbler species such as the Chestnut-Rumped Babbler, Black-Capped Babbler, Black-Throated Babbler and Fluffy-Backed Tit-Babbler. It also included other birds such as the Scarlet-Backed Flowerpecker, Rufous-Backed Dwarf-Kingfisher and Mountain Imperial Pigeon. One member also managed to see and record a video of the Garnet Pitta. As a result, the bird could be counted as seen instead of being only heard the previous 2 days. Some birds that were seen the previous days were also seen again on the third day. Some members who missed certain birds such as the Green Broadbill managed to have a good look of it on the last day.

At around 1pm in the afternoon, we finally wrapped up the birdwatching for the day and did our final bird list. We then proceeded to leave the National Park. It was a wonderful 3 day 2 night trip with lots of friendships made and strengthened as well as many avian friends being discovered by our members. In total, we had observed and recorded close to 116 species of birds over the course of the trip. Definitely looking forward to more birding trips organised by WBCM in the future.