Friday, December 8, 2017

Raptor watching at Thoolakharka, Nepal (4-14 November 2017) Part 2

Golden Bush Robin
A Listing of birds sighted at Thoolakharka
Compiled by Lim Seik Ni
1. Kalij Pheasant (Lophura leucomelanos )
2. Crimson-breasted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos cathpharius)
3. Grey-capped Woodpecker (Picus canus)
4. Bay Woodpecker (Blythipicus pyrrhotis)
5. Great Barbet (Megalaima virens)
6. Blue-throated Barbet (Megalaima asiatica)
7. White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
8.Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)
9.Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)
10.Red-rumped Swollow (Cecropis daurica)
11.Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
12. Black-eared Kite (Milvus migrans)
13.Bearded Vulture (Lammergeier) (Gypaetus barbatus)
14.Eygptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)
15.White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis)
16.Himalayan Vulture (Griffon) (Gyps himalayensis)
17.Red-headed Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus)
18.Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis)
19. Besra (Accipiter virgatus)
20.Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
21.Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhyncus)
22.Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)
23.Bonelli's Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus)
24.Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)
25.Mountain Hawk-eagle (Spizaetus nipalensis)
26.Himalayan Buzzard (Buteo spp)
27.Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
28.Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
29. Amur Falcon (Falco amurensis)
30.Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo)
31.Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
32.Yellow-billed Blue Magpie (Urocissa flavirostris)
33.Red-billed Blue Magpie (Urocissa erythroryncha)
34.Common Green Magpie (Cissa chinensis)
35.Grey Treepie (Dendrocitta formosae)
36.Black Headed Jay (Garrulus lanceolatus)
37.House Crow (Corvus splendens)
38.Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos)
39.Common Raven (Corvus corax)
40.Long-tailed Minivet (Pericrocotus ethologus)
41.White-throated fantail (Rhipidura albicollis)
42.Yellow-bellied Fantail (Rhipidura hypoxantha)
43.Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus)
44.Maroon Oriole (Oriolus traillii)
45.Long-tailed shrike (Lanius schach)
46.White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
47.Black Headed Jay (Garrulus lanceolatus)
48.Himalayan Bluetail (Tarsiger rufilatus)
49.Golden Bush Robin (Tarsiger chrysaeus)
50.Blue-fronted Redstart (Phoenicurus frontalis)
51.White-capped Water-redstart (Chaimarrornis leucocephalus)
52.Plumbeous Water- redstart (Rhyacornis fuliginosus)
53.Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)
54.White-tailed Nuthatch (Sitta himalayensis)
55.Green-backed Tit (Parus monticolus)
56.Black-throated Tit (Aegithalos concinnus)
57.Yellow-browed Tit (Sylviparus modestus)
58.Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus)
59.Himalayan Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucogenys)
60.Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer)
61.Asian Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes leucocephalus)
62.Hume’s Warbler (Phylloscopus humei)
63.Ashy-throated Wabler (Phylloscopus maculipennis)
64.Grey-hooded Warbler (Seicercus xanthoschistos)
65.Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
66.Yellow-bellied Wabler (Abroscopus superciliaris)
67.Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler (Pomatorhinus erythrogenys)
68.Streaked Scimitar Babbler (Pomatorhinus ruficollis)
69.White-throated Laughingthrush (Garrulax albogularis)
70.White-crested Laughingthrush (Garrulax leucolophus)
71.Striated Laughingthrush (Garrulax striatus)
72.Streaked Laughingthrush (Garrulax lineatus)
73.Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush (Garrulax erythrocephalus)
74.Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea)
75.Bar-throated Siva (Siva Strigula) 
76.Whiskered Yuhina (Yuhina flavicollis)
77.Orienal white-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus)
78.Rufous Sibia (Heterophasia capistrata)
79.Grey Bushchat (Saxicola ferreus)
80.Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata)
81.Common Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus)
82.Rusty-tailed flycatcher (Muscicapa ruficauda)
83.Ferruginous flycatcher (Muscicapa ferruginea)
84.Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher (Ficedula strophiata)
85.Large Niltava (Niltava grandis)
86.Fire-breasted Flowerpecker (Dicaeum ignipectus)
87.Green-tailed Sunbird (Aethopyga nipalensis)
88.Black-throated Sunbird (Aethopyga saturata)
89.Fire-tailed Sunbird (Aethopyga ignicauda)
90.Mrs Gould’s Sunbird (Aethopyga gouldiae)
91.House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
92.Russet Sparrow (Passer rutilans)
93. EurasianTree Sparow (Passer montanus)
94.Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni)
95.Rosy Pipit (Anthus roseatus)
96.Dark-breasted Rosefinch (Carpodacus nipalensis)
97.Pink-browed Rosefinch (Carpodacus rodochroa)
98.Blue Whistling-thrush (Myophonus caeruleus)
99.Pied Thrush (Zoothera wardii)
Peregrine Falcon
Asian Black Bulbul

Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler

Eurasian Hobby
Common Raven
Long-tailed Minivet
Black-throated Tit
Rufous Sibia

Mrs Gould's Sunbird
Russet Sparrow
Pink-browed Rosefinch

Yellow-throated Marten (L) and Barking Deer (R)
All Other Photo Credit: Nelson Khor
Photo Credit: Adolph Khor for (Barking deer, Black-throated Tit and Golden Bush Robin)

Raptor watching at Thoolakharka, Nepal (4-14 November 2017) Part 1

Think Nepal and visions of the awesome Himalayas come to mind.  

We arrived in the late evening. At dawn the next day, an ad hoc group gathered in the camping grounds of the Angel Guesthouse at the Australian Base Camp (ABC) in Thoolakharka. Pulled together by the desire to catch the first glimpses of the sunrise bathing the snowcapped Annapurna peaks (a massif of the Himalayas) in gold — it was indeed awesome!
In clear view from the ABC is Machapuchare or commonly known as the Fishtail Mountain. Here you can see both points of the “tail” unlike from Pokhara where it just looks like a rather sharp single peak. And you can be forgiven for wondering: Why call it fishtail?

Now, juxtapose the white snowcapped mountains against the clear, deep blue sky and the sight of majestic raptors gliding in. Wow!

Even as I walked up the viewing point, I catch sight of my first vultures - the Himalayan Vultures. Gliding effortlessly, these rather awkward, even comical birds (thanks to Disney’s animated Jungle Book) when on the ground, look just as magnificent as any other raptor up in the air.

They were followed by the distinctly marked and beautiful Bearded Vulture.

As if to greet us on our first day, the raptors showed up in full force.
To name a few, there were (see the attached bird list for all the birds sighted during our time there):
  1. Steppe Eagles (there were about 600 of this species that flew by us on the first day)
  2. Himalayan Vultures
  3. Bearded Vultures (Lammergeier
  4. Bonelli’s Eagles
  5. Booted Eagles
  6. Egyptian Vultures
  7. Black Eagles
  8. Amur falcon
  9. Red-headed Vultures
  10. White-rumped Vultures
The following days, the raptors that appeared were not as numerous but we still got some new species flying by, like the Common Kestrel and the Eurasian Sparrowhawk.
Black-eared Kite
White-rumped Vulture
Himalayan Vulture
Steppe Eagle
Common Kestrel
In the early mornings, some of us would bird for forest birds in the nearby trails and it was very rewarding. We had a family of Kalij Pheasants (2 males, 3 females); numerous Laughingthrushes, the Yellow-billed Blue Magpies just to name a few.

Just behind Angel Guesthouse’s dining room, in their vegetable garden, we had the Blue-fronted Redstart, the Green-backed Tit and the White-tailed Nuthatch.

On our last full day, three of us decided to take a one-and-half hour hike down to a nearby village called Dhampus to get some lower elevation species. It was a very pleasant hike and we managed to get some birds that we had not seen up in Thoolakharka. We had the lovely Himalayan Bulbul with a crest that reminded me of the Tibetan monks’ ceremonial hat; the Common Green Magpie, the Black Headed Jay; a pair of Common Stonechats; the Grey Treepie, the Red-billed Leiothrix; Red-billed Blue Magpie; Red-vented Bulbuls; and we had another family of Kalij Pheasants plus of course the ever present Black Kites.

Very quickly, our time in Thoolakharka had come to an end. As we trekked down to Kande to board our bus, we continued to bird a little. And we were all rewarded with clear views of the Maroon Oriole among others.

On our journey back to Kathmandu, the birding had still not stopped. At our tea stop at an R&R place by a river, we had 3 River Lapwings; a Plumbous Redstart; a White-capped Redstarts and a Common Sandpiper.

Raptor watching from Thoolakharka offers close views and a wide variety of species. Furthermore, with the cool and cold (Single digits at night and early mornings) climate plus some 900 bird species and lovely trekking routes (if you are into this activity) Nepal has a lot to offer. 
Text by Ng Bee Cheng
Photo Credit: Lee Poh Peng (Black-eared Kite, Besra, Common Kestrel and Mountain view)
Other Photos Credit: Nelson Khor

Listing of Birds sighted at Thoolakharka and more pictures of birds and mammals of Nepal can be viewed at Raptor watching at Thoolakharka, Nepal (4-14 November 2017) Part 2.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

KEDIDI - Newsletter December 2017 issue

KEDIDI is the thricely newsletter of Wild Bird Club Malaysia (WBCM) and we are delighted to announce that the December 2017:Vol 2/1 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 December 2017: Vol 2/1 issue can also be downloaded by clicking on image below:-

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 . 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 

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:- 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

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