Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chestnut-Breasted Malkoha

Kenyir, 27th-30th October 2010


My previous attempts to photograph this magnificent bird  failed to produce any desirable results. Even though relatively a large bird, their habit of clambering and creeping amongst dense foliage in mid-story make them tough to photograph. Getting clean shots of them is like winning a lottery!

Luck must be on my side when this lovely bird briefly showed up on a leafless branch allowing me to get a few clean shots.



Notice the red facial skin and dark oily-green upperside, they look almost metallic..




Chestnut colored breast – hence the name Chestnut-Breasted Malkoha




A tight crop of the steely, cold, blue eye


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

White-Crowned Hornbill

Kenyir, 27th to 30th October 2010


Mention the name ‘Hornbill’ and the images that flash by are of those large, magnificent bird with glorious, colorful, large casque and over-sized bill. But what I have here is a Hornbill that does not conform to our usual expectation of how a Hornbill should look like. Without a prominent casque, long shaggy white crest and dirty colored bill, many people would say that this WC Hornbill is the ugliest among the hornbills, but then, what right have we got to make that judgment? I believe, if they could talk they’ll tell us that they don’t need to look pretty to humans but prefer to be left alone in their natural habitat and help ensure their survival! Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?

All my previous encounters with Hornbills in Kenyir area have always been with their more recognized cousins, the Great Hornbill, Rhinoceros Hornbill and the Oriental Pied Hornbill. This was my first encounter with the White-Crowned Hornbill in this area. Unfortunately the distance and lighting gave me little opportunity to capture better images of this wonderful bird.

Female WC Hornbill with black underparts.



Male WC Hornbill with white underparts.



A distant shot of this lovely couple



About an hour later, I spotted another pair perched on a nearby tree but the male flew off before I had my gear set up, leaving me with just a few shots of this young female bird.



Saturday, November 27, 2010

Flame of the Forest – Scarlet-Rumped Trogon

Kenyir, 27th-30th October 2010

To a bird photographer, sighting this bird in it’s natural habitat is similar to a ‘motor head’ sighting a scarlet Ferrari on the highway . They evoke feelings of excitement and admiration which words alone could not accurately describe.
I stumbled upon this male Scarlet-Rumped Trogon by ‘accident’. I was shooting at a fruiting tree where there were a few birds feeding, mainly bulbuls and barbets when suddenly a bright red bird flew across my line of sight and perched on a nearby tree.
Once in focus, the super bright, deep, pink color of the underparts looked as if it was about to ‘explode’ through the viewfinder.
If colors could start fire, then this bird would be the prime suspect for those forest fire!

In contrast to the underparts, the soft brown upperparts coupled with whitish wing vermiculations, made him look very attractive.

A very attractive bird indeed…….

A ‘Darth Vader’ in red!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lesser Green Leafbird

Ulu Trengganu, 24th October 2010


Commonly seen in flock but only this young male showed up during this photography session.



They’re called Leafbird for the very obvious reason : look at the color of their plumage!



Not an easy task to spot them among the leaves…..



Unless it’s in open area like these…



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pin-Striped Tit Babbler

Ulu Trengganu, 24th October 2010


Besides the Chestnut-Winged, these Pin-Striped Tit Babbler are the ones that are most commonly found in the forest of Kelantan and Trengganu. Their preference for the lower canopy of the forest make spotting them quite easy but getting clean shots of them will always be a challenge.




Quick movements and small size add to the degree of difficulty.



They’re good ‘target practice’ bird ……


Monday, November 22, 2010

Rufous-Tailed Tailorbird

Saddle Dam F, Kenyir 28th October 2010


This is another ‘super-active’ little bird usually found near edge of forests in Malaysia.  With their loud, chirping, song, locating them is quite easy but getting clean shots of them is another story.

Their preference for thick undergrowth and quick movements make photographing them a real challenge.



I spent about an hour trying to get decent shots of this lovely bird.



They usually stay on the perch for a couple of seconds before darting to another location.



Luckily, they normally return to their perch again for a brief period before darting off to another location.



Throat expanded, singing at the top of the voice!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sky and Water

Ulu Trengganu, 22nd October 2010


After Pergau, my next assignment was in the Ulu Trengganu Project area. It was a pleasant drive from Jeli to Kuala Brang, passing through some of the most spectacular sights near Gua Musang and those along Kenyir Lake. Unfortunately, the weather condition does not allow for much photographic opportunities. Anyway, I’d like to share some the images I captured during my earlier trip along this route.


Early morning along the East-West Highway near Pergau.



Mid-afternoon on the K. Brang – Gua Musang road.





And you can even have a cool and refreshing break at one of these beautiful streams located along the road.




Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tok Janggut – Red-Bearded Bee-eater

Renyok Intake Road, Jeli 20th October 2010


Even with their loud, hoarse, gruff ‘chachachacha’, you’ll have to carefully search the location in order to locate them. Their habit of sitting motionless and leaf-green color of their plumage make them difficult to spot.  From my observation, their behavior and colorations actually helped them in catching their prey.

See how well this female RB Bee-eater ( more red, less purple on crown) blends with the green background.



From a distance, bees and other insects are lured by the bright red, pinkish purple color of the head, which resemble a pretty flower full of nectar. As the bees get within range, all she has to do is just grab them or sometimes make a short dash to catch the prey – pretty clever trick!

A female RB Bee-eater swirling her head while trying to catch some insect from her perch.



Returning to her perch after a short dash to grab her prey.



The female RB Bee-eater above was shot in Kg. Lawar 4 days earlier. This male RB Bee-Eater (all pinkish-purple crown) was shot near Renyok Intake on the 20th Oct. 2010. I noticed that he was not hunting hence the preference for a more open area.



Even in open area, I think bees and other insects will still be attracted by the color….




They attract not only bees and insects, but photographers too !


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Temminck’s Sunbird

Pergau, 20th October 2010

I was driving along the road to Renyok Intake when I saw this bright red little bird flew across the road about 50m in front of me. I quickly grabbed my gear and shot a few frames through the car window. I knew very well that without a suitable support, getting good photographs of this little bird is next to impossible but since this is a lifer for me, I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity without trying. Something is always better than nothing! Don’t you think so?

Getting a clean shot of this ‘super-active’ little bird was made even more difficult by the dense leaves and branches of the tree that he chose to land on. Here are some of the photos that I managed to capture.



Looking at the white spots on the breast and the shorter than expected tail, I believe this is a young male.




Is this a Finch’s Bulbul?

Kg. Lawar, Jeli, 16 October 2010


I’m not really sure of it’s ID but based on Craig Robson’s book, the closest match is a Finch’s Bulbul or is it Olive Bulbul or could it be an Olive-Winged Bulbul? Hope those experts out there could help me with the ID.



Just couldn’t get clear shots of the back because the bird appeared right above me and I couldn’t back off on time …..




Looking for some variations to their normal diet of fruits and berries, I supposed….