Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Looking for Birds in the Highlands with friends from Taiwan


Bukit Tinggi Japanese Gardens
Friends from Taiwan visited Peninsular Malaysia recently and I was lucky enough to be able to accompany them on the last remaining 2.5 days of their 1-week birdwatching trip. It was a rainy Wednesday evening when I left office at Cyberjaya as I headed towards Bukit Tinggi. Heavy rain in Kuala Lumpur delayed my arrival by half an hour but thank goodness I could skip heavy traffic jams by exiting KL via Duke Highway. Andy Lee had led our Taiwanese friends towards Bukit Tinggi from Fraser Hill and Bentong, Pahang. They had just arrived at Selesa Hillhomes Resort and Mark Ng was getting ready to bring our friends for dinner at Kampung Bukit Tinggi. Mountain Peacock-Pheasant at Japanese Gardens did not disappoint our guests. However, the Ferruginous Partridge did not turn up that morning. Awana Biosphere park was our final birdwatching stop for the day. Just as we were driving downhill towards Genting Sempah, for dinner on the 2nd day of birdwatching session, two White-Crowned Hornbills flew over the road and perched on trees in the opposite hills. Our Taiwanese friends jumped out of the cars that were parked at the safest side of the curb. They stood safely on top of mound of grass in the middle of the road whilst we the drivers sat in our cars observing the hornbills (and the oncoming cars that were driving down from Genting Highlands). White-crowned hornbills' appearance at the end of our birdwatching session before Thursday night dinner at Genting Sempah capped off a good day of birding.
The checklists submitted to eBird Malaysia portal can be viewed below:-
https://ebird.org/malaysia/view/checklist/S57990883
https://ebird.org/malaysia/view/checklist/S57990956
Our Taiwanese friends had a precocious 7 year old girl, Elsa (Mr and Mrs Schumi Wu's daughter) with them throughout their trip. She was all bubbly and energetic at dinnertime. The trail was not suitable for her but the rosewater apple (jambu air) trees and fields surrounding Awana Biopark were just as interesting to her. Little cuckoo doves flew around us at Awana grounds. Some of the birds seen during the full day birdwatching session at Bukit Tinggi and Awana, Genting Highlands were...
Juvenile White-rumped Shama
Red-Billed Malkoha
Red-Billed Malkoha amused us at close range hopping around two trees
Solitary Black-thighed Falconet 
Changeable Hawk-Eagle perched on a rainy day as we were leaving Bukit Tinggi
Paddyfield Pipit perched high on a cable
White-Crowned Hornbill of Genting Sempah
Group photo at Awana Biopark photo credit to Low Kok Hen

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