Monday, December 16, 2013

Saving a Legacy Fraser Hill

The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) published "Footprints - 1963 Till Present" which chronicled the establishment of the society from 1940 to 2008. If 2013 is taken into account, that's 50 years of footprint left since the 1963 initiative to conserve the Giant Leathery Turtles in Terengganu.

The Footprints publication was a very interesting read indeed. I didn't realize that the Malayan Naturalist was introduced in 1974 and that it is a publication as old as myself. Seeing Raptor Watch Week, Tanjung Tuan being recorded way back in 2000 reminded me of the time when I first joined MNS as a member.

MNS has issued a Press Release on Fraser's Hill dated 13th April 2010. The shorter URL link is available Fraser's Hill Left Natural. My friend Fong Lin and I had visited Fraser Hill recently in mid-November 2013.

Our lunch stop at Kuala Kubu Bahru consisted of wantan mee with chicken curry, bowl of yong tau foo and Coca-cola. We sat under an Indian Cherry Tree to savour Cendol along Jalan Dato' Muda Jaafar. However, the cendol was just ok and really couldn't compare with the Cendol Bakar of Kuala Selangor!

Next stop was Teng Wun Bakery & Confectionery Cake shop where the fluffy muffins of KKB which I remembered reading in a blog sometime ago, were finally discovered!

There was a lovely tiled corner in the outer wall of the shop just outside its counter, with lovely pink roses motif.
Fong Lin drove her car with her friend and myself, surely and steadily up to Fraser's Hill. We started birding along the Old Telekom Loop around 4.30pm. Lo and behold, the long-tailed broadbill called and flew pass us at the entrance to the Old Telekom Loop towards this yellow lime tree.
Quite a number of resident species were sighted during our evening walk at the Old Telekom Loop. By the time we reached the Town Centre, it was around 6.45pm. It was really nice to have a view of the iconic Fraser Hill clock tower from Puncak Inn where we stayed.

We started our birdwatching at Jelai Highland Resort that early Saturday morning. Below a picture of the Silver-Eared Mesia, my all-time favourite bird species in Fraser Hill! This mesia was hopping about the bottle-brush tree. There was a bird wave that morning in Jelai. Fong Lin snapped away with her camera very professionally and has published a few beautiful pictures of the endemic birds in her FB page including that of the Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush and Streaked Spiderhunter.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Yellow Throated Marten at Fraser Hill

Yellow-throated Marten was sighted at the New Gap Road on 23 November 2013 evening by my friend Fong Lin and myself.

I first saw three adult Marten running from thick foliage of hillside across the tarred road into the bushy undergrowth further downhill. These three animals had rich glossy yellow and brown tail and bounded across the tarred road in so silently in a very otter-like manner. I was too stunned with the beauty, speed and grace of these animals to reach for my camera in time. I could just stand in awe as one ran passed, followed by the second and then a third, with a few seconds of interval in between. These martens didn't all run out in a group. I waited for a few minutes before continuing my walk further down the New Gap Road. 
Ecology Asia's description and picture of the Yellow -Throated Marten
matches the mammal I had seen. Below pic of the 8th KM milestone marker for the Gap along the New Road. My friend and I walked until this milestone and then back-tracked upwards towards Fraser Hill.
 We had reached the same spot where the three Martens had ran passed me earlier and this time, we saw one more adult Marten (not sure if it is the FOURTH Yellow-throated Marten). The adult ran across the tarred road, followed by a smaller-sized Marten. The baby Marten stopped in the middle of the road, looked curiously at both my friend and I and then jumped onto the opposite pavement. It disappeared into the undergrowth where the three Martens had gone into earlier. Below pictures of my friend Fong Lin pointing to the smaller baby Marten.
Think this is a family of Martens with the baby traveling behind them, with the adults going ahead first to ensure a safe passage for the youngest Marten:)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher in PJ State

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx Erithacus) spotted on tar road behind my parked car when I was in PJ State area. I had stopped for lunch that Saturday around 11.30am and had packed lunches for my sister and brother-in-law. Was on my way to their place at Bukit Jalil.

Kingfisher looked dazed and was very still on the tar road so I thought it was injured. I held it gently in my hand and wrapped it with my handkerchief.

Called vet, Dr. Arumugam who had clinic at Bandar Kinrara, Puchong. On the way to his clinic when the kingfisher flew out of handkerchief a few times. Examined it closely a few times to check if wing or feet were injured. It had one of its eyes closed for a while so I thought it may be suffering from an eye injury. But after around 30 minutes of observation which luckily I could do inside my car that was parked at my sister's place, the kingfisher kept wriggling out of my hand and flew all over my car, perching on seat, headrest, rear window and seemed to be eager to fly out.

So I drove to the International Medical College, Bukit Jalil and along a residential road which ended facing green areas of the Golf course.  

Held it gently in my hand for a while to see if it was injured.......
Observed it when it sat on my car doormat above.....
and on the car seat....
wrapped it in my hanky when I was driving.....
kingfisher waking up inside my car when I parked at my sister's place...
Couldn't resist taking more pics of it as it hopped around on my dashboard....
A very contemplative-looking kingfisher next to my Maneko cats.....
It opened its eyes and started wriggling out of my hand so decided to observe it a few more minutes...
Perching at the side of my car window as shown in pics above and below:-
Kingfisher in deep thoughts below:-
On my passenger seat:-
It hopped on my lap for a few minutes......

I held the kingfisher in my hand for last time and released it towards the Golf course. It flew towards the Asoka trees, with pond/stream nearby, as shown in pic below:-

According to "Kingfishers of the World", Knowles & Nitchen, 1995 edition, the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher belongs to the Alcedinidae family of Kingfishers and this sub-family currently consists of 22 very small to medium-sized kingfishers found in rainforests or close to waterside environments. To find this 14cm beautiful kingfisher in PJ State, standing motionless on the tarred road behind my parked car was really the last place on earth I'd expect to see it. This Living Jewel of a bird that was in car for that precious 30 minutes made my Saturday noontime an unforgettable experience.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Gunung Telapa Buruk Negeri Sembilan

Gunung Telapa Buruk. Secretly tucked away in one of the corners of the Titiwangsa ranges in the state of Negeri Sembilan. Together with MNS friends from Malacca and Negeri Sembilan, we gathered in the District of Pantai for breakfast that bright Saturday morning before heading towards Telapa Buruk. At 3,913 feet ( according to Wikipedia ), this best-kept secret of Negeri Sembilan was rich with sub-montane birds! 

Sultan Tit. Flock of Sultan Tits at the place where Janice, Ang and myself sat for lunch at the side of the tarred road on the way to the summit of Gunung Telapa Buruk.

Mr. Blue-winged Leafbird. With his family of Mrs and Junior Blue-winged Leafbird. Total of 14 species sighted on a very late morning and early afternoon walk along the tarred road leading to the summit of Gunung Telapa Buruk.

Seems Silver-breasted Broadbills were common in Gunung Telapa Buruk but on that late August day, none were seen.

 All in all, it was a morning and afternoon well-spent in Gunung Telapa Buruk. The canopy of the trees with the sky above formed what looked like the letter V for Victory, from a distance up along the road. Truly a victorious day for Malaysia when the environment is protected and preserved for generations to come.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Wildlife of Fraser Hill

Leaf Monkey, Telekom Loop, Fraser Hill on a very bright Saturday morning. Enjoying its lunchtime menu of fresh green leaves!

Monday, June 24, 2013

To See Every Bird on Earth

My friend gave me this book written by Dan Koeppel. Entitled "To See Every Bird on Earth", this book was a loving dedication from a son to his father, Dr. Richard J. Koeppel.

The story revolves around Dr Koeppel's hobby which has turned into a lifetime pursuit to list over 7000 species of birds seen. Dr Koeppel's birdwatching interest was ignited by the sighting and identification of a Brown Thrasher in woods nearby his hometown in New York. He soon traveled extensively across America and around the world including South America. He passed away on 2 August 2012 aged 76. Obituary

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Birds of Fraser Hill Part 2

My friend Ang Teck Hin and I went on a very short birdwatching trip to Fraser Hill during the Wesak Day weekend of May 2013. Below his incredible shot of Blythe's Hawk-Eagle. He took just seconds to take this shot in the blazing sunlight morning along Old Gap Road. Great photographer and birder!
Species heard but not seen were the Malaysian Rail-Babbler at the Phenology Trail and the Rusty-Nape Pitta at Bishop's Trail. The Mountain Peacock Pheasant remains elusive. It was last sighted at Pine Tree Trail. We walked about 50 meters at the entrance to this Trail - wasn't there any more. The view of the distant hills was breathtaking though.  
Chestnut-crowned Warbler
Crested Serpent Eagle perched on a hot Saturday morning along the new Gap Road
Ochraceous Bulbul
Greater Green Leafbird. A few seen flying and foraging in the trees along the old Gap road.
Green-billed Malkoha. Lovely sight of this bird from third floor of Telekom Apartments at Telekom Loop.
Little Pied Flycatcher.
Blue Nuthatch. Three of these birds seen acting very mouse-like along the tree trunks at Telekom loop.

All pictures were taken by Ang Teck Hin and are also available in his Facebook page. Experienced the windy rains of Fraser Hill on a very wet Saturday afternoon after the bright sunny morning. Amazing how  wildlife adapts to the changing weather conditions in the hills. Also saw a big baboon-like monkey with pigtail and a Langur along Telekom Loop. No signs of the Slow Loris this time.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fraser Hill in May 2013

Damar Minyak tree tagged at the Phenology site under the Selangor State Forestry Department. 
Selangor State Forestry Department signage before the trail that leads to the Damar Minyak Phenology patch. According to Wikipedia, Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors. Apparently phenological records are very useful in the study of climate change and global warming. 
Fraser Hill on a hot and sunny Saturday morning. A pair of Blythe's Hawk-Eagle dominated the skies that morning.
Fern shoot along the old Gap Road that leads to Fraser Hill. 
Raindrops clinging to this lipstick-like flowers after heavy downpour outside Telekom Apartments (Sri Peninjau).
Tree laden with rose-like pink flowers. Look like magnolia. Below pictures of the greenery and pine tree just outside the Telekom apartment (Sri Peninjau) located at the third floor.

Rainbow arch seen along the new Gap Road Saturday evening as night approaches. On the lookout for the Malaysian Eared Nightjar. Still not sure what lies at the end of the rainbow! The Nightjar remains as elusive as the pot of gold.
Breakfast consisted of Nasi Kerabu at Nurin's Fraser's Corner. Had to line up for my breakfast but it was worth it. The rice, tinged with the blue colours of the flower goes very well with freshly chopped bunga kantan, long beans, cabbage and salted egg. Missing the mackerel fish though. Deliciously enjoyed with hot teh tarik after early morning birdwatching session. Birdwatching continued after that! 
This eucalyptus tree stands tall and proud just outside Hemmant trail.
The road outside Hemmant Trail leading to the KTM Berhad Resthouse and 9-hole Golf Course in Fraser Hill.
Hemmant Trail where the Rusty-Naped Pitta was heard but (sadly) never seen.

The tree-tops of the two eucalyptus tree - nearly forming a canopy above the skies above Hemmant Trail.  



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