Sunday, February 26, 2017

Goh Tong Jaya Genting Highlands on a Saturday afternoon

Flowerpeckers are some of the loveliest birds in Malaysia and this Fire-breasted flowerpecker is no exception:) Road up the Water Catchment area next to Police Station at Gohtong Jaya front gate was partially open so I drove and parked just outside the entrance gate. It was already mid-afternoon that Saturday so I didn't expect many birds to be active at that time. The mini bird wave was a pleasant find further up the road with the leafbird, flowerpecker, malkoha, minivets, flycatcher-shrike all showing up in a short space of time. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fire-breasted Flowerpecker was the prelude to the bird wave. Unlike the flowerpecker which stayed on same branch for quite a long period of time (hopped to its left and right all the time on that branch), the bird wave moved further up along the trees towards the water catchment area. 

                             The Green-billed Malkoha (1 individual seen as in pic above), Blue-Winged Leafbird (a pair of male and female), Grey-chinned Minivet (one male and several females), Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike were part of the bird wave. I wanted to follow this wave all the way up towards the upper end of the road but a local on a motorcycle who was driving along, saw me and informed me I wasn't allowed to walk on this road. I explained to him that I was only birdwatching and that I would be making my way down towards my car soon before he drove away - phew! 
Grey-chinned Minivet (male) below:-

I kept my promise and started walking downwards along the road. The Black-thighed Falconet perched on this leaf-less tree was the final bird seen that late afternoon. There was a pair of Falconet, with one fluttering away a few minutes after I had caught sight of both these raptors. 

                                                                                                                                                                          Black-thighed Falconet is one of the smallest birds of prey in the world and seeing it as I was about to reach my car, was a perfect ending to my birdwatching session alongside this road. This falconet species never ceases to amaze me:)       

The rain-clouds could just suddenly pass over the skies above Goh Tong Jaya. Thankfully, I had reached my car just in time before the drizzle began. The blue patch of sky was still visible and it gave me hope that I could continue to birdwatch at Goh Tong Sports Centre before I left for KL.

One peregrine falcon flew pass over the Mawar apartments Gohtong Jaya as I arrived at Gohtong Sports Centre, my final birdwatching area in Genting Highlands. Streaked Spiderhunter was in action late Saturday afternoon, feeding on the nectar of the flowers which were growing right on top of this tree (below) in front of the Sports Centre:-
Large woodshrike, (a pair) flew by quite low and one of this woodshrike perched for a while at a fir-like tree (see below). Also seen were the Blue-throated Bee Eater (a pair), a flock of Everett's White-eyes and two unidentified raptor species. One of the raptor was flying in a straight line just above the hills behind the Mawar apartments and Sports Centre whereas the second one was thermalling before both disappeared behind the hills. Ended my birdwatching by 6pm, had dinner at Ratha's Curry House (famous chain from Raub), and left Goh Tong Jaya by 6.40pm. Pair of Peregrine Falcon that were seen the day before were reported in my blog earlier.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ulu Kali Genting Highlands

Male Siberian Thrush hopping on the ground of the radar station. Montane birds were out and about this Saturday morning, perching on the wired fences around the radar station in Ulu Kali, Genting Highlands. The Himalayan Cutia was reported to have been seen at this site by 8.15am in the morning.  

More pictures of this male Siberian Thrush in action below:-

Ulu Kali all aglow with bright rays of the sun by 9am below:-

Grey Wagtail flew into the vicinity of the radar station and perched on barbed wire of the fence.
Mountain Leaf Warbler in action below. Seen it feeding on tiny insects, moths and butterflies. Breakfast buffet spread at Ulu Kali that Saturday morning for this montane bird!  
This was also the first time I get to see the Mt Leaf Warbler out in the open. Usually seen in thick undergrowth and in upperparts of trees. It was a real joy to see this Warbler at eye-level for me!
The Spectacle Laughingthrush was having a good morning exercise hopping about the grounds too:-
Snowy-browed Flycatcher, male and female pair were hunting for breakfast that morning at Ulu Kali:-
Female Snowy-browed Flycatcher below
Rocky outcrop laden with trees, ferns - amazing greenery within Genting Highlands, which is rare.

 Mountain bulbul above, and perched on the branch of the trees by the roadside below:- 
Mountain bulbul's olive green wings become more prominent as the sun shines on it:)
Views from Ulu Kali as I headed back down to Goh Tong Jaya by 10am. Heartening to experience nature even in a place that is more well-known for theme parks, casino and concerts.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Peregrine Falcon Found on a Friday

Screeching calls of the Peregrine falcon that made me focused on this block of condominium in Goh Tong Jaya, Genting Highlands that Friday evening. I had been unwell that day having visited a clinic in KL early in the afternoon. Decided that the nearest place for me to recuperate and take in some mountain air was Genting Highlands. Left KL by 5pm, took the DUKE highway (slow drive as I stopped for breaks to take my medications) and reached Goh Tong Jaya by 6pm. Spent a few minutes in Awana observing the Stripe-throated Bulbul and Striped Tit Babblers in the Garden/Park just outside Awana Resort. Mosquitoes were everywhere in the Awana Garden/Park so I drove to Goh Tong Sports complex to bird around that area instead. There was a fruiting tree within the Lavender farm next to the Strawberry Gardens, which was frequented by the usual garden birds. It was around 6.45pm when I spotted the pair of Peregrine falcons perched on the tip of the condo block.          
The female P. falcon was noticeably larger than the male species. The latter was just perched on tip of rooftop behind the female P. falcon (see top picture). The male P. falcon flew off towards the opposite block of condominium towards the ledge of one of the condo units. Whether it was preparing to nest on the ledge, I can only guess at best and how I wished I was the occupant of that condo unit!   
This looked to be a 20-storey condo block. The Security Guard only allowed me a few minutes inside the Mawar apartments courtyard to take a closer look at this pair of Peregrine falcon. I lost sight of the male P. falcon when I was in the main courtyard - only the female P. falcon was visible at that particular angle. I had to walk back towards the Guardhouse in order for the male P. falcon to come into view again (together with the female P. falcon) through my camera lenses.   
This pair of Peregrine falcon ruled the skies above Goh Tong Jaya that Friday evening. I had to exit the Mawar apartments by 7pm but I continued to walk around the perimeters of the Sports complex where the pair was still in sight. This species of falcon is after all the fastest flyers on earth and is known to hunt, kill and feed on prey larger than its size. The peregrine has been known to reach speeds of up to 200km an hour when it dives towards earth from skies above ("Stooping") according to Extreme Science website. A human being who parachutes from several thousand feet in the air could not even reach that kind of speed! Peregrine falcon mates for life which is another interesting fact about this raptor species - some human beings don't even stay faithful (and/or married) to each other for life. Divorce is a separation process unique only to us human beings.   

The formidable female P. falcon surveys her territory above, and together with the male P. falcon look in picture below, perched on top of this condo block for quite a long period of time.
Can you spot the pair of Peregrine falcon from the picture below?
I stayed on to observe this pair of Peregrine falcon until 7.30pm. All the weariness and tiredness in me slowly melted away as I took my evening walk around this area, observing this amazing pair of falcons until dusk in Goh Tong Jaya. I had not seen Peregrine falcons for the longest time. Ulu Kali, Genting Highlands was my next birdwatching destination....... 



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