Thursday, 19 May 2016

My Langkawi Today: Braving the Mozzies

LANGKAWI TODAY: While tour assignments and bookings have been really slow for me this month, this sloth inside me is emerging again. At the same time, there is a desire to explore. Thankfully the rain is starting to return to our once "overly dried" island. Usually when the rain returns after a period of dry season, it will be mosquitoes season regardless if you are in the forest or in the urban area!

A peep into one of the unmarked forest trail on Gunung Raya this morning with the hope of seeing a Banded Kingfisher. The weather this morning started with some light rain and grey sky looming over the hill. I was hoping that the clouds will pass and so I decided to carry on. 

The mozzies were already buzzing in my ears even before I reach the start of the forest trail. I quickly applied my Citronella balm on the exposed areas. The start of the main trail was quiet. Could it be the rain is coming? I wonder. The first bird calling was a Tickell's Blue Flycatcher and it was hiding. Not too long after, I whistled a call of the Banded Kingfisher to check its presence. Less than 10 seconds later, a Banded Kingfisher returned my call from the dense of the forest. That brings me to the unmarked trail and more mozzies are following me!
This colourful flower caught my eye as I was walking on the main trail. This would be my first time seeing this bizarre flower and I am afraid I am not able to identify it. If anyone here knows which species of scrub this flower belongs to, please drop me an email. I will look out for info.
I was delighted to hear more songs of the forest birds as I ventured further into the forest and yet it is a challenge to spot them.

The call of the Banded Kingfisher disappeared. 

I spotted a bird in the undergrowth and managed to get a record shot of it. It was the Abbot's Babbler. After disappearing itself, it started calling. A Puff-throated Babbler called next and then followed by the Greater Racquet-Tailed Drongo. There were some movement within the canopy trees and a Dusky Leaf Monkey was spotted. It didn't seem too bothered with my presence.
Me and a Dusky Leaf Monkey or Spectacled Langur were spying on each other
I arrived at a dried river bed and a Blue-Winged Pitta started to call.
I mimic. And another Blue-Winged Pitta called back too. Ah...there were two. And so, three of us were calling each other until one of them stopped. A Great Hornbill flew over the canopy and perched for awhile. There were stuffs dropping onto the ground as the hornbill was searching for something on that tree. The forest was quiet again after the hornbill left.
At the river bed looking around the terrain listening to so many bird calls and it is so challenging to spot even one bird.
The swarm of mosquitoes grew bigger now and I have to reapply the Citronella balm from time to time. This locally made product works quite well. I can see so many mozzies flying around my legs but I had only a couple of bites.

A Black-naped Monarch female call was heard as I was walking back to the trail. It flew out and I caught a quick glimpse of her. After walking a few steps, something orange on a branch flew off. AAaarrrgghhh! The Blue-Winged Pitta! Another one flew out from the back of a tree, landed behind a bush and disappeared. I saw its blue wings. None of them give me a change to take a shot.
I was so close to the Blue Winged Pitta at this point.
Two Puff-Throated Babblers decided to reveal themselves and one was singing melodiously. I managed to get a crappy shot of it as it perched in the open for a short while.

While walking out of the unmarked trail to the main trail, a Mountain Hawk Eagle was calling and I had chance to see it fly away. Other bird calls were heard and not seen were an Asian Fairy Bluebird and a Plaintive Cuckoo.

As if this Black-Naped Monarch was teasing me, she tweeted as I stepped out from the unmarked trail onto the main trail. She was indeed teasing me! Here is a shot of a bird that got away:
I left the forest with a feeling of achievement and yet I didn't achieve on getting a good shot of any birds! On the positive side, it was rejuvenating to be out there even with the big swarm of mozzies! And the sky didn't pour buckets of water on me.

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