Wednesday 27 June 2018

Langkawi Birdwatching: Recent Highlights Part 3 From Taiwan

Mr and Mrs Minter Yang, my first Taiwanese guests for our Bird Photography tour in the early April 2018. For a banana like me, I am very grateful that both of them can write and communicate with me in English. They have worked and lived in Malaysia for many years and have birded on Peninsular Malaysia a few times. This is their second visit to Langkawi and their first time here for the purpose of birding. Both of them had two and half days of Bird Photography tour with me.

This time, the Brown-Winged Kingfisher presented some difficult challenges for me. We went back and forth a few times to a couple of locations and it was playing hard to catch. No Brown-Winged wanted to come close to their cameras for a decent shot until the very last moment on the evening of their second day before the rain came pouring down hard on us. Alas! It was a moment of triumph for me to see it perched quietly as we drove snail pace into the mangrove.  They had some shots before we were washed out of the area!

While moving between locations, I was very delighted to see a Javan Pond-Heron Ardeola speciosa and two Grey-Headed Lapwings Vanellus cinereus feeding on the same field. This two species will be my first sighting for this season. The Javan Pond Heron was in breeding plumage which made it easier for us to identify.

Langkawi bird
Javan Pond-Heron Ardeola speciosa
Langkawi bird watching tour
Javan Pond-Heron in breeding with white head-plumes
langkawi birdwatching
Guess the bird behind this Grey Lapwing Vanellus cinereus
langkawi birdwatching
Grey Lapwing Vanellus cinereus
Langkawi bird tour
A beautiful Blue Budgie came along very close for a pose while we were looking for the Brown-Winged Kingfisher at Kilim. An escapee from the nearby zoo.
Mr and Mrs Yang are my also my first guests to photograph a pair of Orange-Breasted Trogon Harpactes oreskios. The only species of trogon in Langkawi, this resident bird is considered as an uncommon and elusive. Their calls can be heard echoing through the dense of our forest and not often can be seen. Thank you trogons for being so obliging! 
Bird guide langkawi
Orange-Breasted Trogon Harpactes oreskios female
langkawi bird watching guide
Orange-Breasted Trogon Harpactes oreskios male
Another nice bird while we were up on Gunung Raya was a pair of Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki.
birds of langkawi
Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki female
langkawi birdwatching guide
Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki male which was constantly flitting about
Amongst the locations I have shown to them, I would say that their favourite bird photography location would be the pond inside Bon Ton resort. Mrs Yang was overly excited when I pointed out the Watercock. I vividly remember her eyes were wide open while she slowly uttered the word, "Tung chi" to her husband. "Tung chi" refers to Watercock in Mandarin.
birds langkawi guide tour
Watercock Gallicrex cinerea or Burung Ayam-Ayam in Malay is unfortunately one of the species of waterfowls in Langkawi often being poached to be eaten
According to them, Watercock is rare and extremely difficult to be seen in Taiwan. They had lunch meals two times at the Bon Ton, simply to photograph birds. Grace and Lindsay did the same thing too like Mr & Mrs Yang!
Mrs and Mr Yang shooting in the comfort of this posh hut
langkawi birdwatching
A must visit posh hut for birdwatchers at the Bon Ton 
They still had the energy to bird before catching their flight home. While having their lunch at the Bon Ton before leaving to the airport, Mr Yang let me had a go with his light-weight 300mm prime lens attached to Olympus mirrorless camera body. Here's what I got:
An overexposed image of Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis
langkawi birdwatching guide
A Grey-Headed Swamphen Porphyrio poliocephalus having a splash
Mr and Mrs Yang have proven their love for our Malaysian food. They dearly miss our good old Roti Canai and I gladly took them to my favourite Mamak stall in Kuah town where we had Roti Canai meals twice.

Before I end this blog post, the last highlight for me is photographing a Ochraceous Bulbul Alophoixus ochraceus on a birdwatching tour with Richard Heaver. Noisy type of bulbul that don't seem to perch for long and with their annoying calls, they are definitely not fit to be caged birds. 
Ochraceous Bulbul Alophoixus ochraceus
Good for them unlike the other poor species of bulbuls like Striped-Throated Bulbul and Red-Whiskered Bulbul which often a target for bird poachers. 

I would also like to document here that in the month of April, there were three fig trees close to the road fruiting at the same time. Despite that, it was difficult to see a big flock of Great Hornbills on Gunung Raya. I am wondering if the poachers were around as I have seen a suspicious motorbike parked beside the road and heard a human mimicking the sound of a Wreathed Hornbill. Only a suspicion.

Thank you Mr & Mrs Yang for choosing a banana like me, your meals and they were kind company to be with. My experience with them for those three days have given me some positive perspective on birdwatchers or photographers from the East Asia.

Their birds list:
1. Collared Kingfisher
2. Brahminy Kite
3. Red-Wattled Lapwing
4. Grey-Headed Lapwing
5. Greater Racket-Tailed Drongo
6. Common Myna
7. Yellow-Vented Bulbul
8. Oriental Pied Hornbill
9. Pied Fantail
10. Dark-Sided Flycatcher
11. White-Breasted Waterhen
12. Javan Pond-Heron
13. Common Sandpiper
14. Brown Shrike
15. Little Heron
16. Pin-Striped Tit Babbler
17. White-Throated Kingfisher
18. Brown-Throated Sunbird
19. Black-Headed Bulbul
20. Red-Eyed Bulbul
21. Asian-Brown Flycatcher
22. Wreathed Hornbill
23. Great Hornbill
24. Wood Sandpiper
25. Pacific Golden Plover
26. Purple Heron
27. Grey-Headed Swamphen
28. Common Kingfisher
29. Watercock
30. Chestnut-Headed Beeeater
31. Blue-Throated Beeeater
32. Cinnamon Bittern
33. Yellow Bittern
34. Baya Weaver
35. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
36. Asian Glossy Starling
37. Scaly-Breasted Munia
38. White-Headed Munia
39. Great Egret
40. Little Egret
41. Intermediate Egret
42. Rock Pigeon
43. White-Bellied Sea-Eagle
44. Copper-Throated Sunbird
45. Brown-Winged Kingfisher
46. Laced Woodpecker
47. Zebra Dove
48. Spotted Dove
49. Ruddy Kingfisher
50. Common Tailorbird
51. Greater Coucal
52. Ashy Drongo
53. Mugimaki Flycatcher
54. Crested Goshawk
55. Pink-Necked Green-Pigeon
56. Ochraceous Bulbul
57. Asian Fairy Bluebird
58. Orange-Breasted Trogon
59. Forest Wagtail
60. Yellow-Rumped Flycatcher
61. Orange-Breasted Trogon
62. Black-Headed Bulbul
63. Crimson Sunbird
64. Oriental Reeds-Warbler
65. House Swallow

Friday 15 June 2018

Langkawi Birdwatching on Recent Highlights Part 2 Jane Miller

Welcoming back Jane Miller from the UK for the third time with me and twice in April 2018. A keen birdwatcher and bird photographer with a telephoto 600mm lens! 

With Jane, we usually have a much earlier start - before the sunrise which is always refreshing! We did a predawn birdwatching on her third tour with me, simply to catch any luck on nocturnal birds going to roost!
I was stalked too! Photo credit: Jane Miller

Jane's wishlist in April were Pittas and any birds that are lifers for her. She is an easy going person and so were her lifers too! Jane is my first guest to observe a pair of Banded Kingfisher with the male passing the food to the female and  clear view of a pair of Puff-Throated Babblers hopping out of the bush and on the ground for more than five minutes (Jane is very pleased to spot this babbler), 
Langkawi Birdwatching
A usually elusive Puff-Throated Babbler Pellorneum ruficeps
a Black-Naped Monarch, 
Langkawi birds
A Black-Naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea male wanting some attention 
a Ruddy Kingfisher, 
birds of langkawi
A shy Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda  who is usually not revealing
birds of langkawi
Jane and I had to squat, sit on the dirt road and whatever pose to get a gap for a shot!
a Mangrove Pitta 
langkawi bird guide
Another elusive fella, Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha finally showed up
and a Mangrove Whistler, all on the same day! Especially with the Ruddy Kingfisher and Mangrove Pitta, she is very lucky to see them on both of our birding tours. Jane is definitely a magnet to these species!
langkawi bird guide
Our first attempt to find a Blue-Winged Pitta which was unfruitful...."Pitta! Where are you!?" 
I am guessing Jane's next wishlist is to properly see a Black-Capped Kingfisher on her next stay in Langkawi.  Fingers-crossed, Jane! Look forward to seeing you back on the next birds migratory season.
A collection of Jane's thank you cards at the end of our birdwatching tours and my furkid came in as a photobomb!