Ask "where is the best place to see lots of birds at Fraser's Hill" and you will get only one answer: the parking lot of the Jelai Hotel. "Be there between 7 and 8:30 in the morning" was the unanimous suggestion.
We were at Bukit Tinggi earlier that day and arrived at Fraser's Hill a little after 2 pm. After checking in at the Shazan Hotel (which will be our home for the next four days) and an hour or so of resting (we were up since dawn), our friend Weefar, drove us to this fabled, though somewhat incongruous, place. Although it was not the recommended time to visit Jelai, we were assured that there will be birds there.
The very first one we saw was the Silver-eared Mesia. Its vivid colors and incredible tameness made it the iconic symbol of Fraser's Hill.
Mingling with the Mesia were the "regular" residents of the Jelai area: the rather plain but very noisy Long-tailed Sibia.
The super friendly Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush
and its shyer cousin, the Malaysian Laughingthrush
Right next to the hotel entrance blooms a red bottle brush tree. Here the Black-throated Sunbird refreshes itself.
Joining the sunbird is the unbelievably huge and aptly named Streaked Spiderhunter.
Rounding up the avian population were a Mountain Bulbul
and a very calm looking male Mugimaki Flycatcher.
Soon darkness started to envelope the hills. We boarded Weefar's car still reeling from the beauty and friendliness of the birds. "Wait until tomorrow morning," our friend warned, "you will be overwhelmed."
Based on what we experienced that afternoon at Jelai, we knew he's telling the truth.
The Belted Piping Plover – Vol II # 5
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