Monday, February 25, 2013

Malaysia Birding, Day 1 - Part 1, Garden Angels

As my wife and I were getting ready to turn in for the night, we reflected on the awesome experience we had on our first day of birding in Malaysia. One of the primary reasons for this was because of the people we met. In all of our eight years or so of going after birds we were showered with blessings from people: friends and even strangers who helped us locate our quarry or help us identify those that were completely new to us. Cynthia calls these people "angels". If there is an "archangel" among these, then that should be applied to our new Malaysian friend, Weefar Wee. He picked us up from the airport last night, let us sleep in his house, treated us to dinner and breakfast and then drove us to two great birding destinations the following day.

We left Kuala Lumpur while it was still dark. A couple of hours later we were climbing towards Bukit Tinggi. A few feet past the guard's post at Berjaya Resort, we saw our very first lifer: A Green-billed Malkoha feasting on an unfortunate butterfly.

That was the start of an exciting day as we chalked up lifer after lifer. Near the entrance of the Japanese garden we met four Singaporean bird photographers (Albert Tan, Vincent Ng, Sunny Lwee and Khng Eu Meng). After the usual introductions we discovered that while researching for information on birds in Coron, they stumbled upon my blog. They found it quite useful, they said, when they visited the place last month. It was while we were exchanging pleasantries that our group was rewarded by incredible open views first of one, then followed by the other, of the two star birds of Bukit Tinggi: the Silver-breasted Broadbill and the Orange-breasted Trogon.

Silver-breasted Broadbill
Orange-breasted Trogon
After these birds left to pursue their own scheduled activities for the day, we all went to the Japanese Garden, where another "angel", the in-house guide, pointed us to a fruiting tree. "Wait, and they will come", the Kevin Costner of Bukit Tinggi assured us. Come they did, three kinds of Bulbuls took turns in enjoying the ripe berries: Black-crested, Ashy and Stripe-throated.

Black-crested Bulbul
Ashy Bulbul
Stripe-throated Bulbul
A Greater Green Leafbird also joined the fray.

Around noon, the bird activity slowed down somewhat and we were finally able to breathe normally. We said goodbye to the Singaporean quartet and started on the long trip to Fraser's Hill.

with our garden angels -Photo courtesy of Albert Tan


Unknown said...

We await the day when you two lovely folks will become our angels in the Philippines and bring the birds to us.

Eu Meng

maiabird said...

My jaw dropped when I saw the photo of the Broadbill!!! =)