Sunday, June 27, 2010

My First Night-Digiscoping

On 26-June, I went owling with my old friend, Victor Yeoh, started from 8pm until 1am. We were fortunate to spot a pair of Buffy Fish Owl roosting on a palm tree, it's a precious moment for me to practise my night-digiscoping and to digiscope the fabulous owls at night.

These Buffy Fish Owls (~45cm) are the fourth species of owls which I spotted in Penang, other owl species that I had spotted in Penang are the Brown Hawk Owl (a.k.a. Brown Boobook, ~30cm), Barn Owl (~35cm) and Oriental Bay Owl (~30cm). I'm delighted to find out that these species of owls are living freely and healthy in Penang, I hope that I will be able to find other species of Owl in Penang in my next owling.

Following are my first digiscoped pictures of owls during the night, with the only light source from the torch and without using camera flash. No Flash Please...
a pair of Buffy Fish Owl...

the male owl,

and the female owl.

How do I distinguish the male and the female? haha... because I saw them doing that....copulation, so top one must be a male and vice versa.

In 2009, I found a pair of Oriental Bay Owl in one of the corners in Penang. The owls were digiscoped by Dr Chan Ah Lak, and the call was recorded by me. I was lucky to have an opportunity to learn from Dr Chan on the skill and the art of night-digiscoping. Dr Chan is a prominent night owl digiscoper in Malaysia, a.k.a owl guru. 

One of the Oriental Bay Owls that I found in 2009

The recorded call of the Oriental Bay Owl in Penang :
(WARNING: this recorded call is for learning purposes only, beware if you use this as a bird call playback, you might be seriously attacked by the owl and other predators at night.)


Spotted Wood Owl (~45cm) was the first owl I digiscoped during the day time using Dr. Neoh's digiscoping setup. The picture was taken in Seberang Perai, Penang, in 2009, the time when I was a beginner in digiscoping, thanks to Dr Neoh for introducing me to digiscoping.

Spotted Wood Owl, my first digiscoped owl.

A Gentle Reminder: Owl is currently threatened by illegal hunting, due to a recently-emerging taste of owl meat in Asia. Click HERE to read the news report. Please free and save the owls.

Please stop killing and eating these adorable owls.  请停止杀害和食用这些可爱的猫头鹰.

Click on the following links to view other owls which I spotted and digiscoped:

Thanks to all for sharing with me the skill and the art of digiscoping. Happy Owling.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fraser's Hill International Bird Race 2010

Fraser's Hill is one of the best montane birding sites in Malaysia, it is also one of the Important Bird Areas (IBA) recognized by BirdLife International, click HERE to learn more about the IBA. You can also find out more about Fraser's Hill from these LINK1 LINK2.

I was in Fraser's Hill to volunteer as a marshall for the Fraser's Hill International Bird Race 2010 from 18th to 20th June. Click HERE for the event news reported by Malaysian Nature Society, MNS. Thanks to MNS Selangor Bird Group for inviting me to be part of the event.

I brought home two useful publications from this event, A checklist of the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia, published by MNS, priced RM25 per copy for MNS member. The front cover of the publication is a beautiful Himalayan Cutia. Himalayan Cutia is one of the birds which I wish to see in the wild.

Total number of bird species = 656
Total number of resident birds = 445
Total number of species occurring as migrants = 185
Total number of species occurring as vagrants = 58
Total number of species with both resident and migratory populations = 40
Total number of species considered extinct within Peninsular Malaysia = 8
Total number of regional endemics = 4
Total number of threatened species = 126

The second publication is Bird Watching in Malaysia, a free copy from Tourism Malaysia, which can be downloaded HERE.

After the bird race, I spent another three full days in Fraser's Hill for digiscoping together with Ooi Beng Yean. Thanks to Beng Yean for sharing some of his digiscoping tips. Follow the link are listed to view my digiscoped pictures of the wild birds of Fraser's Hill.

Click HERE to view the colorful common birds in Fraser's Hill.
Click HERE to view the fledgling of the Brown Wood Owl.
Click HERE to view the Slaty-backed Forktail.
Click HERE to view the Silvery Birds of Fraser's Hill. 

Besides birds, I'm also interested in the bird art on stamps, especially the Hornbills, Owls and Oriental Birds. Therefore, I intentionally visited the post office in Fraser's Hill to find some bird stamps. I saw an unique and beautiful post box outside the post office, which I would then like to share the picture of this beautiful post box in my blog. The post office is one of the post offices in Malaysia located at the BirdLife International recognized IBA.

post box in Fraser's Hill

Happy Birding, Digiscoping and Digisniping.

Brown Wood Owl

Spotted the Brown Wood Owl (~50cm) in my birding trip, both adult and fledgling. The fledgling has a cute and furry white head robe, so adorable isn't it?

The juvenile Brown Wood Owl

Adult Brown Wood Owl

The juvenile and the adult sitting side by side.

Click on the following links to view other owls which digiscoped recently:

A Gentle Reminder: Owl is currently threatened by illegal hunting, due to a recently-emerging taste of owl meat in Asia. Click HERE to read the news report.

Please stop killing and eating these adorable owls.  请停止杀害和食用这些可爱的猫头鹰.

Happy Owling

Birding in Fraser's Hill

After the bird race, I spent three full days for digiscoping in Fraser's Hill, from 21st to 23rd June. In fact, April to July are the best period for observing the resident birds. The common birds of Fraser's Hill are usually Passeridans and Corvidans.

The common Passeridans include the Silver-eared Mesia, Long-Tailed Sibia, Blue-winged Minla, Malayan Laughingthrush, Spectacled Laughingthrush, Streaked Spiderhunter, Black-headed Sunbird, Mountain Fulvetta, Mountain Bulbul and Large Niltava.

Silver-eared Mesia is one of the common birds, and it is also the icon bird of Fraser's Hill, with beautiful feather colors of red, yellow, silver, black and grey.

Silver-eared Mesia

Malayan Laughingthrush (a.k.a. Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush), an endemic species of Peninsular Malaysia and Southern Thailand. Malayan Laughingthrush and Spectacled Laughingthrush (a.k.a. Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush) are the most common laughingthrushes in Fraser's Hill, whereas, the Black Laughingthrush is the less common.

Malayan Laughingthrush

Malayan Laughingthrush

Streaked Spiderhunter and Black-throated Sunbird are the most common nectarivores in Fraser's Hill.

Streaked Spiderhunter

Black-throated Sunbird

Long-Tailed Sibia and Blue-winged Minla are also common birds in Fraser's Hill, but Blue-winged Minlas is hard to digiscope, coz they usually move very fast like the warbler. Warbler-type of birds are the main challenge for a digiscoper, and I'm looking forward to digiscope a warbler, hopefully I can make it.

Long-Tailed Sibia

Blue-winged Minla

Mountain Bulbul and Ochraceous Bulbul are the most common bulbuls in Fraser's Hill, other bulbuls can occasionally be seen, which include the Black-crested Bulbul and Ashy Bulbul.

Mountain Bulbul

Ochraceous Bulbul

Black-crested Bulbul

Mountain Fulvetta is one of the fast moving birds, with the skill and patience, it can be digiscoped also.
Mountain Fulvetta

White-rumped Munia is the only munia species I spotted in Fraser's Hill.
White-rumped Munia

Rufous-browed and Little Pied Flycatchers are the common flycatchers in Fraser's Hill, but Rufous-browed Flycatcher is easy to digiscope than any other flycatchers in Fraser's Hill.
Rufous-browed Flycatcher, guess which is male, female and juvenile.

Large Niltava is one of the common birds in Fraser's Hill, you can easilly see it on every street or trail.
Adult Large Niltava, male in Blue and female in brown.

Juvenile Large Niltava

The common Corvidans in Fraser's Hill include the Grey-chined Minivet, Javan Cuckoo-Shrike, Lesser Racquet-tailed Drongo, Bronze Drongo, White-Throated Fantail, and Black & Crimson Oriole.

Grey-chined Minivet, male in orange color, and female in yellow.

Javan Cuckooshrike

Please be reminded, there is no Large Cuckooshrike recorded in Peninsular Malaysia. I realized that many have mistakenly named it as Large Cuckooshrike rather than Javan Cuckooshrike.

White-Throated Fantail

Lesser Racquet-tailed Drongo

Black and Crimson Oriole

Woodpeckers and Barbets are also highly vsible in Fraser's Hill, the most common Barbets are the Fire-tufted Barbet and Black-Browed Barbet.

Black-Browed Barbet

Fire-tufted Barbet

The most common Pigeons in Fraser's Hill are the Mountain Imperial Pigeon and the Little Cuckoo Dove. Other Green Pigeons can also be found in the forested area at the lower elevation.

Mountain Imperial Pigeon

Little Cuckoo Dove

Trogon, Broadbill and Pitta are not a common birds in Fraser's Hill, you may occasionally spot them in the forested area. Red-headed and Orange-breasted Trogon are the most visible trogon in Fraser's Hill, and I only spotted the Red-headed Trogon in this birding trip.

Red-headed Trogon

Long-tailed Broadbill and Silver-breasted Boardbill are the most visible broadbills in Fraser's Hill.
Long-tailed Broadbill

My lifers in this trip included the Long-tailed Broadbill, Black Laughingthrush, Ashy Bulbul and White-hooded Babbler.

Click HERE to find out more about birding in Fraser's Hill and Fraser's Hill International Bird Race.

Happy Birding, Digiscoping and Digisniping.