Thursday, December 29, 2011

Brown Wood Owl - Fledglings

In my last visit to Fraser's Hill on 17-Aug-2011, I encountered a pair of impressive and adorable fledglings of  the Brown Wood Owl (Strix leptogrammica).

I heard the owls were calling very sharply in the forested area during our owling session at around 9pm, indeed, it was an abnormal and eerie call during the month of the Chinese hungry ghost festival, but I strongly believe the eerie call must be the call of the owls or any nocturnal wildlife. In fact, I saw the hungry owls instead of hungry ghosts.

At the beginning of the search, it's difficult for me to locate them, however, with my passion and patience, I finally found two adorable owls with the white head robe perching on one of the big trees. I was really lucky to locate them, and had a wonderful moment of digiscoping and recording their eerie call.

It's my first picture and call record of  a pair of Brown Wood Owl fledglings, probably the first fledgling call recorded in Malaysia.


Click on the play button to listen to the recorded call of one of the fledglings :

WARNING: this recorded call is for learning purposes only, do not use this as a bird call playback, you may be seriously attacked by the owl and other predators at night.

Click  HERE  to view the Brown Wood Owl which I digiscoped during the day time about a year ago.

A Gentle Reminder: Owl is currently threatened by illegal poaching for exotic meat market, click HERE to read the recent news report. Please free and save the owls. 

Happy Owling. Keep Watching, Keep Listening and Keep Exploring.
*Special thanks to Peggy and Connie Khoo for their help during the recording.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Black Kite on Christmas Day

Meihua Blossom (click on the picture to enlarge)

(December 25, 2011, Tainan) - I visited Meiling (梅嶺) in Tainan on Christmas day, mainly for viewing and appreciating the beautiful plum flower blossom or Meihua in Chinese (梅花). Meiling is one of popular spots for appreciating Meihua in southern Taiwan, and winter is the best and only season to appreciate this beautiful flower blossom.

I traveled further to Cengwun Reservoir in the afternoon, after appreciated the plum flower blossom. In one of the parks in the reservoir area, I had a close encounter with an impressive Black Kite (Milvus migrans, 黒鳶). It's my lifer of the day and also my first experience to observe and digiscope a Black Kite in a close distance.


I noticed that this particular raptor is very aggressive, it attacks anything that move closer to where it rests and scavenges, eg. stray dog. It is an opportunistic hunter and also a scavenger, I saw it landed on the park table and also on the ground to feed on the bread or remaining food left behind by the visitors. 

scavenging on the park table (click on the picture to enlarge)
I hope that you enjoy reading this blog write-up on what I'd observed on the Christmas Day. Wishing you a Happy New Year, 2012. 

Keep Watching, Keep Listening and Keep Exploring.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pheasant-tailed Jacana in Tainan - Fledgling.

(July 24, 2011, Tainan) - It was a wonderful experience for me to volunteer in the Pheasant-tailed Jacana census with the Wild Bird Society of Tainan. I had seen many adult pairs and fledglings of the Pheasant-tailed Jacana, they are beautiful and elegant birds, the fledglings are hairy, puffy and adorable.

Here are some of my digiscoped pictures of the parents and fledgling of the Pheasant-tailed Jacana during the bird census :

Male bird and the fledgling 
(click on the picture for enlarged view of the fledgling)

Male bird and the fledgling 
(click on the picture for enlarged view of the fledgling)
Fledgling (click on the picture for enlarged view of the fledgling)

A pair of Jacana
The male alone securing its territory and the fledglings

Come and visit one of the world's best Pheasant-tailed Jacana Eco-Educational Park (台南市水雉生態教育園區) in Tainan, Taiwan. 

Click HERE to view the documentary (in Chinese only) about the Pheasant-tailed Jacana conservation in Tainan.
Click HERE to view my first sighting of summer Pheasant-tailed Jacana with the breeding plumage.
Click HERE to view the first Pheasant-tailed Jacana that I saw in Malaysia, it was my lifer.

Happy Birding.

Pheasant-tailed Jacana in Tainan

(June 7, 2011, Tainan) - There're eight species of Jacana in the world, Taiwan has only one species, known as Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus, 雉尾水雉)Pheasant-tailed Jacana is one of the elegant birds you must see in Taiwan, it is also one of the birds listed in the "100 Birds To See Before You Die", surprisingly I can easily see it in Guantian, Tainan, Taiwan.

Guantian is an agricultural town in Tainan, well known for its water caltrop farms and produces. The most popular annual event in Gauntian is the Water Caltrop Festival (官田菱角節). Due to the abundant of water caltrop farms and other water-based vegetation farms, Guantian is also an important habitat for many species of waterbirds especially the rare Pheasant-tailed Jacana . 

In 1990, a massive project of Taiwan High Speed Train was built across Guantian, and many water caltrop farms and Jacana's natural habitat were disturbed. A conservation project known as Pheasant-tailed Jacana Eco-Educational Park (台南市水雉生態教育園區was then established in 2000 by conservation groups, to preserve a natural habitat for the birds with minimum human disturbance, and to conserve the birds and its nests withim the farms. Currently, this park is one of the best Jacana conservation and educational parks in Taiwan, probably one of the world's best.

Following are the digiscoped pictures of the bird which were taken during the winter and the summer in the same park. (click on the pictures for enlarged view)

The non-breeding plumage in the winter.
Truly beautiful breeding plumage in the summer
An elegant bird wears a golden-yellow scarf 
and copper-bronze coat.
It has four elegant pheasant-like tails

Click HERE to view the documentary (in Chinese only) about the Pheasant-tailed Jacana conservation in Tainan.
Click HERE for the fledgling of the Pheasant-tailed Jacana.
Click HERE to view the first Pheasant-tailed Jacana that I spotted in Malaysia, it was my lifer.

夏天的水雉好美啊, 今天(7-June)是我人生第一次看到夏天的水雉. 好高興喔.
Happy Birding and Love Tainan.

Documentaries about the Pheasant-tailed Jacana Conservation in Tainan, Taiwan.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Red-headed Trogon in Fraser's Hill

(18 August, 2011) - I encountered two impressive species of Trogon during my trip to Fraser's Hill, the Orange-breasted and  Red-headed Trogon in Fraser's Hill. Due to the misty day, I only managed to digiscope the Red-headed Trogon.

Happy Birding.

World's Smallest Raptor in Fraser's Hill

(16 August, 2011) - Black-Thighed Falconet (Microhierax fringillarius) is the smallest raptor in the world, it can only be found in South-east Asia region of Peninsular Malaysia, Peninsular Thailand, Borneo, Sumatra and Java.

Only two raptor species I saw in Fraser's Hill in the month of "hungry ghost festival", the Blyth's Hawk Eagle and Black-Thighed Falconet. The Black-Thighed Falconet was the only raptor that I have a chance to digiscope. (click on the picture for enlarged view):

Black-Thighed Falconet
On my way back from Fraser's Hill, I also encountered two impressive raptor species, the Changeable Hawk Eagle and Crested Serpent Eagle.

Changeable Hawk Eagle
Crested Serpent Eagle

Happy Birding.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Verditer Flycatcher's ...

(17 August, 2011) - Verditer Flycatcher (Eumyias thalassina) has a beautiful turquoise-blue plumage, which is easily distinguished from other bluish Niltava and Blue Flycatcher, it is also one of the common flycatchers in Fraser's Hill. Here is my digiscoped picture of Verditer Flycatcher in Fraser's Hill recently:

Verditer Flycatcher 

After digiscoped the flycatcher, I scanned around with my naked eyes for any bird on the tree and the ground, suddenly, something stunning on the grass reflected the sunlight like a gem with stunning colour, I then approached the item and confirmed it was a tiny feather, a beautiful turquoise-blue feather. 

I cannot surely confirmed this tiny turquoise-blue feather is the feather of Verditer Flycatcher, but logically it should be, because I found this turquoise-blue feather at the same spot where I saw the flycatcher.

Photographed on Craig Robson's field guide, plate-92, to show how small the feather.
Thus, birding is not necessary only watching or observing the birds, sometimes you can find something interesting on the ground where the birds have perched or roosted.

Happy Birding!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Blue-eared Kingfisher in Ipoh

I'm currently on vacation back to my hometown in Penang, Malaysia. I spent 6 days (14-19 Aug.) in Fraser's Hill and Ipoh, mainly for birding and food tasting. Bird watching in Fraser's Hill at this time was really quiet, not many active birds can be seen. Although without a lifer during this birding trip to Fraser's Hill, I still had some interesting birding experiences which I will update in my blog later.

In Ipoh, I saw a female Blue-eared Kingfisher (Alcedo meninting) hiding in the shed of a small tree on the bank of the pond at Kek Lok Toong region. The blue colour plumage of the Blue-eared Kingfisher is really attractive and magnificent.

Here is the digiscoped picture of the kingfisher, hope you also like it, especially the beauty of the blue plumage. (click on the picture for enlarged view):
A female Blue-eared Kingfisher 

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is the most common kingfisher in Asia and Europe, in fact, it is an uncommon migratory bird in Malaysia. As compared to the Blue-eared Kingfisher, the Common Kingfisher has darker plumage and light blue on the back, whereas the Blue-eared Kingfisher has brilliant bluish plumage on the crown and the wings, and stunning light blue on the back.

A male Common Kingfisher, which I digiscoped in Singapore Botanic Gardens in 2009.

Question: Do you know how to distinguish the male and female of these Alcedo kingfishers?
Answer:  You can actually find out the answer from these two pictures.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Immature Malayan Night Herons at NCKU

The highest number of Malayan Night Herons at NCKU that I have counted in the month of May on a single day was eight birds, three adults and five immatures.

Here in my blog, I would like to share some of my digiscoped pictures with their beautiful immatured plumage (click on the picture for the enlarged view).

Immature with more brownish plumage

Beautiful immatured crest with black and white spot

Another immature with lesser brownish plumage

Ha ha, this one is smart, actually is peeping at me.

More, click HERE to view the adult Malayan Night Herons in NCKU.
and click HERE to listen to their call which was recorded at night in NCKU.

Happy Birding.
Boon Eu.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Four Keys to Bird Identification

Why Birding? why I always go out searching for birds? interested to learn more about birding?

Find out more from the Inside Birding episodes from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on the Four Keys to Bird Identification

3. Behaviour 

enjoy birding,
Boon Eu

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Brown Shrike at NCKU.

Today, I went to check the Malayan Night Herons in NCKU, surprisingly I saw many immature Malayan Night Herons there in the campuses. Since April, the highest number of Malayan Night Heron at NCKU that I have counted in a day was 8 birds, 3 adults and 5 immatures. I noticed many immatures have been arrived in the campus and competing for the feeding ground with the resident adults.

After the count, I saw a Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) actively searching for prey on one of the trees near to the library. Here is the digiscoped picture of the shrike, (click on the picture for the enlarged view):

Happy Birding.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Recorded Call of the Malayan Night-heron

Today, at around 8.00 pm, I was lucky to hear and to record the call of the Malayan Night-heron at  NCKU (National Cheng Kung University) in Tainan, Taiwan. The call is loud, continuous for about 15 seconds, the interval for each repeated call is approximately 30 seconds.

This is my first recorded Malayan Night-heron's call. Let's plug in the earphone, click on the play button and enjoy listening to the call.

Warning: this recorded call is for identification purpose only, do not use this as a bird call playback. Click HERE to learn more.

Click HERE to read about the Malayan Night Herons in NCKU.

Boon Eu

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Taiwan Barbet at NCKU, Tainan.

Taiwan Barbet (Megalaima nuchalis) is a beautiful bird with the most colorful and decorative face in Taiwan. Taiwan Barbet is known as Wuseniao (五色鳥), literally means "5-color bird" in Chinese, it is an endemic species and also the only barbet species exists in Taiwan.

The birds are currently very active at NCKU (National Cheng Kung University) in Tainan, it can easily be seen in most of the fruiting trees in the campus. The bird call is usually loud, easily be heard and distinguished

Let's appreciate the beauty of this bird, as well as to preserve and protect their habitats in NCKU campuses.

(click on the picture to enlarge)

Boon Eu

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Pair of Crested Goshawk at NCKU

Last weekend, I was lucky to spot a pair of Crested Goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus, 鳳頭蒼鷹) at NCKU (National Cheng Kung University) in Tainan, Taiwan. It was my first experience of spotting a pair of Crested Goshawk. 

It's an opportunity for me to learn how to distinguish the male and the female Crested Goshawk in the field. I learned that the size of the female Crested Goshawk is larger as compared to the male. From my observation and comparison through the digiscoped pictures and field book, I noticed the male has smaller body size as compared to the female, it has shorter crest and round head. The male has distinctive yellowish lines near the nostril and the upper beak. 

Let's take a closer look at the pictures of the pair.

The male:

and the female:

Besides that, I also heard the call that I have never heard of : "chiup.. chiup..chiup", an alarm call from one of them when I was trying to approach nearer.

Boon Eu, 16-March-2011, Tainan, Taiwan.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Pair of Malayan Night Heron at NCKU. Part-2.

This morning, I went back to the place where I saw a pair of Malayan Night Heron (Gorsachius melanolophus, 黑冠麻鷺) at NCKU (National Cheng Kung University) in Tainan, Taiwan. It was my first experience seeing a pair of Malayan Night Heron perched on a mango tree.

From my observation, I would like to confirm that these two Malayan Night Herons are the breeding pair, because both were roosted side by side on the same branch. I believe the male has bluish lores (the space between the eye and bill) and striking plumage as compared to the female. 

The front view

The rear view, the male is bigger in size.

Handsome male with striking plumage and bluish lores (left), female with less striking plumage and grayish lores (right).

Click HERE to read the part-1 of this blog.
Or click HERE to view the immature Malayan Night Herons at NCKU.

Boon Eu, 9-March-2011, Tainan, Taiwan.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Pair of Malayan Night Heron at NCKU

Today, I was so excited to see a pair of Malayan Night Heron at NCKU (National Cheng Kung University) in Tainan, Taiwan. It was my first experience of seeing a pair of Malayan Night Heron feeding on the same ground and territory.

But, I have a problem to distinguish the male and the female, I can't even find a good and detailed reference about the differences. However, I noticed one of the birds has very bright blue lores (the space between the eye and bill) and striking plumage as compared to the another one. I strongly believe that the one with the brighter color on the lores and striking plumage is the male, while the other one with the pale lores and plumage must be the female.

or could it be an adult with the striking lores and the immature with pale lores? I believe these birds are territorial birds, then why both can feed on the same ground if they are not a breeding pair?

Click HERE to view the Part-2 of this blog.
and click HERE to listen to their call which was recorded at night at NCKU.

View my other blogs about the Malayan Night Heron:
Malayan Night Herons in northern part of Taiwan
Juvenile Malayan Night Heron spotted in Singapore Botanic Gardens

Boon Eu, 7-March-2011, Tainan, Taiwan.