Time of year: October 2013 Duration of visit 2 nights, 3 days.
We had decided to do a short trip up to Fraser’s Hill to commune with nature and to see if Fraser’s Hill was still the birding paradise it was reputed to be. It took us over two hours driving up from Ipoh. The first familiar thing we came to was the Tea House at the ‘Gap’ which was where cars had to wait for odd hours to go up the one way road and where one could relax and enjoy some tea and scones whilst waiting. I remember from years past that it was pretty idyllic and peaceful.
It was therefore a bit of a shock and a let down to see that the opening up of new access roads meant that the time controlled ascents and descents of the Frasers Hill road were gone and the tea house had become an irrelevance…clearly it had been abandoned and left to decay in the green lushness of the area….it’s just crying out for a nature loving entrepreuner to buy it over and rejuvenate it!
And so it was sadly that we left the old tea house and headed onto Fraser’s Hill itself, where we settled into our house on the Telecoms Loop.
We set off armed with my Lumix FZ200 and 1.7x teleconverter….. an effective 1000mm lens to shoot the birds…also brought my trusty old Leica 10×42 trinovids which have seen me through 20 years of birding without a hitch. These were taken around the area of the Gate, where the mountain road just enters the town centre next to a car park and a tiny provision store. You can park there and it’s a short walk.
The next morning we headed to the well known to birders Jelai Bungalow where there used to be a buffet of birds as they were feeding on the insects attracted by the tungsten lamps. Now that the bungalow is closed and the lights are off, the birds are less but still attractive…
- Long tailed sibia
- the streaked spider hunter was spectacular
- Then it was back to the Gate area where we saw a family of Siamang, a local primate crossing the road by using the branches of trees as a bridge
- a siamang…a local primate
And then undoubtedly the star of the trip for me…the black and crimson oriole…a lifer for me and a bird so beautiful as to defy description..it made the whole trip worthwhile for me.
There were of course other sightings that were wonderful…the green magpie, mountain fulvetta, etc. But there were also interesting bugs in the garden…
So, is Fraser’s Hill still a top birding site? I’m told that it’s not as good as it once was but hey, not as good as it once was is still better than most places and coupled with the cool weather , it makes birding in Fraser’s Hill a total pleasure and one you should not miss. It’s easy to get to from KL..under 2 hours.