Birding in Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia

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!

approaching the gap...where the two lane road used to narrow to one

approaching the gap…where the two lane road used to narrow to one

the derelict and overgrown tea house

the derelict and overgrown tea house

broken windows told a sorry tale

broken windows told a sorry tale

but even amidst the decay, there was beauty in nature...

but even amidst the decay, there was beauty in nature…

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 blue nlitava was the first gorgeous bird we saw within minutes...

the blue niltava was the first gorgeous bird we saw within minutes…

and the beautifully coloured silver eared mesia soon showed up

and the beautifully coloured silver eared mesia soon showed up

Tarantula nest...

Tarantula nest…

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…

the ubiquitous chestnut capped laughing thrush
the ubiquitous chestnut capped laughing thrush
long tailed sibia
Long tailed sibia
the streaked spider hunter was spectacular
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
a siamang…a local primate
swinging over the road

swinging over the road

mountain bulbul

mountain bulbul

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.

black and crimson oriole

black and crimson oriole

P1060347

scarlet minivet

scarlet minivet

There were of course other sightings that were wonderful…the green magpie, mountain fulvetta, etc. But there were also interesting bugs in the garden…

praying mantis

praying mantis

bug

bug

sunset over fraser's hill

sunset over fraser’s hill

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.

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