Fraser’s Hill Birding (1) : Twitching in the mist

When August 2015                          Weather: Lovely Cool 20C, a little rain and mist

Leica Q, Nikon P900, SonyA55/70-400mmG

After 5 days of intense conferencing in KL, my birding pals and I spent 3-4 days recovering by birding in Fraser’s Hill(FH), a renowned birding location 2 hours from Kuala Lumpur.  As there were 7 of us with tons of camera gear, we hired a 10 seater van with a driver who accompanied us for the 3 nights; not cheap but made moving around much easier.  We stayed at Stephen’s Place(SP), formerly known as Buona Vista, an old bungalow which I had visited many times previously.  Stephen Hogg, a renowned BBC and NG wildlife photographer now runs this establishment as a bed and breakfast.  More on Stephen’s Place in my next blog post.

The first morning, Stephens had suggested we take a walk on the Telecom loop or Girdle Road, which Stephen’s Place is on.  We did the higher part of the loop on the paved road and clambered back up to SP where there is a concrete reinforcement of a previous landslip.  With stops for birding, we took about 2 hours….After breakfast, we took the van to Jeriau Waterfalls where other visitors had spotted the red headed Trogon the day before and silver breasted broadbills were supposed to be.  After a late lunch we went back to SP and birded in the garden and took a short walk on the lower Telecom Loop towards the clock tower which is the center of FH.  The nice thing about FH is that you can bird anywhere, the birds around SP were plentiful and we hardly had time to process our earlier pictures as we were shooting most of the time, even when back at the bungalow!

The next day we visited the previously famous Jelai Resort Hotel where the lights in the morning attracted moths which in turn attracted many species of birds turning it into a veritable buffet of bird watching.  Sadly, Jelai has now been abandoned and left dilapidated. Nevertheless, I remembered that there were still good bird sightings there, so we spent a very fruitful morning there.  A great place still to visit for the beginning birdwatcher as you are guaranteed to see lots of birds up close. We then birded on the road opposite the end of the Hemmant trail and finished off on the lower telecom loop.  Here are the pix….

Stephen's Place, on the Telecom Loop

Stephen’s Place, on the Telecom Loop

one of the first birds we saw was the yellow naped woodpecker...from a long way away...

one of the first birds we saw was the yellow naped woodpecker…from a long way away…

a signature bird of FH, the silver eared mesia

a signature bird of FH, the silver eared mesia

one of the signature birds of FH, the gorgeous silver eared mesia

one of the signature birds of FH, the gorgeous silver eared mesia…male

here you can see the silver ear very nicely

here you can see the silver ear very nicely

mountain bulbul

mountain bulbul

mountain bulbul

mountain bulbul

mountain bulbul

mountain bulbul

cuckoo dove

cuckoo dove

the multicoloured black throated sunbird...male

the multicoloured black throated sunbird…male

At Jeriau waterfalls, the black browed barbet posed willingly for us

At Jeriau waterfalls, the black browed barbet posed willingly for us

another black browed barbet feeding

another black browed barbet feeding

Ochraceous Bulbul

Ochraceous Bulbul

Another FH signature....the orange bellied leaf bird...with the characteristic blue flashes either side of the face

Another FH signature….the orange bellied leaf bird…with the characteristic blue flashes either side of the face

Orange belllied leaf bird at Jelai Resort

Orange belllied leaf bird at Jelai Resort

Another orange bellied leaf bird at Jelai

Another orange bellied leaf bird at Jelai

Javan Cuckoo Shrike

Javan Cuckoo Shrike

cuckoo shrike

cuckoo shrike

Chestnut capped laughing thrush...grey bodied and winhed

Chestnut capped laughing thrush…grey bodied and winged : Jelai Resort but widespread

chestnut crowned laughing thrush...olive brown wing and body

chestnut crowned laughing thrush…olive brown wing and body: at Jelai Resort

consensus seems to be female oriental magpie robin ?

consensus seems to be female oriental magpie robin ?

a somewhat bedraggled Magpie Robin at the smokehouse

a somewhat bedraggled Magpie Robin at the smokehouse

a pair of singing magpie robins

a pair of singing magpie robins

tailorbird at somkehouse

tailorbird at somkehouse

long-tailed sibia at smokehouse

long-tailed sibia at smokehouse

longtailed sibia

longtailed sibia

beautiful red bellied squirrel helping himself to the bird feed...

beautiful red bellied squirrel helping himself to the bird feed…

streaked spider hunter

streaked spider hunter

at Jeriau this beautiful white lipped black headed or speckled keelback appeared

at Jeriau this beautiful white lipped black headed or speckled keelback appeared

close up

close up

the butterfiles in FH were amazing

the butterfiles in FH were amazing

grey chinned minivet

grey chinned minivet

star bird on the lower telecom loop...from distance...the black thighed falconet, a tiny, 6 inch raptor

star bird on the lower telecom loop…from distance…the black thighed falconet, a tiny, 6 inch raptor

what's for lunch?

what’s for lunch?

A grasshopper for starters

A grasshopper for starters

and a dragonfly for the entree...first the head...

and a dragonfly for the entree…first the head…

yum

which he snapped off…

black thighed falconet

black thighed falconet…yum

His mate....

His mate….

they are typically seen in pairs...

they are typically seen in pairs…

my mates on our FH birding exhibition

my mates on our FH birding exhibition

twitching in the mist of FH

twitching in the mist of FH

FH is an iconic location for birding and birders from the world over gather here for good reason….the diversity and beauty of the birds, the easy access to the birding locations,  the cool fresh air, the flora and outstanding scenery.

I had hoped to see the Red headed trogon…and I managed to catch a brief glimpse of as it flew in the distance but could not shoot….alas the silver breasted broadbill, green magpie and red bearded bee eater continued to elude me…

For your visit, you can do no better than stay at Stephen’s Place on the Telecom Loop itself, a prime birding area.  Highly recommended.

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