Langkawi(1) The Datai : a nature resort in a rainforest

When:  August 2016                         Weather:  Hot  30C

Nikon P900,  Leica Q

After a meeting at the Datai in Langkawi, it was time to see if its location in a tropical rain forest was really that…was nature that accessible there?  We often journey far and wide looking for that special eco location or nature haven….

30 minutes from the airport in Langkawi, the Datai is stuck in a secluded north western corner of the island in the middle of a rainforest fringed by the sea. Then omens were good.  Things looked promising when checking in…we nearly stepped on one of the numerous frogs in and around a spectacular water lily pond in the lobby….



the Datai lobby water lily pond….teeming with frogs


green paddy field frog



paddy field frog waiting for breakfast …of the bugs one of which can be seen on the lower petal



a juvenile paddy tree from in yellow



and a less colourful tree frog…


The resident nature guide in the resort Mr Irshard is an incredible resource knowledgeable, erudite and helpful, pointing out where to look for birds etc…

Almost as soon as we checked in to room 314, I heard some commotion outside my balcony…..


Something rustled the leaves…



a pair of magnificent pied oriental hornbills were jumping about barely 10-20 feet away….



one of them emerging triumphantly with a caterpillar



this was the corner we stayed in and the hornbills were in the tree at the junction of the two blocks….



How close did the hornbills get? this close!




sunset on the beach



The pacific swallows were everywhere…



as were the a common morron at the flowers



fancy a crimson sunbird? No problem



here’s looking at you!



quite magnificent and blending in perfectly with the red heliconia



at daybreak …the distant hills beckoned


It’s well worth joining one of the free nature walks given by Mr Irshard once in the morning and once in the evening.   I birded from 7-8am  (Only gets light at 7am) joined him for his tour, had breakfast and then birded on the main road outside the resort….

I first exited the resort and turned right up the road reaching a private property but it was quiet….on getting back to the main gate, I spotted….



a pair of thick-billed green pigeons way up high….




this hill mynah was very please excuse the blur…



another view of hill mynah



By ten am, as it warmed up, this little fellow appeared right outside the front gates…….a dark throated tailor bird



another view


Irshard had told me about the possible presence of the blue winged pitta along the road near the car park about 2-300m left of the main gate so off I went after breakfast to see I could get any joy….I also wanted to get better pix of an Asian Fairy bluebird….

It looked a bit quiet at first so I amused myself by shooting some butterflies….


there were orange ones…



black and white ones..



green ones



common morron again



I headed further along past this sign on the roadside…


and just when I thought it was not very exciting, I caught a glimpse of a blackish bird flying around…and it finally settled long enough for me to shoot it, albeit in bad light….



one of my favourite tropical birds..the Asian Fairy Bluebird



from the back…



and from the front again…unfortunately, I still could not manage better shots than these….


And then I saw a flash of blue, green red and yellow behind a tree….flying off and hopping around in deep cover..maybe the pitta??? Having not been able to find it again, I set off further down the road and amazingly round the corner…..



in the distance, I saw this little fellow perched on the edge of a drain searching for food!



He stood up and posed obligingly for just a few seconds…the wonderful blue winged pitta! I had hunted him for years and have managed to shoot him in Singapore but it’s still such a thrill to see him in the flesh in the tropical rainforest!



He then hopped back to the other side of the drain, here showing his red vent proudly



poised to jump over the drain



in the air….



landing and dancing..



before strutting off into the distance, blending in perfectly with the mossy drain



another pied oriental hornbill also appeared to live things up



the Datai..truly a nature’s haven



surrounded by sea, mountains, forest..what’s there not to like?


If you are a nature lover and new to tropical birding, you could just come to the Datai, expensive though it is and not leave it at all and still be thrilled by the sheer proximity of the birdlife, not to mention the butterflies, frogs, mammals etc.   I can imagine that if you are into clubbing and partying and shopping that this would not be ideal but hey, why come to the Datai then?


Highly recommended!!









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