When: February 2017 Weather: Warm to hot 25C
Nikon P900. Sony alpha55 /70-400G
Was invited to go along with some expert birders to Panti Forest in the Malaysian state of Johor, about 1.5 hours from Singapore and I wasn’t going to say no to this opportunity to go to one of the famed birding locations in Malaysia! We set off from Singapore at 6am and got to the Panti bunker trail by 720….accessing the forest trails by way of a new dirt road that had been cut through for the loggers and oil palm plantations…visitors are supposed to get a permit which is impractical in the extreme and as I understand it most visitors just go and hope that the rangers do not find and eject you from the forest…strange regulations considering that the local government trumpets Panti as a bird sanctuary. We were lucky….
My expert birding friends were able to hear bird song and identify practically every tweet and chirp …amazing….clearly knowledge and familiarity with local bird song makes for much more successful birding. We heard the white chested babbler, banded broadbill, crested jay, dark throated oriole, dark necked tailorbird, banded kingfisher..
Then at one of our stops to listen, we heard the song of the rufous chested flycatcher and we followed the sound and caught the fleetest glimpse of the rufous chested FC…a black naped monarch also appeared…
We then heard the distinct tapping of a woodpecker and after searching for a while we saw a large WP flying across the track back and forth, but never staying still long enough to shoot…..fortunately one of our group managed a bird in flight shot of one of the largest woodpeckers around..the white bellied wood pecker…
Unfortunately we were unable to see hornbills and the sought after Rail Babbler. It was still an excellent morning’s birding with more than 50 species seen or heard….