When: March 2017 Weather: Hot.
Nikon P900, Sony a7II 70-400G
When my birding pal KC offered a trip to Bekok in Johor to look for the nesting Black and red broadbills and rufous piculets instead of Panti, I readily jumped at the opportunity and cancelled my appointments for Saturday morning. Bekok in Johor state Malaysia….not Bedok in Singapore is somewhat further than Panti and took us about 2.5 hr to get there with a start time of 430am. We used the second link and turned off at Yong Peng for Bekok…..
Arriving at the Forest Reserve at Sungai Bantang, Bekok about 715, the light was just about enough to spot a white forktail ? mountain forktail hopping off the road into the waterfalls. Along the road a group of photographers had already gathered at the site where the rufous piculet had been found nesting….we decided to head to the end of the road and bird there first, looking for the Black and red broadbill nest..
Entrance to the forest reserve of the Bantang River in Bekok, Johor. We parked our car here and birded awhile…
The chirping of a bird in the nearby scrub led to KC declaring….that’s a Horsefield’s Babbler! Having a bird song expert to guide you makes so much difference…we waited around the bush for a few minutes and then it appeared…
Horsefield’s Jungle Babbler…a rather nondescript brown and elusive bird in the bushes..lifer no.1 of the day
In the nearby trees, these little fellas were flitting around….difficult to see and shoot…the white bellied Erponis formerly white bellied Yuhina….with its typical crest on the head. Lifer no. 2
there were of course commoner birds like the ubiquitous oriental magpie robin
We then concentrated on locating the nest of the Black & red Broadbill (BRB) and found it soon enough near the carpark…..I’d only ever had a fleeting glimpse of the BRB once before, also in Malaysia in Malim Nawar so was hoping to do rather better this time….
a flutter of leaves, flash of red and a glimpse of a black and red bird…
The magnificent black and red broadbill!
BRB…black back with white streaks, upper beak is sky blue and lower beak is yellow….
Here’s a close up detail of the bill of the BRB….I can understand why it’s called a ‘broadbill’ now!
and then Mrs BRB joined Mr BRB!
They hung around for the whole morning…and the reason was their nest ….which they flew to and from to build….
with a mouthful of twigs….
back and forth they went
examining the nest….
Sitting on eggs?
All in, just a wonderful encounter with Mr and Mrs Black and Red Broadbill and the home they were building
we then headed off in the direction of the waterfalls where we heard the grey headed babbler and hairy backed bulbuls…
and then one of our group spotted this colourful little fellow on a rock by the river..
the very handsome chestnut naped forktail… lifer no 3
chestnut naped forktail
we also had a very distant view of a verditer flycatcher….
..taken in rather better light and from a shorter distance in Dalat, Vietnam, here’s a better picture of the magnificent Verditer Flycatcher
We then headed up the road from the car park towards the part where the piculet was nesting…
Drongo Cuckoo with breakfast in his mouth
Drongo cuckoo…lifer no.4
Black bellied malkoha : lifer no 5
Crested serpent eagle way up high
Crested serpent eagle
Blyth’s Hawk Eagle
Blyth’s Hawk Eagle
Black thigh falconets
the wonderful whiskered tree swift we’d seen a couple of weeks ago in Panti
This way sir…..
we’d waited quite a long time with the other photographers at the tree stump where the nesting rufous piculets were supposed to be…..we were about to call it a day when ….
this magnificent fellow arrived on a nearby branch…
not the rufous piculet, but a beautiful rufous collared KF! Another lifer…no. 7
A quite magnificent KF
And after this wonderful sighting, another flurry…..
and our target bird, the Rufous Piculet finally appeared on a branch!
This was the female rufous piculet : lifer no 8 of the trip
and she posed quite wllingly for us for a few minutes, before flying off….
to the hole in the trunk that she and her made had created over the last week or two….
she checked it out….
and started going in….
and turned around as if sitting on eggs…hope they have a successful breeding! Earlier photographers had also seen and photographed the male piculet.
Content with getting our two main target birds, we headed back along the road and heard and saw the maroon woodpecker, brown backed needletail, blue rumped parrot, red bearded beeeater, little spiderhunter, purple naped spiderhunter.
Some long journeys don’t have great yields but this was one of the best yet; highly recommended!