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Day 5 (Monday, 27th March)

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After the hard work we had invested at Taman Negara to see birds, the first two hours at Fraser's Hill was a bit of a shock to the system. We were at the car park of the Jelai Hotel before first light, and were lucky to be greeted by clear skies and dry weather - apparently the previous 4 days had been wet resulting in less birding opportunities. As the light of dawn improved, the car park, which is not particularly large, proved to be a Mecca for birds. The hotel is a well known location for this with 20-30 species usually seen, which was probably more or less our personal tally. The cavalcade was initiated by Silver-eared Mesias and Mountain Fulvettas, with constant Long-tailed Sibias milling around. An early Green Magpie stayed just long enough to pinch the choicest of the scraps on the menu. Different species were added as we patrolled the tarmac, with the melee including Javan Woodshrike, feasting on large green cicadas, many sightings of Lesser Racket-tailed Drongos without tail streamers, restless Blue-winged Minlas, a very confiding male Mugimaki Flycatcher, Chestnut-crowned & -capped Laughing-thrushes, single elusive Golden Babbler, a much more confiding White-throated Fantail, almost constantly present Orange-bellied Leafbirds, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, and beautiful Verditer Flycatcher, shining iridescent in the early morning rays. Fork-tailed Swifts were added when looking overhead, as well as flyovers of a few Mountain Imperial-pigeons.

Jelai Hotel

Asian Bowrn Flycatcher

Jelai Hotel

Asian Brown Flycatcher

Javan Cuckoo-shrike

Javan Cuckoo-shrike

Chestnut-crowned Laughing-thrush


 

Telekom Loop

View from Telekom Loop

Road through the Telekom Loop

View from the Telekom Loop

We decided to take the car from the hotel to the start of the loop, and this proved to be a very sound move, since the winding road to this point is quite long and mostly uphill. The tarmac road which forms the loop offers a very pleasant walk, with very little in the way of gradients to climb, running through broken forest with some good views of the surrounding hills. First birds were some of the familiar species from the morning, including Little Cuckoo-dove, Silver-eared Mesia, an copious Mountain Fulvettas, until we stumbled across our first new bird of the walk in the form of Little Pied Flycatcher. A pair of Fiery Minivets were found just before a small barred concrete building at the side of the road, which gave a home to hundreds of Black-nest Swiftlets. They were difficult to identify at first, despite being on their nests, but the dark rump and feathered legs pinned them down as the local race. We diverted off the loop up a small access road to one of the hotels, which is where we saw the best bird wave of the location. First were a couple of Chestnut-capped Laughing-thrushes, followed by Golden Babblers and Mountain Fulvettas, probable Grey-chinned Minivets, preceding two species of Shrike-babbler (initially a poorly marked Black-eared, and then a White-browed, which stayed around for a short while). A few Silver-eared Mesias were intermixed. Back on the loop, a female Mugimaki Flycatcher hanging around in a ravine preceded a male just above us, with close Sultan Tit overhead. Looking down into what appeared to be a private garden, we had superb views of a dapper Rufous-browed Flycatcher, which shone warm brown when caught in the rays of the sun, contrasting with its shining white throat. This or another individual was subsequently spotted in the foliage next to the road. Compared to the heat and high humidity of Taman Negara, the conditions here were much more temperate, with little or no humidity.

Swiflet nest site

Black Nest-swiftlet

Site of Black-nest Swiftlet coloby

Black-nest Swiftlet

Fiery Minivet

Little Cuckoo-dove

Female Fiery Minivet

Little Cuckoo-dove

Little Pied-flycatcher

Silver-eared Mesia

Little Pied-flycatcher

Silver-eared Mesia


 

Hemmant Trail

Large Niltava

Hemmant Trail

Large Niltava

This is the first of the trails which we tackled in the area, and was reputed to be fairly wide and flat, which was exactly what we found for most of its length. The birding was reasonably quiet, but did start well with a pair of Large Niltavas. Mountain Fulvettas were the predominant species as usual, but we did also add female Mugimaki Flycatcher, another Rufous-browed Flycatcher, and White-throated Fantail. A further male Large Niltava greeted us at the end of the trail.

We thought that the walk back along Jalan Lady Maxwell Drive to the car would then be purely functional, but the birds here were even better than on the trail. After about 100m, we picked up some large birds flying into an overhead canopy, which proved to be 5-6 Fire-tufted Barbets, and seemed to be feeding on fruits which we failed to pick out. They were eventually joined by a brace of Black-browed Barbets, one calling characteristically regularly. 2-3 Little Pied Flycatchers were in trees adjacent to these. We crossed an excellent bird wave a little further on, started by Black-eared Shrike-babbler, which stopped is in our tracks. Other members of the group were Long-tailed Sibias, Chestnut-crowned Laughing-thrush, Rufous-capped Warbler, a stunning Speckled Piculet, racket tail-less Lesser Racket-tailed Drongos, and a couple of Golden Babblers.

Chestnut-capped Laughing-thrush

White-throated fantail

Chestnut-capped Laughing-thrush

White-throated Fantail

Fire-tufted Barbet

Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo

Fire-tufted Barbet

Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo

Just as we passed the beginning of the Hemmant's Trail again in the car, we passed a couple of Belgian birders encountered earlier. They informed us that they had been watching an adult Lesser Shortwing feeding a juvenile, and it took no persuasion for them to take us to the spot. The adult was eventually located after about 20 minutes, being generally quiet and most definitely skulking.

The last stop of the day was to be the waterfall, stopping off at the rubbish tip which appeared barren at this time. We were at the waterfall car park by about 6pm, and we meandered along the tarmac path to the site of the huts to find a pair of Slaty-backed Forktails feeding unconcernedly in the stream. Our progress towards the waterfall unearthed subsequent sightings of the Forktails. As we headed back to the footbridge near to the original location of the Forktails, we heard what we presumed to be the call of a Whistling-thrush, and did eventually track down a Malayan Whistling-thrush. This was quite a jumpy bird, giving us only 3 very brief views.

Stream

Slaty-backed Forktail

Stream above waterfall

Slaty-backed Forktail

Home

Paintings gallery

Video clips

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Contact

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Content

Introduction

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Species list

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