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Day 8

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 Day 8 (Thursday, 30th March)

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We had thought that this was to be a fill in stop on the last day in Malaysia, but the reality was quite the opposite. This is an absolute must see site on any itinerary, offering a new variety of birds from the inland habitats, many in profusion and very close proximity. Much work seems to have been put in around the reserve, since reports as recent as 2002 mentioned that the mangrove boardwalk was no more. Conversely, the mangroves have been provided with a new concrete walkway, with railings showing more wear than their recent construction would suggest. The hides have also been renewed, with the central lagoon being dominated by a concrete observation tower. Two high wooden towers greet the entrance to the mangroves, overlooking the second lagoon. Our loop consisted of an initial visit to the central tower, followed by a clockwise walk, taking in the mangroves. The short walk from the reception to the bridge over the water was quiet when we arrived just after 7am, but the birds sprang into action once we had crossed this bridge, with brief Rufous-chested Flycatcher and singing Common Iora amongst the first. A Sunbird proved to be male Ruby-cheeked. The central lagoon was very quiet, so we ventured around the grassy track. New birds constantly appeared, with many Pink-necked Pigeons, Black-naped Orioles, perched Brahminy Kites, and Ashy Tailorbirds adding to the White-breasted Waterhens avoiding the troops of Long-tailed Macaques.

Central lagoon

Javan Myna

Central lagoon

Javan Myna

Pink-necked Pigeon

Common Iora

Pink-necked Pigeon

Common Iora

Brahminy Kite

Striated Heron

Brahminy Kite

Striated Heron

The mangroves proved as good if not even better. We had four species of Woodpecker along the boardwalk, all showing well, from the small Brown-capped Pygmy, a trio of obliging Laced Woodpeckers which stayed in the same tree for some time, up to Common & Greater Flamebacks. Sounds were dominated by Collared Kingfishers, with at least 6-7 raucously calling throughout the mangroves, and this was to be the only place that they were seen. One pair seemed to be nesting in the hole of a dead tree. The only other Kingfishers of note were two Black-capped which were more distant. At the apex of the mangrove loop, we also had hidden views of Crested Serpent-eagle, perched almost on the shore side of the trees to the calls of Mangrove Blue-flycatcher. Pied Fantails showed very briefly, along with the washed out local race of Great Tit.

Mangrove walk

Ashy Tailorbird

Mangrove boardwalk

Ashy Tailorbird

Mangrove Blue-flycatcher

Greater Flameback

Mangrove Blue-flycatcher

Greater Flameback

New birds continued as we left the mangrove walk. A very obliging Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker fed unconcernedly on the same flowering tree for some time. A Little Bronze-cuckoo alighted on branches adjacent to the Flowerpecker, eventually calling before departing. Turning the corner of the walk revealed a pair of singing Ashy Tailorbirds, while a superb Greater Coucal flew into view on the opposite side of the dyke, landing in the open. Black-naped Oriole was just along from this. As we were completing the loop, we stirred up two birds from the path, one a dove, the other a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, landing in a bush opposite briefly before flying further in. As we approached the bridge once again at the end of the loop, a Yellow-bellied Prinia was singing overhead. Two Olive-backed Sunbirds were also in this area. A third and less brightly coloured species of Sunbird was seen on the loop - 2 individual Plain-throated Sunbirds. We spent a little more time in the concrete tower looking over the central lagoon, which seemed to hold a lot of promise, but apart from a couple of irritating Macaques which insisted on climbing the stairs trying no doubt to steal from us, it held only Common Sandpipers and a few mixed herons. Just as we were about to leave the tower, a group of 4 Ashy Minivets landed in the canopy beneath us.

Little Bronze-cuckoo

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

Little Bronze-cuckoo

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

Greater Coucal

Yellow-vented Bulbul

Greater Coucal

Yellow-vented Bulbul

On the track back to the visitor centre, which is only about 100m long, we found a pair of Barred Eagle-owls. Unfortunately, they landed within the very dense foliage, but could be picked out quite well in the telescope. They landed next to each other, and at one point were preening one another. There was also a small group of Silver Leaf-monkeys here, showing characteristic whitish crests and ear tufts.

Barred Eagle-owl

Silver Leaf-monkey

Barred Eagle-owl

Silver Leaf-monkey

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Over an hour was spent driving around only the small rice fields, about 13km North of Kuala Selangor. These are particularly reputed for raptors, but we were possibly just a little late for this passage. Despite being named the small rice fields, they are nonetheless very extensive, leaving us to drive a couple of the main roads and one or two of the lesser roads. Many water channels crossed the fields as well as following the main roads, giving excellent cover for hiding herons. Almost as soon as we arrived, we found one of the specialities of the area - White-breasted Woodswallows. There were also small numbers of Nutmeg Mannikins, Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, and Brown Shrikes. The second Coucal of the day - a much drabber Lesser Coucal - was briefly in the rice plants. The area seemed infested with Common Mynas, along with one or two Javan Mynas. While we did see some egrets, they were far from numerous. Commonest were Chinese Pond-herons, looking immaculate in maroon breeding dress.

Rice fields

Rice fields

Rice fields

Roadside channel

Chinese Pond-heron

Koel

Chinese Pond-heron

Asian Koel

Lesser Coucal

White-breasted Woodswallow

Lesser Coucal

White-breasted Woodswallow

Zebra Dove

White-breasted Kingfisher

Zebra Dove

White-breasted Kingfisher

 

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We could have spent more time at the rice fields and also headed up to the larger rice fields near to Sekinchan, but decided against this in favour of a return to Kuala Selangor, following a good morning there. This move wasn't to disappoint. Overall, the birds in the afternoon were much quieter than during our earlier visit, and the day ended as the trip had begun with rain, thankfully less torrential than at The Gap Resthouse. We paid a cursory greeting to one of the Barred Eagle-owls, still in the same place as we had left it, crossed the bridge, and after a short visit to the tower hide, quickly found a very obliging Tiger Shrike. This was much more of a skulker than its Red-backed cousin. A pair of Abbott's Babblers were on the opposite side of the grassy track. The mangrove loop was also a lot quieter, holding only two of the four Woodpeckers, but we did find the nest of the Brown-capped Woodpeckers, with both birds in attendance. As the rain started to fall, a Crested Goshawk flew over before departing towards the sea. We spent a short time under the protection of the tower hide from the rain, but it was as quiet as before for birds, apart from a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo which landed in a bush on a small island within the central lagoon. Also here were a pair of Common Ioras, and a pair of wet and bedraggled Blue-throated Bee-eaters to the rear.

Tiger Shrike

Blue-throated Bee-eater

Tiger Shrike

Blue-throated Bee-eater

Home

Paintings gallery

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Content

Introduction

Day 1

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Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Species list

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