Birdwatching in Malaysia proved to be a great experience when we visited there in May 1996. In two weeks we travelled between Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Taman Negara, Frasers Hill and Kuala Selangor -- which gave us a good variety of habitats. The Malay Peninsular, including Singapore, has a total of 639 species of birds of which 426 are classified as residents and just two as endemics. We saw a total of 170 species of which 135 were new birds for us. We missed seeing some of the Malaysian specialities such as the Great Argus, Crested Fireback, Garnet Pitta, Blue Nuthatch and Malaysian Whistling Thrush, but we need an excuse to go back!
Malaysia is an easy place to travel in, especially if you haven't been to Asia before, as most of the locals speak some English, and it is often the written language. There are no visa requirements for Australians, and no inoculations needed -- the only area where malaria may be a problem is in the Cameron Highlands.
The weather in Malaysia is much the same throughout the year with December being the wettest month. Daytime temperatures range between 28°C-32°C and overnight between 20°C- 26°C unless you are in the highlands where pleasant temperatures of some 10°C lower are experienced. If you are interested in passage migrants you need to visit between September and November when they are passing south, or March to early May when they are heading north. The waders had left several weeks before we arrived in late May.
At present there is no complete Malaysian guide -- this is being written and is due out in 1997 and will follow the format of the Thailand guide listed below.
A stopover of a few days in Singapore is well worthwhile as there are a number of interesting birding spots. We only had a day between flights and began by going to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. This reserve covers an area of about 164 hectares and includes the largest hill in Singapore. The Bukit Timah reserve is located near the centre of the Island approximately 12 km from the city. We took a taxi to the reserve, but there are plenty of buses that serve Upper Bukit Timah Road and pass Hindhede Road which leads to the reserve. Numbers 5, 67, 75, 170 171, 172, 173, 181, 182 and 852 are the buses that pass by. The reserve has a visitor centre which houses an interpretive display and an excellent little coffee shop/bookshop. A sealed road leads to the top of the hill at a height of 164 m and winds through some excellent rainforest ending up at a police repeater station. Normal walking takes about 30 min, but birding takes at least twice as long! Long-tailed macaques are conspicuous as they run across the road and up into the trees. We spent the afternoon in the Botanic Gardens but didn't find many birds here. We did find the displays of flora worthwhile though.
* Denotes lifer in the following lists
House Crow Corvus splendens* White-vented Myna Acridotheres grandis* Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker Dicaeum cruentatum Asian House Swift Apus affinis
Pink-necked Pigeon Treron vernans* Zebra Dove Geopelia striata* Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus* Banded Woodpecker Picus mineaceus* Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus* House Crow Corvus splendens Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis* Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis* Common Myna Acridotheres tristis White-vented Myna Acridotheres grandis Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonostigma Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker Dicaeum cruentatum
Mute Swan Cygnus olor Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier
9 Lifers, 18 species
Tree Shrew (Species unknown)
Common Red-bellied Squirrel
Buses in Malaysia are both frequent and cheap and make travel very easy. The driving technique in Malaysia leaves a lot to be desired -- for instance a solid white line in the centre of a road seems to indicate that you can overtake at any time. Unless you have very strong nerves, we would advise against hiring a car! Taxis are very cheap -- the trick is to find a driver who wants to take you where you want to go. It sometimes took us up to eight taxis before one would agree to take us, and then they would usually negotiate a price rather than use the meter.
We paid between RM42-65 per night for a twin or double room with its own bathroom, (RM2 = A$1 at the time of writing). Towels are not always supplied, and some rooms just had a light woven cover rather than traditional sheets. All the rooms we stayed in were clean, though mosquitoes were sometimes a problem -- just request some spray rather than put up with them. It is worth paying extra for air-conditioning if there is the option, as overnight temperatures in the lowlands stay pretty warm. Most accommodation has some type of cafe/restaurant facility which is very useful after a hard days birding. Cash is the normal means of payment unless you are staying at an upmarket establishment where they should accept travellers cheques or credit cards, but don't rely on this.
Kuala Lumpur is a good starting point in Malaysia, with QANTAS and Malaysia Airlines flying direct. The city has a green heart at the Lakes Gardens. This is a good place to visit for an introduction to Malaysian birds and is only a short walk from the city centre. In the same area is an excellent bird park housed in a large walk-in aviary which is well worth visiting. Here several species of hornbill can be seen and photographed in reasonably natural surroundings -- many other local species are also free-flying and nesting in the park. We also stopped off at a piece of interesting bush by the Selangor Mosque (mainly acacias), but few birds were occupying it.
Rock Dove Columba livia Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea (heard) Asian House Swift Apus affinis House Crow Corvus splendens White-vented Myna Acridotheres grandis Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Zebra Dove Geopelia striata Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea House Crow Corvus splendens Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavie10 Species
An afternoon was spent at the Taman Pertaian Malaysia Agricultural Park which is situated 30 km west of Kuala Lumpur near Shah Alam. Take the Kuala Lumpur-Klang bus no. 222 or 206 from the Klang bus terminal, the park is open 8.30 to 6.00 pm. Admission was RM2 for the day. Bird life was quiet whilst we were there, but as it was our first day we were still coming to terms with new species and missed out on a few identifications. It is probably wise to head out to the extremes of the park and spend longer than the afternoon we had. We did have good views of Pig-tailed Macaques, and it turned out to be the only views we had of these primates. The park covers 1,295 hectares of mainly virgin forest and is large enough to get away from most visitors. It has many varied habitats depicting agricultural themes such as rice paddies, orchids, mushroom garden, spice and beverage garden as well as a natural forest area. There is also an observation tower overlooking the ornamental garden, as well as a small bird park and a rather rickety canopy walk.
White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis Common Myna Acridotheres tristis White-vented Myna Acridotheres grandis Rufous-tailed Tailorbird Orthotomus sericeus Nutmeg Mannikin (Spice Finch) Lonchura punctulata White-headed Munia Lonchura maja*1 Lifer 6 Species
Situated 300 km north-east of Kuala Lumpur and covering 4343 square kilometres, Taman Negara is Malaysia's premier national park (Taman Negara actually means national park). Getting to the park headquarters and resort is an adventure, the boat trip from Kuala Tembeling taking 2 1/2 hours up the Tembeling River. Kingfishers dart across the river, and hornbills take off from the trees -- what a way to start a trip!
To get to Taman Negara from Kuala Lumpur, catch the Perwira Express from the Pekeleling Bus Station to Jerantut. Air-conditioned buses leave at 9am, 10am, 11.30am, 3pm, 5pm and take 3 1/2 hours at a cost of RM9 (A$4.50). An overnight stay is usually necessary in Jerantut as the boats from Kuala Tembeling (18 km from Jerantut) leave at 9am and 2pm. We stayed at the Jerantut Resthouse where an air-conditioned room with bathroom costs RM44, and it's only a three minute taxi ride from the bus station. Meals can be bought here and are cheap and tasty. The bonus of staying at the Resthouse is a short talk about Taman Negara given each evening. This talk is followed by a minibus ride to the Jerantut supermarket to stock up on food supplies (mainly aimed at backpackers). We took the opportunity to get fruit and biscuits for lunches which saved quite a bit of money.
Jerantut Rest House Ph/Fax: 09 2664 488
Zebra Dove Geopelia striata Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus6 Species
The minibus took us to the bus station the next morning to connect with the local bus to Kuala Tembeling which is the departure point for the boat trip to Taman Negara. It is necessary to obtain permits for entry to the National Park (RM1) and a camera permit (RM5) from the parks office. Allow at least 15 minutes for the paperwork to be completed.
Long-tailed Parakeet Psittacula longicauda* Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis* White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis* Oriental Pied-Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris House Crow Corvus splendens Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica3 Lifers 11 Species
Located at the junction of the Tahan and Tembeling Rivers on the edge of the rainforest is the Taman Negara Resort and park headquarters. The grounds are neatly kept, and the Malaysian architecture used for the buildings is most attractive. Accommodation at the Resort ranges from a hostel (RM18), standard guest house (RM150 double room), to a chalet (RM200 double room). Included in the guest house and chalet cost is a buffet breakfast (Rates also are subject to 10% service charge and 5% government tax). We stayed in a chalet with a balcony overlooking the river, which made a very pleasant place to sit and birdwatch while having lunch. It was great to have an air-conditioned room to relax in after a hard day's birding in the very hot and humid climate. The restaurant is very pleasant with meals starting at around RM10. There is a small shop which sells food, ice-cream and the essential bottled water. The prices include RM1, which is refunded when wrappers and bottles are returned, in an effort to curb littering in the park. There are also camping facilities at the resort, and camping is allowed throughout the park. Alternatively, there is cheaper accommodation and cafes available on the other side of the river from the Resort at Kuala Tahan village or 15 minutes upstream at Nusa Camp. Both these places are outside the national park, and access is by boat. We made our bookings from the Resort's Sydney office and had to pay a deposit of one night's accommodation and the boat transfers (RM38 pp). It is advisable to book in advance as the Resort can become very busy especially over weekends and holidays.
The most accessible area of Taman Negara is lowland rainforest, with the higher altitudes only reached by a nine day trek. Allow at least four nights to see some of the stunning birds on offer in this park, although several weeks are probably necessary to see all the 350+ species recorded. There are numerous walking tracks around the resort ranging from short circuits to full day treks or overnight stays in hides at salt-licks. Track maintenance seems to be non-existent, making some of the walks quite hard work negotiating fallen trees, roots and mud! We found though that most of the common birds were within 500 m of the resort area, mainly due to two fruiting fig trees. We sat beneath them and just waited for a succession of new species to arrive -- a tickers paradise!
Look for Black-thighed Falconets on the radio towers by the camp site. Although we walked along the track to Lubok Simpon where the Crested Firebacks were supposed to be, we never saw them. We had to make do with stunning looks at the Black-and-yellow Broadbills instead. This was one of our favourite birds on the trip, we also saw the Dusky Broadbill along here high in a tree. We also dipped the Great Argus and had to make do with hearing its amazing call which sounds like a very loud "wow wow."
It is also possible to explore the Tahan River by hiring a boat; this is arranged through the park office at the resort. We paid RM80 between four of us for a three hour trip. We saw a Crested Serpent-Eagle on this trip and looked hard for Masked Finfoot with no joy. The boat trip ended with us getting soaked in an afternoon thunderstorm. If you have enough time, there are two other resorts further up the river, run by the same organisation. These offer easy access to explore different areas.
Bookings:- Taman Negara - SMI Hotels & Resorts, Sydney Ph: 02 231 6744 Fax: 1800 809 154
Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela* Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella* Common Myna Acridotheres tristis Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica Little Green-Pigeon Treron olax* Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra* Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus* Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis Oriental Pied-Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris Gold-whiskered Barbet Megalaima chrysopogon* Blue-eared Barbet Megalaima australis* Brown Barbet Calorhamphus fuliginosus* Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus* Common Goldenback Dinopium javanense* Orange-backed Woodpecker Reinwardtipicus validus* Green Broadbill Calyptomena viridis* Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus* Common Iora Aegithina tiphia* Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati* Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus* Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus* Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni* Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier Olive-winged Bulbul Pycnonotus plumosus* Buff-vented Bulbul Iole olivacea* Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius*
Silver-rumped Needletail Rhaphidura leucopygialis* Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus* Yellow-crowned Barbet Megalaima henricii* Crested Jay Platylophus galericulatus* Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati Abbott's Babbler Malacocincla abbotti* Yellow-vented Flowerpecker Dicaeum chrysorrheum* Purple-naped Sunbird Hypogramma hypogrammicum*
Little Green-Pigeon Treron olax Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra Raffles' Malkoha Phaenicophaeus chlorophaeus* Red-throated Barbet Megalaima mystacophanos* Brown Barbet Calorhamphus fuliginosus Black-and-red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis* Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus percussus*
Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot Loriculus galgulus* Black-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus diardi* Oriental Pied-Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris Crimson-winged Woodpecker Picus puniceus* Checker-throated Woodpecker Picus mentalis* Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis* Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex* Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus* White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata*
Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus* Crimson-winged Woodpecker Picus puniceus Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus Asian Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi* Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella Large Wren-Babbler Napothera macrodactyla* Grey-breasted Spiderhunter Arachnothera affinis*
Blue-banded Kingfisher Alcedo euryzona* Black-and-red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos* Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea* Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Anthreptes singalensis*
Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius* Olive-backed Woodpecker Dinopium rafflesii*
Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis Black-and-red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos
Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris* Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis White-crowned Forktail Enicurus leschenaulti* Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica Brown Fulvetta Alcippe brunneicauda*
Mammal: Prevosts Squirrel
Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa daurica* White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra*
Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis* Dusky Broadbill Corydon sumatranus* Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius Black-and-red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos Black-and-yellow Broadbill Eurylaimus ochromalus* Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina* White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus
Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting* Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis White-rumped Needletail Zoonavena sylvatica* Oriental Pied-Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris Black-and-red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos Slender-billed Crow Corvus enca* Bar-bellied Cuckoo-shrike Coracina striata* Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica
63 Lifers 75 Species
We shared a taxi from Kuala Tembeling to Frasers Hill with another birder. It was worth the RM120 for the sheer ease of the 3 1/2 hours journey. The alternative would have been three buses and taken us all day. The eight kilometre road up to Frasers Hill operates on a one way system -- up on the odd hours and down on the even hours, so it is possible to get stranded at the bottom for a while.
After the heat of Taman Negara, the cooler altitude of Frasers Hill was a welcome relief. Frasers Hill developed as a hill resort in the 1920s and still retains some of the colonial charm. It is an ideal place for birdwatchers as there are plenty of walking tracks in the rainforest to get away from the tourists taking advantage of the cooler climes. We found that once we got onto the walking tracks we hardly met a soul though the sound of outboard motors on the lake, music and wedding celebrations were a reminder that civilisation wasn't far away! We walked a number of the tracks including the famous Bishops Trail, finding them easy to follow and well maintained. The only problem was finding the start of some of the tracks as there was a tendency to hide the entrance behind a building or through a garden, but others were neatly signposted.
The rubbish dump is a famous birding spot, and we set off at dawn to arrive there early morning. We had excellent views of a Blyth's Hawk-Eagle, Greater and Lesser Yellownapes and Black-browed Barbet. However, the view of rubbish tipped over into the rainforest creek was not so delightful. The return uphill journey we did at ease while birding. If, like us, you pass the Old Smokehouse halfway up the hill feeling in need of sustenance, a Full English Breakfast can be obtained for RM22 and is guaranteed to keep you going for the rest of the day!
A visit to the grounds of High Pines is worthwhile -- just ask permission to birdwatch. We looked hard for Cutia and Brown Bullfinch here with no luck, but they had both been seen recently by another birder. We experienced the famous birdwaves having up to 17 species at one time -- that really gets the adrenalin flowing. However, the opposite also happens when there seem to be no birds at all. There are compensations though, such as watching the gibbons flying between the trees!
We stayed at the Puncak Inn, which is in the town centre and provided a small clean room with bathroom for RM65 a night. The Frasers Hill Development Corporation is a central agency for booking accommodation. Our timetable allowed us only two nights at Frasers Hill and one at the Gap -- an extra night at each would have been better.
Bookings:- Frasers Hill Development Corporation Ph: 09 3622 044
Frasers Hill - Hemmant Trail. 18-5-96
Mountain Imperial-Pigeon Ducula badia Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer* Rufous-browed Flycatcher Ficedula solitaris* Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus* Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush Garrulax mitratus Black-eared Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius melanotis* Mountain Fulvetta Alcippe peracensis* Long-tailed Sibia Heterophasia picaoides* Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata* Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna*
Bay Woodpecker Blythipicus pyrrhotis* Long-tailed Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae* White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis Bar-bellied Cuckoo-shrike Coracina striata Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni Large Niltava Niltava grandis* Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush Garrulax erythrocephalus* Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris* Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata
Blyth's Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus alboniger* Little Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia ruficeps* Mountain Imperial-Pigeon Ducula badia Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta Black-browed Barbet Megalaima oorti* Lesser Yellownape Picus chlorolophus* Greater Yellownape Picus flavinucha* White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos Grey-chinned Minivet Pericrocotus solaris Ochraceous Bulbul Alophoixus ochraceus* Mountain Bulbul Hypsipetes mcclellandii* Long-tailed Sibia Heterophasia picaoides Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus Grey-throated Babbler Stachyris nigriceps*
Fire-tufted Barbet Psilopogon pyrolophus* Black-and-crimson Oriole Oriolus cruentus* Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus* Chestnut-crowned Warbler Seicercus castaniceps* Yellow-bellied Warbler Abroscopus superciliaris Golden Babbler Stachyris chrysaea* White-browed Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius flaviscapis* Blue-winged Minla Minla cyanouroptera* Mountain Fulvetta Alcippe peracensis Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectus*
White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis Rufous-browed Flycatcher Ficedula solitaris Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus Grey-throated Babbler Stachyris nigriceps Mountain Fulvetta Alcippe peracensis Long-tailed Sibia Heterophasia picaoides
Greater Yellownape Picus flavinucha White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis Large Niltava Niltava grandis Mountain Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus trivirgatus Chestnut-crowned Warbler Seicercus castaniceps Yellow-bellied Warbler Abroscopus superciliaris Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush Garrulax mitratus Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush Garrulax erythrocephalus Pygmy Wren-Babbler Pnoepyga pusilla* Golden Babbler Stachyris chrysaea Black-eared Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius melanotis Mountain Fulvetta Alcippe peracensis Long-tailed Sibia Heterophasia picaoides Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna
Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer Large Cuckoo-shrike Coracina macei Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis Large Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus hypoleucos* Golden Babbler Stachyris chrysaea Grey-throated Babbler Stachyris nigriceps Mountain Fulvetta Alcippe peracensis
Barred Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia unchall* Little Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia ruficeps Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta Asian House Swift Apus affinis Fire-tufted Barbet Psilopogon pyrolophus White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush Garrulax erythrocephalus
Barred Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia unchall Mountain Imperial-Pigeon Ducula badia Greater Yellownape Picus flavinucha White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer Green Magpie Cissa chinensis* Rufous-browed Flycatcher Ficedula solitaris Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus Yellow-bellied Warbler Abroscopus superciliaris White-browed Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius flaviscapis Mountain Fulvetta Alcippe peracensis Long-tailed Sibia Heterophasia picaoides
Little Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia ruficeps Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus Grey-chinned Minivet Pericrocotus solaris Large Niltava Niltava grandis Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata
Rock Dove Columba livia White-tailed Robin Cinclidium leucurum* Streaked Wren-Babbler Napothera brevicaudata* Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris Long-tailed Sibia Heterophasia picaoides35 Lifers 52 Species
The local bus leaves Frasers Hill for The Gap, situated at the base of the hill, at 10.10am and 2.15pm whilst we were there at a cost of 70c. The well known (in birding circles) Gap Resthouse is worth staying at for one or two nights. Because the altitude is about 500 m lower than Frasers Hill (825 m and 1300 m respectively), the bird species are somewhat different. Walking along the main road towards Kuala Khota Bharu (KKB) is the best for birding and very rewarding. We also walked 3 km up the road toward Frasers Hill and saw a few good birds. The swifts and swallows were abundant around the Resthouse with the Peninsula race of the Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica badia) having stunning deep chestnut underparts.
The accommodation at the Gap is quite interesting, as the Resthouse is from a bygone era with large rooms boasting two double beds and a huge bath, which is wonderful for soaking aching limbs in after a strenuous days birding! We paid RM41 for our double room and ate fried rice and noodles at the restaurant for RM3.50 or fish and chips (from their Western Delights menu) for RM10.50. The reception for booking in was eventually found in the kitchen (!) and definitely cash only.
Bookings:- The Gap Rest House: Ph: 09 3622 227
Little Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia ruficeps Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis* Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus Asian House Swift Apus affinis Blue-eared Barbet Megalaima australis Silver-breasted Broadbill Serilophus lunatus* Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus Large Cuckoo-shrike Coracina macei* Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus* Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus* Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni Ochraceous Bulbul Alophoixus ochraceus Everett's White-eye Zosterops everetti* Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis Black Laughingthrush Garrulax lugubris* Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus montanus* Striped Tit-Babbler Macronous gularis* White-bellied Yuhina Yuhina zantholeuca*
Mountain Imperial-Pigeon Ducula badia Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot Loriculus galgulus Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus Green Magpie Cissa chinensis Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis Orange-bellied Leafbird Chloropsis hardwickii* Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps* Ochraceous Bulbul Alophoixus ochraceus Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis Mountain Fulvetta Alcippe peracensis
Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot Loriculus galgulus Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica Lesser Cuckoo-shrike Coracina fimbriata* Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni Ashy Bulbul Hemixos flavala* Everett's White-eye Zosterops everetti Grey-throated Babbler Stachyris nigriceps Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus percussus14 Lifers 35 Species
From The Gap it is necessary to get a bus to Kuala Khota Bharu and change for the Kuala Lumpur bus. The bus arrived at 2.20pm and cost RM1.80 taking 40 min to KKB. From KKB the journey of 60 km to Kuala Lumpur took 1 3/4 hrs at a cost of RM3.50 in an air-conditioned bus.
The following day we went out to the University which has some good birding and a small botanical gardens. A no.12 minibus from downtown KL at Jalan Raja will take you to the university. Rimba Ilmu, the botanic gardens, is probably the best birding area. We did see a Slaty-breasted Rail foraging around in the experimental agricultural area along the road to fifth college and the botanic gardens. There are also a couple of cheap eating houses along here just before the botanic gardens. We had some Nasi Goreng for RM2.00 each! After visiting the gardens we caught a taxi (RM5.00) to the bird park in Lakes Gardens. The bird park is housed in a large covered area where the birds are free to fly. One partitioned area houses several species of hornbills which make good air-conditioners as they fly overhead! The many species here seemed in good condition with many of them nesting. The park also provides good photo opportunities in reasonably natural surroundings.
Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus* Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis House Crow Corvus splendens Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus Common Iora Aegithina tiphia Common Myna Acridotheres tristis Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis Zebra Dove Geopelia striata Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta Common Flameback Dinopium javanense Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis Common Myna Acridotheres tristis Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus1 Lifer 17 Species
This coastal Nature Park developed jointly by the Selangor State Government and the Malaysian Nature Society in 1987 covers about 260 ha. Many tracks through the woodland and wetland areas lead to hides and towers which give good views of the varied habitats. A boardwalk gives good access into the mangroves for a chance to see Mangrove Pitta. Three pairs live in this area, but we dipped out. In the migration season there can be large amounts of wading birds, but we had to be content with a few egrets and herons. Species lists for the park are available at the visitor centre as are cold drinks. Accommodation is available -- we had a chalet with a fan and bathroom for RM42 a night, but cheaper huts with communal bathroom facilities are also available. It is a popular venue for school groups and often booked out. There is no food available, but a ten minute walk into the town centre gives a choice of restaurants. Our birding was cut short on the second day by a thunder storm early in the morning.
Buses leave Kuala Lumpur regularly from the Puda Raya Bus Terminal (Bay 23) and cost RM3.90 for the air-conditioned bus and take about two hours.
Bookings:- Ph 03 8892 294 (9am - 5pm only).
Kuala Selangor - Taman Alam Nature Park. 23-5-96
Little Egret Egretta garzetta Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Great Egret Casmerodius albus Striated Heron Butorides striatus Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis Zebra Dove Geopelia striata Cinnamon-headed Pigeon Treron fulvicollis* Pink-necked Pigeon Treron vernans Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis* Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta Edible-nest Swiftlet Collocalia fuciphaga Asian House Swift Apus affinis White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis Brown-capped Woodpecker Dendrocopos moluccensis* Common Goldenback Woodpecker Dinopium javanense Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea* Mangrove Whistler Pachycephala grisola Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos Common Iora Aegithina tiphia Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis Common Myna Acridotheres tristis Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa daurica Mangrove Blue-Flycatcher Cyornis rufigaster* Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps* Abbott's Babbler Malacocincla abbotti Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus Nutmeg Mannikin (Spice Finch) Lonchura punctulata Plain-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Anthreptes singalensis Copper-throated Sunbird Nectarinia calcostetha* Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis7 Lifers 45 Species
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