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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Malaysia (1 Viewer)

paul5000paul

Well-known member
I shall be visiting Peninsular Malaysia in late July and August and would appreciate any advice/updates on seeing some species I have missed in the past at the following sites:

Bukit Tinggi: Rail Babbler, MPP at the far from secret site.
Krau: Rail babbler at the magic log-any recent sightings?
Taman Negara: Rail Babbler, Cinnamon-rumped Trogon, Blue-banded Kingfisher, Olive-backed Woodpecker, Short-toed Coucal, Gould's Frogmouth, Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker, Barred Eagle Owl, Black Partridge (no hope I guess), Long-billed Partridge (ditto), Rufous-chested Fly, Brown-streaked Fly (migrants arriving by mid Aug.), Chestnut-capped Thrush. Red-throated Sunbird, Moustached Hawk-Cuckoo.
Panti: All of the above plus Grey-breasted Babbler.
Fraser's Hill/The Gap: Malayan Partridge at the Richmond stake-out or elsewhere, Cutia, Marbled Wren-babbler, Bamboo Woodpecker.
Pulau Tioman: Copper throated Sunbird and good birding areas.

Additionally, any site info for: Red-legged Crake, Blue-breasted Quail or White fronted Scops Owl would be most gratefully received.

Some general points:
Are mealworms readily obtainable from pet shops in Malaysia?
Are permits still required for the Bunker trail at Panti or is it worth chancing it? In 2010, I was asked to leave the "trail" by an official because I didn't have a permit but that was on my last afternoon there and I was walking back to the car park anyway!
Is the road to Taman Negara (kuala Tahan) easily driveable with a standard 2x4 hire car and easy to find (I went by boat before)?

Many thanks.

Paul
 
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andyb39

Well-known member
Bukit Tinggi: both MPP and FP are seen regularly, the former virtually guaranteed.

Krau: no, not this year AFAIK.

Taman Negara: a tough place for birding, with enervating heat and humidity. I didn't see any of those species in 2 1/2 days there. A number of people have commented that TN is getting more difficult to bird.
I didn't hear any Rail Babbler, but there are several Great Argus calling.
CRT - supposed to be on the way to Lubok Simpon. There and Jenet Muda trail (esp. around the stream) good for Trogons.
BBKF - try Lubok Simpon early morning, or further upriver (Lata Berkoh?).
OBWP, STC - no idea.
SBFP - Gunung Arong is apparently the best place.
Don't have any info about any of the others, except to say the grounds of the Mutiara are a possibility for RTSB if there's a flowering tree. Saw a probable female at the campsite.
The campsite is reputed to have Reddish & White-browed Scops Owls and 3 species of Frogmouth, but I didn't get any response.

Panti - You might get lucky with SBFP if you find the right kind of flowering tree in bloom.
No idea where STC is to be found - I believe it's very seldom seen.
Rail Babbler seen recently on the Bunker Trail.
Re access, just walk in, but if you want to bird the Bunker Trail, drive along the dirt road which starts a few hundred metres before the bunkers and enter from there, not the main road.

Fraser's Hill - I failed at Bamboo WP, although I did hear some drumming. The Gap and the first few hundred metres of the Old Gap Road are supposed to be the place to look.
No response from MWB, although there are several gullies to try.
The Partridges can be seen at the Richmond stake-out - try after 4 pm.
I think Cutia is seldom seen, but probably the higher the better - Telekom Loop or High Pines?

Sorry, no idea about Tioman.

Red-legged Crake - Singapore Botanical Gardens, esp. Heliconia Walk!
 

paul5000paul

Well-known member
Thanks

Bukit Tinggi: both MPP and FP are seen regularly, the former virtually guaranteed.

Krau: no, not this year AFAIK.

Taman Negara: a tough place for birding, with enervating heat and humidity. I didn't see any of those species in 2 1/2 days there. A number of people have commented that TN is getting more difficult to bird.
I didn't hear any Rail Babbler, but there are several Great Argus calling.
CRT - supposed to be on the way to Lubok Simpon. There and Jenet Muda trail (esp. around the stream) good for Trogons.
BBKF - try Lubok Simpon early morning, or further upriver (Lata Berkoh?).
OBWP, STC - no idea.
SBFP - Gunung Arong is apparently the best place.
Don't have any info about any of the others, except to say the grounds of the Mutiara are a possibility for RTSB if there's a flowering tree. Saw a probable female at the campsite.
The campsite is reputed to have Reddish & White-browed Scops Owls and 3 species of Frogmouth, but I didn't get any response.

Panti - You might get lucky with SBFP if you find the right kind of flowering tree in bloom.
No idea where STC is to be found - I believe it's very seldom seen.
Rail Babbler seen recently on the Bunker Trail.
Re access, just walk in, but if you want to bird the Bunker Trail, drive along the dirt road which starts a few hundred metres before the bunkers and enter from there, not the main road.

Fraser's Hill - I failed at Bamboo WP, although I did hear some drumming. The Gap and the first few hundred metres of the Old Gap Road are supposed to be the place to look.
No response from MWB, although there are several gullies to try.
The Partridges can be seen at the Richmond stake-out - try after 4 pm.
I think Cutia is seldom seen, but probably the higher the better - Telekom Loop or High Pines?

Sorry, no idea about Tioman.

Red-legged Crake - Singapore Botanical Gardens, esp. Heliconia Walk!

Hi Andy

Thanks for the info.
TN is a difficult place to bird, I thought it was over run with visitors 20 years ago but imagine it has got even busier now. Will spend about 5 days there which is really not enough time, I know.
Red-legged Crake in Singapore: Are these resident? Thought that they were winter birds? As I will have time in Singapore, I might have a go.

Cheers,

Paul
 

daf

Member
Hi Paul,

Fhill: High Pinetrail can be good for Cutia and Mountain peacock ph. We heard 2 cutias 1km along the trail, mountain PF was seen after the first bend (before the wooden stairs). Bamboo WP: easily seen in bamboo stands along the road going up. Marbled Wren babbler: nearly impossible (imo)...

Taman Negara: I find the Merapoh entrance better (and much quieter!) for species like rail babbler (easy!), garnet pitta, great frogmouth (entrance gate)...

Cheers,

D.
 
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temmie

Well-known member
Watching this closely, going there end of August. Still not sure about main entrance of TN with comments here.
 

paul5000paul

Well-known member
Thanks

Hi Paul,

Fhill: High Pinetrail can be good for Cutia and Mountain peacock ph. We heard 2 cutias 1km along the trail, mountain PF was seen after the first bend (before the wooden stairs). Bamboo WP: easily seen in bamboo stands along the road going up. Marbled Wren babbler: nearly impossible (imo)...

Taman Negara: I find the Merapoh entrance better (and much quieter!) for species like rail babbler (easy!), garnet pitta, great frogmouth (entrance gate)...

Cheers,

D.

Hi D,

Thanks.
Have not walked the High Pines trail but it sounds promising, will give it a go.
Not even considered the Merapoh entrance at TN due to lack of info. Is it easy to access and is there a trail network?

Many thanks.

Paul
 

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
Can I add to the Merapoh area questions: do you have a recommended place to stay and is there a particular trail that is best for the railbabbler? Having spent many, many hours failing to see one a site where they are 'easy' is extremely appealing.
 

Britseye

Well-known member
Hi. Would just like to say a word to stick up for Taman Negara. I was there in 1991 (a month in March), 2012 ( the whole of July) and 2017 ( a week in May). Sure, there are now hundreds of visitors staying in the posh resort at the HQ, but not many venture too far up the trails (now boardwalked all the way from HQ up to Lubuk Simpon and round Jenet Muda!) I would thoroughly recommend staying out in one of the hides (it'll cost you a quid/night!). Tahan hide is approx 4k from HQ and is a reasonable base to get away from crowds for a night or two (though it IS a very spartan existence). Together with Dave Willis I had several Gould's Frogmouths, a Javan, a Reddish Scops, and what we think was probably a W-f Scops calling early one morning. Mind you, we also had Gould's Frogmouth on the Swamp Loop Trail last time I was there and bumped into Denis Jong who stated Rail-Babbler can be seen on that trail too.

Kumbang Hide is much further from HQ (10 Km) and is generally where the slightly more hardcore birder ventures. You can get a boat. I was only there 24 hours last time I went, but heard Large Frogmouth and whistled out a Rail-Babbler quite easily. Saw Tapir dusk and dawn too.

A couple of birds you mention...CRT, Barred Eagle Owl, Moustached Hawk Cuckoo, Chestnut capped Thrush ... I was working/guiding at a forest site in Sabah for three months in summer 2014. Although I walked the same trails every day, I saw each of these species ONCE. Birds like this, the time factor comes in to play. You can't really look FOR them, I don't think. Same with the Partridges. Obviously knowing the calls makes a huge difference as it extends your 'net' wider; but the chances of successfully targeting them in five days is low.

I haven't got my notebooks at hand, but pretty sure I remember seeing Olive-backed Woodpecker on the Swamp Trail in 2012? I saw several Blue-banded Ks on my first visit in 91 by taking shoes and socks off and slowly wading along some of the forest streams.

As regards getting there, yes, the road goes all the way to Kuala Tahan. Note that the river taxis back and forth from Tahan to HQ run till at least 1030 so it's quite possible to get in a few hours torching in the primary forest and still get back to accommodation on the Tahan side.
 

Britseye

Well-known member
Can I add to the Merapoh area questions: do you have a recommended place to stay and is there a particular trail that is best for the railbabbler? Having spent many, many hours failing to see one a site where they are 'easy' is extremely appealing.

Hi Steve. I feel I've been fortunate in successfully seeing 3 of the 4 Rail-Babblers I've heard in TN over several visits. Maybe there's some skill involved, I don't know. Sometimes it might pay to be a small chap, too! They are wierdly ventriloquial in nature and the last one I saw near Kumbang, I didn't have a clue which direction the sound was coming from but I tucked in low behind a tree off the trail and started whistling back. I was a bit pressed for time but within a minute the whistling stopped, and the frog-like gok gok gok I remembered from my previous encounters, confirmed it was coming in and beginning its circling of the arena I was occupying. A reasonable sighting then followed (but since I'd already seen them extremely well in 1991 on my trip with Seb Buckton, I left quickly to catch my boat.)

I treasure my Rail-Babbler memories, but even still I've been gripped by some of the experiences (and photos) people have had with them at other sites in recent years, especially Panti. I saw a video not long ago where you can actually see the air sacs on its throat inflate as its calling.

Good luck next time
Graham G
 

Dave Boyle

Well-known member
I'm at Taman Negara at the moment - I haven't seen any of the birds on your list yet!

Yep its busy near the resort but it doesn't take much to get away from the crowds - I walked up the river to the Tabing hide today & saw about 3 people all day past Lubok Simpon.

I heard Rail-Babbler yesterday on the Jenut Muda track & I'm told Red-throated Sunbirds come to the dangly clumps of small yellow flowers around the resort.
 

Britseye

Well-known member
I'm at Taman Negara at the moment - I haven't seen any of the birds on your list yet!

Yep its busy near the resort but it doesn't take much to get away from the crowds - I walked up the river to the Tabing hide today & saw about 3 people all day past Lubok Simpon.

I heard Rail-Babbler yesterday on the Jenut Muda track & I'm told Red-throated Sunbirds come to the dangly clumps of small yellow flowers around the resort.

Hey, Dave. I've got problems with a rat inside my caravan in Cornwall right now. Any chance you can cut short your holiday and come help get rid of it for me :) St Agnes still rat-free though :t:

Enjoy the rest of your stay. Will you be going out to the hides?

Graham
 

Dave Boyle

Well-known member
I'd love to Graham but I'm a bit busy just now! Hope its not getting at your Quality Streets! Great news about the Manxies & Stormies!

Not too sure yet about the hides, I might just plug away on the nearer trails - I was expecting the birding to be hard but its really hard! I did the Swamp Loop this evening & literally saw 1 bird! There's a couple of other birders around they walked up the river a ways and saw 2 birds!
 

Britseye

Well-known member
I'd love to Graham but I'm a bit busy just now! Hope its not getting at your Quality Streets! Great news about the Manxies & Stormies!

Not too sure yet about the hides, I might just plug away on the nearer trails - I was expecting the birding to be hard but its really hard! I did the Swamp Loop this evening & literally saw 1 bird! There's a couple of other birders around they walked up the river a ways and saw 2 birds!

First time I went to TN, Dave, I was serious hardcore and found it hard and frustrating at least for the first four days. More recently I've gone a lot more chilled out and just simply enjoying going for a walk in a forest environment and ended up seeing just as much, if not more, without the background frustration. I don't know if you've done much forest birding or not? but just to keep your spirits up, here's a couple of things I've found...

1) sometimes it can be too dry in the forest and an afternoon or two's worth of rain can help liven things up
2) it's a good idea to mix up slow, methodical, creeping around birding with a burst of speed, or just casual strolling along at normal walking pace. Don't bird the forest as if you're looking for scarce migrants in the UK. TN is where I bumped into a couple of spectacular critters on the side of path whilst burning along at Olympic walking pace back from Kumbang Hide.
3) also, mix up forest interior birding with a bit of a sit and wait birding on the outer edges at favoured areas. I was lucky when I was there in 2012 there was a spectacular flowering fig right at the top of the steps at the entrance where you could spend ages watching comings and goings. I didn't have the same luck in 2017 but there was a fig in the centre of the clearing by the hide behind the resort chalets that was productive, although the birds were more distant.

By the way, if you're having trouble finding beer, there's a resort half a k further up the road from the bus station where you can get a nice cold one!
 

temmie

Well-known member
I feel the beer advise is the only practical advise that I am going to follow with 100% succes, seems like the birding is extremely hard! Have been birding in Danum before so I can imagine how it's going to be like :)
 

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
By the way, if you're having trouble finding beer, there's a resort half a k further up the road from the bus station where you can get a nice cold one!

Now we're on the important things, is it right that you can't buy booze from shops in Kuala Tahan? It's over twenty years since I was last there, so I guess things have changed.
 

Britseye

Well-known member
Now we're on the important things, is it right that you can't buy booze from shops in Kuala Tahan? It's over twenty years since I was last there, so I guess things have changed.

Yes, it's right. You can't buy booze from shops in Tahan. I THINK the name of the resort where you can, is the HAN rainforest resort. But, as I say, take the last road to the right before the river, past the bus station, for half to three-quarters kilometre and you're there. Open til at least 9pm, possibly ten? We watched a Slow Loris feeding for an hour around midnight along this road also.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
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