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Malaysia (1 Viewer)

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
A quick update: we did well with rusty-naped Pitta, marbled-wren babbler, malayan whistling thrush, partridges, bamboo woodpecker and the more common stuff. No snif of cutia and long billed partridge but we only tried the pine trail in the afternoon. It feels like many skulking birds are overplayed and not responding on the regularly birded trails, eg we heard 5 rusty naped pittas on bishop that were playing very hard to see while we saw one much more easily on a less birded trail... more important: we found the little shop entering the village from the old road sold beer, and some restaurants (not all) serve beer! Tomorrow we'll be in Taman Negara. Pray for us that the ground birds will be visible!

I haven't heard of a confirmed sighting of this bird in years, did you get any photos?

Plenty of people have claimed it but the ID is not as straightforward as many think, add to this, the poor light that it's often claimed in and there's definitely, IMHO, been a lot of erroneous reports. Is this stakeout the one by the gate? I thought that this bird was no longer being seen and this is over a long period of time, I think that David Bakewell found another site for it. Doing this from memory but a real confusion factor, is that the local race of Blue Whistling Thrush, has a very similar bill?

From Wiki

Distribution and habitat

Its natural habitat is montane forests. It is usually found near streams. It is situated at elevations of about 750–1,750 m (2,460–5,740 ft) in central peninsular Malaysia.[1] The Malayan whistling thrush historically ranged from the Cameron Highlands to the Genting Highlands. It was present in the Cameron Highlands, where it was trapped in the 1950s and 1960s, but a further survey in 2009–2010 failed to find it there, bringing into question the reliability of intermediate sightings; it is possible that there may have been confusion with the subspecies dicrorhynchus of the blue whistling thrush (Myophonus caeruleus).[1] Since 1980, it has been trapped and recorded with certainty only in Fraser's Hill.[1]



Bamboo Woodpecker is far from guaranteed though I got one right at the bottom of the Gap road.

How long did it take you to figure out the local race of Blue-winged Minla, I can't see it on your list?

You've always been able to get beer at FH but unless anything has changed, the only place to get it at TN is at the Mutiara resort, not on the floating restaurants.
 
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temmie

Well-known member
I haven't heard of a confirmed sighting of this bird in years, did you get any photos?

Plenty of people have claimed it but the ID is not as straightforward as many think, add to this, the poor light that it's often claimed in and there's definitely, IMHO, been a lot of erroneous reports. Is this stakeout the one by the gate? I thought that this bird was no longer being seen and this is over a long period of time, I think that David Bakewell found another site for it. Doing this from memory but a real confusion factor, is that the local race of Blue Whistling Thrush, has a very similar bill?

From Wiki

Distribution and habitat

Its natural habitat is montane forests. It is usually found near streams. It is situated at elevations of about 750–1,750 m (2,460–5,740 ft) in central peninsular Malaysia.[1] The Malayan whistling thrush historically ranged from the Cameron Highlands to the Genting Highlands. It was present in the Cameron Highlands, where it was trapped in the 1950s and 1960s, but a further survey in 2009–2010 failed to find it there, bringing into question the reliability of intermediate sightings; it is possible that there may have been confusion with the subspecies dicrorhynchus of the blue whistling thrush (Myophonus caeruleus).[1] Since 1980, it has been trapped and recorded with certainty only in Fraser's Hill.[1]



Bamboo Woodpecker is far from guaranteed though I got one right at the bottom of the Gap road.

How long did it take you to figure out the local race of Blue-winged Minla, I can't see it on your list?

You've always been able to get beer at FH but unless anything has changed, the only place to get it at TN is at the Mutiara resort, not on the floating restaurants.

Hi Andy,

some answers on your remarks:

Blue-winged Minla: we didn't see it.

the beer at TN: there is one other place but uphill from the river restaurants, somewhere near the Teresek View Motel (on the google map).
At Fraser's, the beer was far from a given, as the restaurant next to Scott's didn't have it, and the Shazan neither. So when Scott's was closed, one has already to take a car and drive a kilometer to e.g. Arzed (or go to the little shop and drink in your hotel room = not how I think a beer should be had).

last but not least: the Whistling Thrush. We heard it on two different days at dusk, at the stake out on top of the old road. The sound was exactly this one, recording made at a stake-out some years ago (more on that stake-out at the end of my post): https://www.xeno-canto.org/175839 (ps: I am aware of this: https://www.xeno-canto.org/forum/topic/22190 ) I have to check if my travel companion made any sound recordings...
Coming up the old road, on the right there is quite some open scanning along the little stream. On the left though, the stream goes under the road and immediately drops approx. 10 meters. There are hardly any views on the river downstream, and one has to almost risk falling 10 meters down to keep looking into a small gap where the stream can be seen for approx. 5 meters.
On the first day at dusk (after that first night we spent the next morning, the evening and another morning, evening and a monring at the site without any sniff!), my travel companion focused on a little gap where the river could be seen. I was still looking upstream at that moment. After hearing the high whistle he saw the bird for some seconds downstream.
So it's his sighting, for me a heard only. I am quite confident he saw it (he described it as smaller than blue) as I (and others) have never caught him stringing any bird ever. Both him and me understood very well the potential confusion with Blue Whistling Thrush (which we didn't see at all).
Here is my observation (heard only): https://malaysia.observation.org/waarneming/view/161961670
On a final note, I guess it's still there and the same bird as seen by e.g. Sander Lagerveld: https://malaysia.observation.org/waarneming/view/133550319. He says he videotaped it (and he has lots of experience in SE Asia as well), and he says it was extremely shy (probably the reason few get to see it, let alone hear (we had only one-two calls in 3 days!)

Some years ago, there was a stake out where one came in after throwing some worms, exactly in this curve:
https://www.google.com/maps/@3.7135...4!1soIpQIK4f5APgm5e0aYhFTA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
That's where the earlier mentioned sound recording (by Han Buckx) comes from.

We tried that site but obviously it's not active anymore.
 
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Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Thanks Temmie,
not sure how different the call is to Blue Whistling Thrush but on the view you described that your friend had, added to the difficulty of ID, there's no way that would get past any records committee but if your friend has convinced himself then, as they say, it's his list.

I spent some time at the site in 2002 I think it was, unless another bird has inherited the site, it seems unlikely to me that the bird could be 16-17 years old?
 

temmie

Well-known member
Thanks Temmie,
not sure how different the call is to Blue Whistling Thrush but on the view you described that your friend had, added to the difficulty of ID, there's no way that would get past any records committee but if your friend has convinced himself then, as they say, it's his list.

I spent some time at the site in 2002 I think it was, unless another bird has inherited the site, it seems unlikely to me that the bird could be 16-17 years old?

It his list indeed ;)
But as said, we heard the bird (we were playing tape before so were very focused on hearing a response), and the response was exactly the same sound.

So IF (I say if!) the sound recording is OK, and IF the sound is different from Blue Whistling Thrush, we 100% heard the same sound from the recording so that points to Malayan. Some seconds later, my companion saw a small whistling thrush at the river. I was there 5 seconds later but that was like 3 seconds too late.
Considering a Malayan Whistling Thrush was videotaped beginning of 2017 at the same spot as told above, and ofcourse IF that is a genuine Malayan Whistling thrush, our record is not that awkard or more than 2 years after the last record with some proof (sound or image).

I would have to see the videotape ofcourse but I reckon the observer is to be trusted and he is experienced (just like my travel companion).

On my list, I have a 100% sure calling Malayan Whistling Thrush, on the basis of trusting on the recording made by Han Buckx. Seeing is everything to me so I don't care too much about my observation with regards to any committee, but if my travel companion has made a (even half-decent) sound recording, it will be uploaded to XC and everybody can compare/analyse the histogram. So even if I don't care too much, our observation is, in my book, good enough to make it on my (heard) only list... regarding my list: I am as much happy with someone pointing out wrong ID / doubtful sightings as I am with yet another split from another tapaculo or drongo ;)
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
A balanced response but to my ear (which is not the most able), Malayan and Blue, sound the same to me but if you say you can hear a difference then that's great.

I think you'd need to see a sonogram to separate them?

Do you know Han Buckx?

Would be good to get the input from David Bakewell on that call to validate it if possible, I'll see if I can get hold of him.
 

temmie

Well-known member
Hi Andy,

for sure it's no direct evidence, but Han's recording was taken at a known stake-out at that time, and even though I don't know him personally, I consider his sightings to be reliable (he is not on my black list, if I would have one ;-) and I hope I am not on other's black lists :) .

I fear we won't have a recording on our own... And with the risk of being accused of taping: we did play the sound from time to time so we were really focused on that particular sound, after having had some false alarms (some birds / sounds are quite similar, but quite = not exactly like Malayan Whistling-thrush).

So there are two pitfalls:
1. Han's recording is / is not MWT; I reckon we can rule this out. I also still guess the recording of Blue Whistling Thrush on XC is not Blue; All blue I heard from everywhere else are lower-pitched. Maybe the Blue WT at Fraser's are higher pitched and thus indistuingishable? I have to check the paper by Blakewell tonight, in the assumption something is written about sounds of MWT and BWT.
2. Our bird is / is not the same as Han's recording: no recordings made at that time so we can only go by what we heard, and for us at that time we both independently recognised the sound as THE same sound as in Han's recording or in this case, MWT.
3. There is still the (unlikely) case that we heard MWT and my companion coincidentally saw a BWT hopping around :)
 

Dave Boyle

Well-known member
I think there's a bit of a misunderstanding here - Malaysian Whistling Thrush is still seen regularly at Frasers Hill, the gatehouse stake-out is well known, they were being seen regularly on the Telekom Loop at least to a couple of years ago & Dave Bakewell told me there's a site on the new road too.

They're not easy, I've been to Frasers Hill 3 times and probably spent about 12 dawns at the gatehouse & only seen it once, but heard it a few more times.

Also, Frasers Hill is not in the Cameron Highlands so you don't need to worry about the race of Blue Whistling Thrush there

Nice report Temmie - looks like a great trip!
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
I think there's a bit of a misunderstanding here - Malaysian Whistling Thrush is still seen regularly at Frasers Hill, the gatehouse stake-out is well known, they were being seen regularly on the Telekom Loop at least to a couple of years ago & Dave Bakewell told me there's a site on the new road too.

They're not easy, I've been to Frasers Hill 3 times and probably spent about 12 dawns at the gatehouse & only seen it once, but heard it a few more times.

Also, Frasers Hill is not in the Cameron Highlands so you don't need to worry about the race of Blue Whistling Thrush there

Nice report Temmie - looks like a great trip!

Really, with respect Dave, many reports of birds here are thought to have been erroneous, I certainly never saw it in a whole week of dawn attempts at a time when it was claimed regularly, later, I think claims were mainly thought to be unsafe?

I suppose my main point is that on such a view as claimed, I don't think a safe ID is realistically possible?

I'd still like an opinion as to whether you can separate Malayan an Blue on voice, I certainly can't?
 
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Dave Boyle

Well-known member
Not too sure to be honest with you Andy - there's plenty of records in ebird, some with photos but you're right, Blue Whistling Thrushes have been seen on the top of the hill as well but given a reasonable view it shouldn't really be too much of an issue
 

James Eaton

Trent Valley Crew
Malayan Whistling-thrush can still certainly be seen (occasionally) at the old stake-out by the top of the old road in the early morning. However, there is definitely Blue Whistling-thrush at exactly the same site (Dave Bakewell had excellent views here last year, while leading a group but Dave couldn't bring himself to say it wasn't anything other than Blue!).

I find them fine to separate given good views of the bill (see: http://digdeep1962.blogspot.com/2010/07/july-19-20th-2010-frasers-hill.html against dicrorhynchus http://digdeep1962.blogspot.com/2008/03/29th-february-cameron-highlands.html - note dicrorhynchus is different to other races of Blue Whistling-thrush - even Dave got that wrong despite his experience). I find the size of the bird extremely difficult to judge (what are you judging it against to compare size...).

It's a fascinating species, but extreme care should be taken to identify them. There was even an article about a pair breeding in a building in Birding Asia 2-3 years back, but they were actually Blue Whistling-thrushes - shame the article wasn't circulated better before publication!

James
 
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temmie

Well-known member
Thanks James.

Do you know if the recording (the only one!) of presumed Blue WT at Fraser's is really Blue and not Malayan?
presumed Blue (sounds like Malayan to me):https://www.xeno-canto.org/143279
'typical' Malayan: https://www.xeno-canto.org/175839

I would think Malayan is always higher pitched, but maybe the Blue WT at Fraser's are a bit different in sound as well?

note that I couldn't find any 100% Malayan (that is: someone who has both the bird photographed and sound-recorded), but I assume the sounds on XC are correct for Malayan.
 
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 Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
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