Friday, March 25, 2011

Fraser's Hill: Day 1 & 2

I know that there are loads of photos I took during my stay at home in Chiang Mai, but I just want to skip them and write about my recent trip to Malaysia instead. We, my dad and I and 2 other birder friends, Mam and Mark, flew from Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur on the morning of March 12. We arrived at the airport around 1 o'clock and were picked up by Mam's very good Malaysian friend, Mrs Mei Ling. She then drove us straight to our first birding place, Fraser's Hill in Pahang State, north of Kuala Lumpur. It took us about 3 hours to arrive at the entrance. We stayed at Fraser's Hill for 4 nights before moving on to Merapoh, our second place in the same state of Pahang. Above is the famous clock tower in the centre of Fraser's Hill. It is a must for any visitor to come and take photos with it.
Long-tailed Sibia (Heterophasia picaoides wrayi)
White-thighed Surili (Presbytis siamensis)
We arrived at Jelai Hotel, our accommodation, around 5pm. There was already a large group of Thai bird photographers shooting birds in front of the hotel before us. This group just came from Merapoh and they all told us that it rained everyday, so they had difficulty in shooting birds. The day we arrived was actually the first nice weather day. Unfortunately, they had to go back to Kuala Lumpur on the next morning. There were so many birds in front of the hotel, just like what I witnessed almost 10 years ago when I was here for the first time. The most abundant species was the Long-tailed Sibia (Heterophasia picaoides wrayi), a bird once common in northern Thailand, but has now become very scarce. Others included the recently split Spectacled Laughingthrush (Rhinocichla mitrata major), Silver-eared Mesia (Mesia argentauris tahanensis), Javan Cuckooshrike (Coracina javensis larutensis), and House Swallow (Hirundo tahitica abbotti). There were also 2 White-thighed Surilis or White-thighed Langur (Presbytis siamensis) feeding in the back of the hotel. Its scientific name is just so strange. Siamensis often refers to any species specifically found in Thailand, since Siam is another name for the country, but this species of langur is not found in Thailand, so that made me wonder how it got that name.

Spectacled Laughingthrush (Rhinocichla mitrata major)
Long-tailed Sibia (Heterophasia picaoides wrayi)
Silver-eared Mesia (Mesia argentauris tahanensis)
On the next morning, we woke up and found ourselves surrounded by all kinds of birds just in front of the hotel. The reason why so many birds come here is because of the moths that were drawn here by the hotel light. In early morning, birds are also attracted by these exhausted moths and other kinds of insects like cicadas. Recently, people began feeding the birds with meal worms and tiny bits of bread as well, which made the birds even more confide. There were just too many birds for us to nicely concentrate on. The highlights would be a pair of Black-And-Crimson Orioles (Oriolus cruentus malayanus), a Malayan Laughingthrush (Trochalopteron peninsulae) and an extremely tame pair of Little Pied Flycatchers (Ficedula westermanni westermanni). We spent time around the hotel until half past 10, then headed down to the so called New Road to try our luck for the hornbills at the fruiting fig tree.

Male Black-And-Crimson Orioles (Oriolus cruentus malayanus)

Here's the much drabber female

Malayan Laughingthrush (Trochalopteron peninsulae)

Some more Spectacled Laughingthrush
Blue-winged Siva (Siva cyanouroptera sordidior)
Long-tailed Sibia (Heterophasia picaoides wrayi)

Male Little Pied Flycatchers (Ficedula westermanni westermanni)

And a very tame female

A series of photos of the colourful Silver-eared Mesias (Mesia argentauris tahanensis) to finish this post. They're such delightful little birds that can easily make your day. I could spend my time following them all day trying to capture them in different poses. Male bird has distinct red vent and rump, which are replaced with yellow in the female. They are closely related to the equally colourful Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea) which I often photographed in Beppu.


Hawkeyes a.k.a Kiah said...


It seems like you enjoyed the stay at Fraser's Hill. I enjoyed reading your trip report and inspired me to visit Fraser's Hill soon.

Madibirder said...

I missed some of the species that you found at Jelai like the Malaysian LT, Little Pied FC and the BC Oriole. They are normally there early in the morning. Excellent images Ayuwat.

Peng said...

It's great that the Oriole found a rather good perch. I normally see it high up in a bare tree and it just appears all black. The Little Pied Flycatcher looks obliging too! And of course the Mesias are just so pretty it's hard for anyone not to like them. =) Good set of photos!

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

Thanks a lot everyone!
I'm so jealous that you all can easily visit both Fraser's Hill and Merapoh. These are such great birding places.

Phil said...

Fantastic pictures of extremely colourful birds. Looks like your new camera worked overtime. I'm going back now to look closer at all those pictures.

John said...

Great collection of photos... as soon as I saw the Long-tailed Sibias, I thought of Frasers Hill.

Stu said...

Great post, lots of birds I've never even heard of but what wonderful pictures........

Peng said...

Well we're jealous that you can easily visit Doi Angkhang and Doi Lang too. And not to mention you're living in Japan now also... ;)