By Tan Choo Eng
I met Franz and Melita at Penang Airport on their arrival and we immediately went to Penang Botanical Gardens for some afternoon birding. The best bird of the day spotted here is Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher.
The next morning we make our way to Birding at Sedim Tree-Top Walk. There was a fruiting tree visited by all species of lowland Barbets and a Mugimaki flycatcher. Banded Kingfisher were heard but did not managed to see it at the Tree-Top Walk. They missed a flying Bat Hawk but had good views of the flying Blue-Banded Kingfisher.
We had a good lunch with at Kemunting Lakeview Restaurant and entertained by a Green-billed Malkoha. On the way to nearby Ulu Paip Forest Reserve we spotted 3 Greater Coucals. By late afternoon we reached Mahang-Selama route to Taiping and make a stop at the Pond Tanjong Peat Swamp. Here we spotted 10 Little Green Pigeons and heard Great Argus well. We arrived Taiping Golf Resort by late evening.
The next morning, we were looking forward to the Maxwell Hill trip; unfortunately because of a fallen tree the Jeep service was cancelled and we continued on birding on foot. We hike all the way till the Rose Garden (mid-level) and reach there by mid-afternoon just in time for a bird wave including Scaly-Breasted Bubul and Yellow-rumped Flycatcher. The Forktail was heard but not seen. We spotted 4 raptors high up in the sky that we later identified as the Crested Goshawk – sub-adult, Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle, followed by the Rufous-bellied Eagle and Crested Serpent Eagle.
By noon we reach the nearby Hawker centre for lunch with a bottle of Royal Stout. There after we had a laid back birding from the car around the foothills and Taiping Lake area. We spotted a pair of perching Black-thighed Falconet whilst observing them, a magnificent pair of Rhinoceros Hornbill which was a lifer for Franz came to view as well.
We made our way to Bukit Merah Lake and along the way we spotted Pink-necked Pigeons, Lesser Whistling Ducks, Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, Osprey that was perched a bit far and a Changeable Hawk Eagle dark morph perched near its nest.
The next morning we head to Kamunting wetlands and was rewarded with a single Cotton Pgmy-Goose , Lesser Whistling Duck, Egrets, Brahminy Kites, Serpent Eagles and some Oriental Pratincoles.
Whilst driving up Fraser’s Hill late afternoon, we saw a Pale morph Changeable Hawk-Eagle, a pair of Malayan or Javan Cuckoo-Shrike, Flocks of Long-tailed Sibia, Silver-eared Mesiaand the Sultan Tits. My part ended here and we say our farewell. Overall it has been a rewarding birding for us all.