Maxwell Hill Montane escape

I have just come back from a birding trip up Maxwell Hill in the north of the state of Perak. Developed in 1880 Maxwell Hill is the first hill station in then British Malaya. It was built by the British as a cool escape from the sweltering heat of the tropical lowlands.  The drive up is and adventure in itself and worth every cent of the RM 6.00 ringgit I paid. We took the first schedule shuttle at 8 am. A state government operates this service and the vehicles of choice are the ever reliable Land Rovers. There are seventy five hairpin turns in very short successions covered in 40 minutes. What a ride! But you are rest assured in the knowledge that these drivers have been doing this for years and know every nook and cranny on the road.

The temperature drops about one degree every 100 meters and at the top it is about thirteen degrees cooler than at the base, a welcomed respite for an island boy. As I have been here before it was great to meet an old friend the Streaked-spiderhunter our first montane species one of three Spiderhunters you can find up this mountain. The great thing about birding up here are the bird waves, which is like standing still and an escalator full of birds go pass you sometimes as many as 7 different species at a time. Birds move in such cooperative waves because their moving along branches flushes insects out and as a group their chances of catching these insects are much improved. I spent two sessions birdwatching and was rewarded with 3 lifers.

Below are the birds I have seen on this trip.
1.    Speckled Piculet (lifer)
2.    Bushy-Crested Hornbill
3.    Wreathed Hornbill
4.    Red-Headed Trogon (glimpsed-heard)
5.    Indian Cuckoo
6.    Drongo Cuckoo
7.    Red-Bearded Bee-Eater (heard only)
8.    Glossy Swiftlet
9.    Little Cuckoo Dove
10.    Crested Serpent Eagle
11.    Blyth’s Hawk Eagle
12.    Orange-Bellied Leafbird
13.    Brown Shrike
14.    Grey-Chinned Minivet
15.    Ashy Minivet
16.    Lesser Racquet-Tailed Drongo (lifer)
17.    White-Browed Fantail
18.    Asian Paradise Flycatcher
19.    Mugimaki Flycatcher
20.    Rufous-Browed Flycatcher
21.    White-Rumped Shama (heard only)
22.    Blue Nuthatch (lifer)
23.    Black Crested Bulbul
24.    Mountain Bulbul
25.    Red-Eyed Bulbul
26.    Ochraceous Bulbul
27.    Artic Warbler
28.    Common Tailorbird
29.    Black Throated Tailorbird
30.    Chestnut-Backed Scimitar Babbler
31.    Golden Babbler
32.    Mountain Fulvetta
33.    Black-Throated Sunbird
34.    Streaked Spiderhunter
35.    Little Spiderhunter
36.    Grey Wagtail
37.    Red Junglefowl

Treecreeper ??? May have seen. It is not recorded here in Malaysia but in found in Myanmar (Burma). Could it be a vagrant?

Happy Birding
Irshad Mobarak

Pictures with thanks by Gerry Worth