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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Panaga and KB road, 19-01

A quick recap of my weekend's birding and photography attempts. I'll start with this morning when I went for a short trip to KB road. With great weather, the whole morning was a little slow going. There was definitely a lot of activity, most of it was however well outside the reach of my bins and camera. I assumed the loud crashing sounds coming from the ditch were announcing a bearded pig and I cautiously moved back a little. I was quite surprised to see this little fellow pop up from the long grass, as the cause of all the ruckus.
Yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula ssp. saba).
The looks are a little deceiving. While the yellow-throated marten scores high on cuteness, this is a ferocious little carnivore. These animals are widespread in Asia, the martens in Borneo are a separate subspecies: Martes flavigula ssp. saba.
Yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula ssp. saba).
Yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula ssp. saba).
I am very happy with these shots. For a first time encounter you can't ask for any better posing!

The rest of the morning was uneventful. A rufous-bellied hawk eagle was noteworthy, unfortunately it was a little too distant for anything better than some simple record shots.
Rufous-bellied hawk eagle (Lophotriorchis kienerii).
Surprisingly, on my way back I again saw two red-billed malkohas. After not having encountered these birds on the KB road for 2 years, they are now rapidly establishing themselves as one of the regulars!

A second trip with my camera was yesterday evening, when Kolbjorn and I went for a short night drive along the Panaga coastal road "hunting" for owls and nightjars. The grassland just behind the beach is a good spot for nightjars and we saw at least 6 different individuals (the 6th sitting in the middle of the road on our way back). We were secretly hoping for some more exotic species than large-tailed's but not this night. Below 3 different birds:
Large-tailed nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus).
Large-tailed nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus).
Large-tailed nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus).
Not bad at all for a quick drive down the road! Planning for another night drive to KB road this week.    More on that later.

Folkert, 20/01/2013 

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Panaga garden chases

This week I had two good garden chases. The first one was Wednesday night when Axel texted to say that he had some owls in his garden. Even though I was already in bed, I clearly couldn't let this opportunity slip. So 5 minutes later I was in Axel's garden and my wife was on facebook to let her friends know her husband lost it again...

We initially had some trouble locating the birds, but the soft screeches of the owlets could soon be heard in the neighboring garden. Our scramble through the bushes was rewarded with excellent views of two young sunda scops owls.
Juvenile Sunda scops owl (Otus lempiji).
These scops owls are the most common owls in the Panaga, though that doesn't mean they're that often encountered.

A second noteworthy garden scramble was this morning when I heard the loud call of a crimson-winged woodpecker. I quickly picked up my camera and with a bit of luck and some tenacity I managed to locate two birds a couple of gardens down the road. Even better, they didn't seem that bothered by my presence, though I can't say the same for the ants and mosquitoes...
Male crimson-winged woodpecker (Picus puniceus).
These woodpeckers are an uncommon encounter in the Panaga gardens. The male and the female can be separated by the red cheek patch, which is only sported by the male.
Female crimson-winged woodpecker (Picus puniceus).
Sometimes all the good stuff is just a step from your front door!

Folkert, 12/01/2013

Monday, 7 January 2013

Happy new year!

A quick post on some of the egrets and herons I have recently seen. And for good measure I'll throw in a pic of a snake as well. End of last year we had a brief holiday in KK (see also previous post) and I spend one morning along the waterfront at Prince Philip's park. The first birds I saw were some whimbrels. One of the birds had only one leg left, but seemed to manage quite well.
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus).
I was aiming for some good pictures of the local specialties; blue-naped parrots and crested myna's. Both these birds were easily spotted, but the pacific and chinese egret's along the coast-line drew must of my attention. Here is the myna:
Crested myna (Acridotheres cristatellus).
And the pacific reef egret:
Pacific reef-egret (Egretta Sacra).
The star of the morning was however the chinese egret.
Chinese egret (Egretta eulophotes).
This bird was quite undisturbed by my presence and even approached me rather then the other way around. Here it is flying along the coastline.
Chinese egret (Egretta eulophotes).
Today most people were back in the office. One of my colleagues, Axel, informed that he had seen a Malaysian night heron yesterday. This was the second sighting as some other friends had probably seen one in their garden a fortnight ago. After my failed attempts to locate that heron, I had a lot more luck this time. The night heron was still at the same patch were it was seen by Axel yesterday! Big thanks to Axel for showing me!

I quickly drove back to get my camera and got a couple of shots before the bird disappeared in the undergrowth when some passersby approached this weird looking guy (me) to ask what I was looking at. It is definitely also true that you don't see a foreign expat lying in the grass next to the road in his office attire everyday... I'll try to go back again tomorrow afternoon to get some better shots.
Malaysian night heron (Gorsachius melanolophus).
The final picture of today is this Malaysian Brown Snake that I nearly turned into road kill yesterday. Luckily I noticed it just in time - and the snake seemed grateful enough to allow me some close-ups.
Malaysian brown snake (Xenelaphis hexagonotus).
Happy new year!

Folkert, 07/01/2013