Fraser's Hill, Malaysia
The hill's alive with birdsong
There are about 300 known bird species of birds up in Fraser's Hill, Malaysia.
I've long heard about how easy it is to see these feathered creatures and finally on July 6-7, 2012, I was able to spend two days up there.
My local bird guide, Terence Ang, a knowledgeable man, commented that bird populations were thinner this time. That could be due to many reasons - not much rainfall, end of nesting season, etc. But no matter. For me, I saw about 20 types of birds on that trip, not a record, but decent sightings. (I saw more bird species in Khaoyai/Pakchong, Thailand - see earlier blog). And importantly, all except one, the Magpie Robin, were lifers.
Fraser's is in the state of Pahang, but the road up starts in Selangor. A piece of good news: there is now a road up and one that comes down. It used to be one road for up and down traffic and there were timing intervals to make either an up or down trip, the road being wide enough for only one vehicle.
Compared with the other hill resorts of Malaysia - Cameron Highlands, Bukit Tinggi - Fraser's is relatively quieter during the week day, which is great for birders. The scenery up there is gorgeous and you can see these photos on the Web. The air is fresh, cool, stench-free (unlike Cameron's), no swarms of flies and the little roads are in good condition. Vegetation looks rich and healthy and best of all, birds can be seen in every direction.
So here are the samplers:
1. Spectacled Laughingthrush (Garrulax erythrocephalus), below, formerly known as Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush. They are easily seen at places such as Bishop's Trail and Jelai Resort. They are quite used to human presence.
2. Large Niltava (Niltava grandis), below, adult male. It had just had its breakfast and was perching quite contentedly by the Bishop's Trail.
3. Large Niltava (juvenile), below, identified by the scale-like feathers on its breast. Seen at Bishop's Trail.
4. Red-headed Trogon (Harpactes erythrocepphalus), female, below, seen at Telekom Loop.
5. Javan Cuckooshrike (Coracina javensis), below, seen at Jelai Resort.
6. Orange-bellied Leafbird (Chloropsis hardwickii), below, seen at Jelai Resort.
7. Buff-breasted Babbler (Pellorneum tickelli), below. Seen outside Hemmant Trail.
8. Silver-eared Mesia (Leiothrix argentauris), below, moves in flocks. Seen at Jelai Resort.
9. Mountain Fulvetta (Alcippe peracensis), below.
10. Long-tailed Sebia (Heterophasia picaoides), front view, below.
Back view, below.
11. Fire-tufted Barbet (Psilogon pyrolophus), below.
12. Rufous-browed Flycatcher (Ficedula solitaria), below.
13. Streaked Spiderhunter (Arachnothera magna), below, seen at Jelai Resort and Silverpark Resort.
14. Blyth's Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus alboniger), below.