Where’s the easiest place to bird in Malaysia? Langkawi, no doubt about it! Every Christmas, I would travel to get away from the noise and crowds in the big city…and having heard about how easy it is to bird in Langkawi, I decided to go for it!
Langkawi is actually a cluster of islands separated from the Mainland Malaysia. Public transport service in Langkawi is scarce, hence upon arrival, I rented a car…with no GPS (duh). With terrible driving skills, I slowly made my way to my hotel with a road map and managed to get to my hotel by the beach with ease. Once I checked in, I quickly hit the road again, hoping to see some birds before sunset. I was not disappointed.
Whilst I was on my way to the Andaman, I made a stop at the Ton Bon Resort. Located within a large marsh wetland, its not difficult to see ducks, the white throated kingfisher and the purple swamphen while drinking tea!
As I continued to drive along the North coast, I managed to see Brahminy Kites, White Bellied Sea Eagles hovering in the sky, some Baya Weavers feeding on fruiting trees and Collared Kingfisher and the Pacific Reef Egret by the Tanjung Rhu beach fishing! Beating for time, I hurried my way to the hotel which I have heard so much about! A hotel situated in the midst of a rainforest with wildlife at your doorstep, sounds just too good to be true!
Whilst waiting for my night nature tour to begin at the hotel, I nestled comfortably by the sofa enjoying the tranquil environment when I was “disturbed” by some movement of the trees. To my delight, there was a flock of dusky monkeys in full swing mode! Still astounded by their sudden appearances, a flock of Oriental Pied Hornbills flew in to join the fun! I quickly “slipped” out of my comfy mood, grabbed my camera and incredibily, an oriental pied hornbill came so close to me, that I had to stand back to take a decent shot of it!
Still grinning (my first ever hornbill!) my night tour guide finally met up with me. The Andaman Resort organises free night and morning nature treks for its guests, but luckily for me (not telling you why) I was able to join in free! I quickly gave Indera, the naturalist a challenge. “Any owls?” I said. Indera grinned. We started our walk from the back of the lobby entrance moving down to the back areas of the hotel which was lushed with flora and fauna. There were no street lights , but we had our torches on. Apart from hearing the calls from frogs and buzzing of mosquitoes, I couldnt hear any owl calls. I started to sink with disappointment, when Indera shoved me and whispered strongly “Owl! Brown hawk Owl!” I looked up, and there it was standing in the open!
As we continued our walk, we saw a couple of flying foxes and flying lemurs. It was truly an exciting and fruitful night… Alas, it was time for me to head back to my hotel which took me a staggering 2 hours ( I lost my way and ended up at the edge of a cliff). Well, let’s just call it a day.