Easy Birding in Langkawi- Day 3

No bird trip is complete without taking the boat ride in Langkawi! We 3 musketeers (Indera, Riz and I), took on a boat trip which covered the renowned Kilim Park. We boarded our boat at the Kilim pier and quickly head off into the mangroves.  Whilst I was trying to stabalise my tripod (it’s my first time photographing on a boat!), Indera spotted a Black Capped Kingfisher! I have seen black capped kingfisher before, but never so close! The boatman was obviously a pro. He silently manouvered the boat to the
hungry bird (feasting on crab) and we were so close to it that I held my breath, fearing it would fly away!

Black capped Kingfisher with its breakfast!

As our boat moved along the river bank, we saw more dusky monkeys and mangrove pit vipers (yikes!!) hanging and dangling on trees. My fear for snakes was soon distracted when we spotted Common Kingfishers, Collared Kingfishers and then the endemic Brown Winged Kingfisher! Thank God for that!

Collared kingfisher at Kilim mangrove!

Brown winged kingfisher

As we make way to the raptors “feeding ground”, I saw a White Bellied Sea Eagle perching right in front of us. And as our boat swerved to a corner, I knew we’ve arrived at destination. There were other boats idling along the waterbanks… Several tour companies in Langkawi organise boat trips to this area to see Bhraminy Kites, White bellied Sea Eagles and other raptors; and to attract the raptors, chicken meat were thrown into the river (I personally do not agree to such acts, but for now, let’s set aside this sensitive topic!)

Obviously, both Riz and I were in awe. There were so many raptors- soaring in the sky, fishing in the water, and even roosting on trees! I quickly changed to my zoom lens 70-200mm, which turned out to be a good idea as the raptors were so close!

The majestic white bellied sea eagle!

Bhraminy Kite fishing!

White Bellied Sea Eagle!

It was truly an enjoyable boating birding experience. Here’s a pic of us on the boat!

The 3 musketeers!

For your information, the Kilim Park is one of the geoparks to be officially endorsed by UNESCO. Click here for more information.

Easy Birding in Langkawi- Day 2

Rise and Shine!! Today, my Malaysian friend- Riz, flew in from Kulua Lumpur to join me! We were met by Indera, whom I met on the previous night and was kind enough to take us to Gunung Raya. Before I came to Langkawi, I was told that this thick forest mountain, with dense tropical overgrowths is home to a variety of birds. So I guess this is a “must go” place for birders. As we start our elevation at 0730, the mountain was shrouded with mist. “Perhaps, I came at the wrong time?” I thought to myself. Indera seemed to have read my mind, “The clouds will soon be gone”, he said knowingly. And he was right. As soon as the mist starts to clear, bird calls soon came loud and clear and echoed in the mountain. Suddenly, there were birds flying in the sky, resting on branches and wires!  “Good grieve! Where should I begin?!?” I thought panickingly. While, Riz beckoned me to the branches full of Chestnut Headed Bee-Eaters; Indera was pointing at the flock of Great Hornbills flying, and I was eyeing on that Dollar Bird resting on the wire…

Dollar Bird!

A tree full of chestnut headed bee-eaters!

Great Hornbills! woohoo!

After we bagged a couple targets, we continued our elevation. While I was trying to make sense of what just happened, the car rolled to a halt.  “What is it?” I asked. “Viper on tree!” Indera exclaimed.  This is not good, I thought to myself ( my phobia sets in). While Indera and Riz were “engaged” in the reptile, Karim, our driver/birdwatcher spotted a raptor roosting on a tree. We quickly rushed to his position and luckily, all of us managed to get some shots before the raptor flew away. Indera quickly referred to his bird guide book. “Its a grey faced buzzard” he said in disbelief. It appeared that this raptor is a rare migrant seen on the island! Yay, to all of us!

Grey Faced Buzzard!

The mist starts to set in again, hence we decided to call it a day. As we made our descend, we saw this weird looking hornbill. According to Indera, that was a female wreathed hornbill! I was thrilled- my 3rd hornbill in just 2 days! What a lovely bird to end the morning trip!

Wreathed hornbill – looks evil to me~!

P.S. I have shared the wreathed hornbill with Guardian Post.

Easy Birding in Langkawi 浮罗交怡观鸟

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.

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Purple Swamphen came close to me!

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!

What a cute Dusky Monkey!

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!

Brown hawk owl! No flash was used!

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.

flying lemur with the babyclinging on!”