Saturday, December 3, 2011
Malaysia, Oct 2011
We made several trips beyond the lap of luxury during the week, two of which were to the Botanical Gardens, and one to Penang National Park. The Botanical Gardens are located at the foot of the forested hills which still thankfully dominate the island, and are a semi-landscaped, semi-wild expanse of parkland and woodland bisected by a winding river.
They grade seamlessly into the steep, almost impenetrable foothills, and as such are effectively quality forest edge / secondary growth habitat from an avian perspective.
female Copper-throated Sunbird
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
And despite its popularity with locals, it was productive, easy to cover, and easy to find relatively undisturbed areas where predictably the most action was centred. Highlights included Asian Fairy Bluebirds, Pink-necked Green Pigeons, Forest Wagtails and Crimson Sunbirds, as well as a broad range of common species (and, of course, plenty of monkey activity).
The National Park, meanwhile - a 15 minute cab ride to the north-west point of the island - was overall hard work; that is, until we were leaving, when a mixed feeding flock appeared at a wooded stream, and kept me more than happy for a good 45 minutes before they moved on.
Highlights here included Copper-throated (as well as Crimson, Olive-backed and Brown-throated) Sunbirds, a Dark-necked Tailorbird, male and female Orange-bellied Flowerpeckers, two Cream-vented Bulbuls, a Tiger Shrike, and a scattering of Arctic Warblers and Asian Brown Flycatchers. A very tasty haul, including several lifers.
House Crow, Crested Myna, Asian Fairy Bluebird
Peaceful Dove, Yellow-vented Bulbul, male Brown-throated Sunbird