Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pulau Melayu Oriental Pied Horn Bills Update No. 01

My Friend wish to be a contributor to this birdwatching blog specializing on the Pulau Melayu hornbills. The original story featured on March 21 in this blog.

He will give us updates of any development about these birds.

The first time Fuad managed to shoot the 4 hornbills (2 pairs) in one photo.

The one-eye female hornbill is on the far right. The 3 egg jars that he placed on the balcony can be seen on this picture. Hopefully they may choose to lay eggs on one of the jars.

One of the hornbills seems interested on what is happening in his house.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Birdwatching Curtin Lakes and Kuala Baram Sungai Tujuh Area

Birdwatching Curtin Lakes and Kuala Baram Sungai Tujuh Area
25th. Apr 2010
Time 7:150 am – 12:00 am
Dry warm morning.
Participant: Ronald Orenstein, Nazeri and Musa (writer)

Today's birdwatching locations

Our first stop was South East Curtin Lake. Immediately we were greeted by an Asian Koel far on the south east of us, not a few minutes later a Slender -billed Crow flew above us.

Five ducks flew away from us.

When we reached the lake there were already 2 recreational fishermen there, trying their luck with the tomans and haruans that lurk in the shallows. They too saw the ducks that were there in the morning and the five that flew as we came in. At the farther end of the lake several Common Moorhen were feeding quietly with scant care for the human presence across the lake.

The two bird watcher nearly engulfed by the tall Lallang

We moved further in towards the larger lake, there were plenty of Tri-colored Munia (Chestnut Munia/Black-headed Munia) flitting about the tall grass. We also noticed a few more ducks in the area, an additional five Wandering Whistling Duck joined the five we already saw earlier. The ducks flew and they circled around before moving towards the east lake. All around us we can hear Yellow-bellied Prinia, White-browed Crake and White-breasted Waterhen, these were well hidden by the tall grass.

Missed the waders

Across the big lake, well over yonder on the tops of the tall bare trees we saw 11 Oriental Darter warming their wings, the highest number of OD we've seen in this area so far.

There were two instances of Purple Heron flying high towards the East.

At 7:41 we are off to Curtin Lake. Along the way we saw Collared kingfisher perching on the electric wire. The gate this morning is not locked and we went in the area. The Curtin Lake is already dried up. Tall grasses have grown in place of the water. We saw a Black-winged kite perching above the dead tree branch overlooking the area. A Blue-throated Bee-eater flew passed our car. Another black-winged kite fly high in the sky. Two lesser coucals were seen across the road. We went out of the area and proceed to Singai Tujuh, prawn farm.
Along the way we saw 8 tricolour munia and the crippling of grass-bird were heard along the road.

We reached the toll at 8:11 am. As we cross the toll 2 pied trillers welcome us. Plenty of grass birds chipping song are around us. A dollar bird flew on our right. Few wood swallows are seen perching on the wire. More than 10 Blue-throated Bee-eater flying and perching on the wire. Their flying remind me of like little a fairies in movie.

Happy anglers with two barramundi

We go along the road. A few pied triller and collared kingfisher are seen. We stopped at the junction of the prawn farm and off load our equipment and walk toward the farm.

Wood sandpiper that miss his boat

As we entered the area we saw 5 Intermediate and few little Egrets were seen at the east side of our path. As I was walking slowly behind Ron and Nazeri, I stumbled close to a yellow bitten and it flew off to a small bush not far from me. I saw a collared kingfisher. A prina with young cat cries is at our right part of our track, but a physical body is not seen. As I come closer to the farm gate I saw 7 little egrets.

Negotiating the narrow plank path

There are few angler at the gate area. It seemed they have caught 2 small barramundi. One of them have got frustrated because his 100 meter line have just been flush out by a strong fish.

Unidentified animal track

We tried to enter east track but the track is not negotiable due to uneven ground and tall grass. We saw a little stint and wood sandpiper. So we go along into the small village track toward the Beach.

A white-bellied sea eagle chased by wood-swallow

As we enter the area we saw a striated heron flew out of the bush startled by our presence. We saw another yellow bitten and a pied triller in the casuarinas tree branches. A lesser coucal flew cautiously into a bush to the right of our track trying to avoid our presence.

Fiddler crabs playing their symphony.

We passed few wooden house and came to a narrow plank walkway. The narrow plank walkway seemed it cannot sustain our weight and we decide to go one person per section. We finally reach the beach. We walk along the beach toward the prawn farm area. There we saw a single great egret hunting small fish at the river mouth.

A close encounter

We decided to back track toward the plank walk. We saw an animal track; we cannot identify positively what animal is this. The area is grown with 4 feet high grass. In a flash we saw a common Sand-martin flying crisscrossing us.

Then we saw a White-bellied Sea-eagle flying high in the East. It flew high circling trying to avoid the wood swallow that persistently chasing it away. The wood-swallow trying to keep the eagle away from it nest.

On our way back I saw a fiddler crap area. It been quite sometime I did not see them. The last I saw them in Miri river when I was young. Then it was while waiting for ferry to take us across river to the General Hospital there. Their synchronised swinging of their pincer always fascinated me. It seemed that they are swing their pincer with an audible musical.

The heat is unbearable and we went to a small kampong small coffee shop. While having coffee we saw a magpie robin and few house sparrow.

We went off to old Kuala Baram ferry landing. There we saw a little egret, we came close to it and took some photograph. We went toward the Marine School area. We passed a school field and saw two cattle egrets. On our way back we saw few spotted dove and Dusky munia. The marine school area look abandoned and empty.

We finished our bird watching session at 11:45am.

Bird List:

Asian Koel 1
White-breasted Woodswallow 2
Oriental Magpie-robin 2
Yellow-vented bulbul 2
Slender-billed Crow 1
Tricoloured Munia 12
Wandering Whistling-duck 11
Common Moorhen 2
Oriental Darter 11
Purple heron 4
Collared Kingfisher 6
Black-winged kite 3
Blue-throated Bee-eater 15
Little egret 1
Lesser coucal 4
Striated Grassbird 5
Pied triller 6
Intermediate egret 6
Yellow bittern 3
Unid stint 1
Common sandpiper 1
Straited heron 2
Common sand martin 2
White-bellied sea eagle 1
Cattle egret 4
Spotted dove 7
Dusky munia 5
House sparrow 3

Musa Musbah/ MNS Miri/ April 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bornean Bristleheads in Lambir Hills National Park

2009 IUCN Red List Near Threatened Bornean Bristlehead Pityriasis gymnocephala at Lambir Hills National Park, latest sighting by Sara and Peter 0930hrs 02nd April 2010. This unusual species is likely to be declining moderately rapidly throughout much of its range as a result of forest loss and degradation. It is currently considered Near Threatened, and should be carefully monitored (Birdlife International 2009).

News from Sara after her trek at one of the trails in Lambir Hills National Park:

"This morning (2nd ) Peter and I hiked to Oil Well in Lambir Hills. At the Oil Well junction (on the Lepoh-Ridan Trail), at approximately 9:30am, we saw a group of 3 (possibly more) Bornean Bristleheads feeding in the trees right above us. At one point, one of them was only about 6 - 8m above me (see pic). They were flitting from tree to tree, branches to branches but didn't make a lot of noise.

There were also presence of other birds as well as squirrels including the Olive-backed Woodpecker running up a tree trunk. The trees here must be fruiting. We couldn't id the other birds and squirrels as I didn't bring bino and also we were busy looking out for the bristleheads.
Incidentally this was the place where I heard the Borneon Gibbon's song the other day about 2 weeks together with the trail maintenance team also at approx 9:30am, but today we didn't hear any.

All along the Oil Well trail, we heard Black Hornbills, Hill Mynas and wood knocking sound made by woodpeckers, plus many other bird songs which we couldn't ID. We did see some birds in the mid-storey and even on the ground, but too far to id them with our naked eyes.

We plan to go back to the same area tomorrow and try our luck again."

Similajau NP counted Bornean Bristlehead as part of it's birdlists (1986, 1995)), however there have not been any reported sightings there of late.

More on Bornean Bristlehead.