Friday, 22 November 2013

Gunung Gagau

Gunung Gagau (1360m a.s.l) located in between 3 states (Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu) in east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. To topple up this mountain by land, one must hike from Sungai Cicir which is located within Taman Negara Terengganu. The hike usually take 2 to 3 days (up and down) for normal people. For those who going up this mountain for other purpose may take longer route as it got a lot to offer.

A stream flowing to the main river - be warned, the water after 'Kem A' is brick-red colored to the top

The hiking from Taman Negara Terengganu (the most cosy yet most challenging) starting from Sungai Cicir to the mountain top will take you about 15 km to the top. There are two campsite along the way - the first one is Kem A usually known as Kem Sungai Pakchau - at elevation of 315m (asl),  following by Kem Cicir B situated at 690 (a.s.l) - from here, the water turn red all the way to the top and you'll find no fish at all in the stream.

The skyview at Kem Cicir B - I was suprised to saw a Grey-headed fish eagle cross the sky - the obstruction is not so dense, at least 4 hornbill species is a must, I had recorded banded pitta 

The stone marking the boundary of three states at 1180

The top of Gunung Gagau

In terms of birds, the first hike from starting point to Kem A relatively dead, once in a while birds like paradise flycatcher, cream vented bulbul and blue flycatcher would appear crossing the trails, Great Argus call is common and at before noon, in a clear spot, crested serpent eagle and fish-eagle usually appeared.
At Kem A, some highlighted bird are including Garnet pitta, blue wing leafnird and white crowned forktail.
At Kem B, changes in elevation doesn't translated well for bird species, but the clear view to spot a foraging bird will be better. Montane species appear at elevation of 1000m (asl) upward, where species such as mountain warbler, lesser-racquet tail drongo and mountain bulbul appeared.

one of those

Basically the humidity above 800m in this mountain is high and sometime fog can be thick especially during the rain. It is wise to bring along anything essential to keep the gear dry. The best time in the year to visit this area is during April to June, when rain is less likely spoil your trip. Late october and early november might be the best time to visit this site for migrating season period.

foggy - 1023a.m

Monday, 5 August 2013

Of Openbill invasion and season changes...

Somewhere in the world known as Kampung Permatang Nibong, Permatang Pauh in Mainland Penang known as Province Wellesley during the day the great-grandfather serve as translator to Cheeseman....

The harvesting season had just begin

This year, it seem that the harvesting season in Permatang Pauh paddyfield begin in early August, and the season will last until early September - just ideal for paddy harvester chaser migrant such as herons and raptor - but I don't expect much Aquila's this year as it happen to be a late migrant.

muddy patch within paddy plot attract wader

After harvest, the remaining paddy straw will be burn down before the first plough - the gap within the burning process to the first plough is the best time to see 'in-land' wader, rail, crake and quail, the latter is the uncommon resident. After both burning and first plough, the paddy plot will turn out to be large mud field - during this time, some wader that use to feed in the coastal area such as golden plover, curlew sandpiper and in uncommon event small group of greenshank do visit this area when hightide.

Recently, huge flocks of Openbill had been seen in numerous location in west coast of Peninsular Malaysia - Most of the location where this bird had been seen share a same trait, most of them are paddyfield or wet plantation.

The so called new Openbill roost - this site - the mango tree island should be known for those familiar with Permatang Nibong - Kubang Semang - Permatang Pauh paddyfield complex

The first Openbill I saw after 2 years...

Although this paddyfield complex is the location where this species sighted in a number more than one, the number of openbill encounter during the dusk before this photo taken just 11 and I count about 16 in the morning. The 'new comer' bird use to be more curious and well aware on human presence - they took off in a range about 50m. The Openbill visiting this area in 2010/2011use to be more timid and approachable in distance about 15-20m.

The lazy flock - maybe these three stork is the last to left the roost


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Of Taman Negara and....

Pengkalan Gawi
To enter Taman Negara Terengganu - One must drop by here to take the boat.

Taman Negara Terengganu situated within Hulu Terengganu district in the state of Terengganu, north-east Peninsular Malaysia. Boat ride from Pengkalan Gawi take about 45 minute to reach Taman Negara Terengganu. The Taman Negara area had been 'fotress' by lake that build in 1985 for the usage to generate electricity - the main electricity supply for Peninsular Malaysia.

Bewah and Taat - two main limestone hill within Taman Negara Terenggan, common view within Taman Negara Terengganu.

The office - this is the last form of human civilization, just outside the Taman Negara - however u don't expect to get any phone coverage here

Chitala sp., and other fish species such as Hampala macrolepidota, Channa micropeltes, Mystus sp., are still widespread to attract anglers from all over peninsular to come for their holiday trip. 

Fish eagle - can be seen anywhere in Tasik Kenyir area - especially within Taman Negara

In term of birdlife, Taman Negara is the places for hornbills - Great, Rhinoceros, Black, Oriental Pied, Bushy Crested, Helmeted, Wreathed, Wrinkled and White Crowned all within this Park, the foremost is the commoner whilst the later is rarer. In term of raptors, Itchyophaga eagles are common to the area close to the lake - whilst toward upstream, crested serpent eagle is the commoner raptor compare to other spizaetus eagles and crested goshawk. Black Eagle, Bat Hawk and Oriental Honey buzzard are extremely rare except for the later species, the migrating race can be seen in a group of less than 10. During migration season, Osprey can be seen in uncommon event.

I believe this bulbul is not so common nowaday...

To get here from Kuala Lumpur:
By Bus: Tasik Kenyir ekspres offer daily trip from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Berang (RM38) but I suggest visitor to take Sani Express or S.P Bumi Express (RM38) to Kuala Terengganu. Taxi service from Kuala Terengganu to Pengkalan Gawi available at RM50 - RM60.
By flight: Air Asia offer daily flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu. Taxi service to Kuala Berang/Pengkalan Gawi available but no way cheaper than Kuala Terengganu bus station.

Monday, 14 January 2013

A little set back for a new come back.....

It's been a long time since I post something on this blog, since I got a new job doing research on tiger.... in some very remote place in Malaysia, this job bring me more opportunity to do birding but constraints had hold things up to publish something on this blog.....

Sungai Cacing - one of the famous river present in Taman Negara Terengganu

My current ground, Taman Negara Terengganu located in a north-east part of Malaysia which is claimed to be one of the most remote area in Peninsular Malaysia, with the largest man-made lake bound to the area - this is the heaven for fishermen and nature-lover. This protected area consist mostly of elevated land and conducting the wildlife study - especially large mammals is not an easy task.

One of the tiger pugmark recorded in the study area

Historically, in 1954 an English officer who in charge to administrate Southern part of Terengganu State named Locke (tiger is one of his interest) claimed that Terengganu State as 'Tiger infested land' but today, to find this pugmark take a great deal, sometimes in a solid 7 days of field work we cannot locate any tiger sign.

In term of avifauna, This area is really good for Hornbills which I had recorded 7 species of hornbills. In term  of raptor, I had record a total of 5 fish eagle nest in this area. Fish eagle is common in this area, the sightings of this species is a daily must but still can't find 'rare' raptor such as bat-hawk however.

A poor Crested-tree swift rescued from the river

Grey-headed Fish Eagle captured in close proximity

Conducting this study, we have to move on foot and I sometime think that I should change my blog name from birding on bike to birding on foot. As I have to focus my study on tiger, this will not erased my main interest to birds...

For now, more stuff to come this year hopefully....

Friday, 20 July 2012

The East-West Highway

The East-West Highway 16 July 2012

In northern part of Peninsular Malaysia, the road connecting West coast and East coast is famous for the sighting of elephant - Me myself had saw the largest mammals in Malaysian forest three time where all sightings occur at the East-West highway. Crossing two main range in north - The Bintang Hijau range and Titiwangsa range, this highway offer good spot for birding as well.

No large mammals were seen during this round of visit, a slow ride will offer good chance to see something, however, most of time - the roadkill. Like this female palm civet:

Freshly Hit - we move the body before we move hoping that no other vehicle hit the body, it got severe injuries on backbone.

The civet in full body view

This road connecting people of the east and west, but it can be a hell to wildlife live in the forest along the road, this palm civet one of example. I had seen the collection of photo from wildlife conservation that operating in Jeli (East end of the highway) show roadkill involving Tapir, Clouded leopard, leopard cat, wild boar, langurs and slow loris.  They should create a wildlife crossing at several point in this road.

In terms of bird, some spot along this highway are good places to go for Hornbills and jungle dwelling raptors especially in Bukit Palong. My favourite spot located in the half way from Pulau Banding to Pergau  Dam (still not  disturbed by logging activities and has a nice small stream).

Wreathed Hornbill - a couple seen flying over

Chestnut-capped Forktail - usually seen foraging at the small stream

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher - few couples seen foraging inside bamboo bush next to the stream

Other bird seen during this visit including Black-Crested Bulbul, Scimitar Babbler, Blue Whistling Thrush, Green Broadbill, Blue throated Barbet, Blyth's Hawk Eagle and Maroon woodpecker. With safety is the main priority in doing the assigned job, I only wish I had more time to spend on birding - time limitation as we need to conduct some site maintainance job as well.

The pathway to working site before and after

My partner testing the safety rope that we apply at some steep point at our working site.

Finally some shot of other wildlife we seen along our way:

Wasp humming their nest - This wasp has nasty sting - we don't want to get hurt so we left the plant it inhabit untouched, this wasp as well were not so offensive to us while we done the clearing job.

Reptiles which I suspect as immature skink 

Channa sp., at the pond of near Kuala Rui

Well, It's gonna be long before I had the chance to re-visit this place in the future. However, the new job opportunity awaiting me is a promising one - working in an area where human and their civilization considered rare and will leave my hometown for a while

Friday, 6 July 2012

part time job -Best perk ever

I've got a new part time job which need me to visit an area just above the east-west highway (site located less than 10 km to Pergau dam. The consultant company and the university (which I'll be continuing my study in near future) had attach some device at the slope on the hill just above the highway in order to detect any land movement. My job is to take the reading.

I had to measure the distance between this poles

The view on the top of tunnel

Crested serpent Eagle - There are Black Eagle and Crested Honey Buzzard too seen at this site. Hopefully more to be seen in my next visit

My motorbike does not betray me for this long journey (450km return).

Well, I'll come to this site once in a two week (I only wish that I can came more frequent and got some place to stay)

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Part 2 - Sedim...the silent waterfall

Part 2.

I ride my motorbike South following the flow of Bintang Hijau Range. Along the 16 KM ride to neighbouring recreational forest, Sungai Sedim, there are lot of village with interesting name such as Kampung Badang and Padang Belon. Pleasant sight of green rubber farm and orchard along my ride was obstructed bty some ugly looking cleared forest (New Palm oil or rubber plantation - Village folk told me).

I stop twice along my way, first is to buy a drink from a grocery shop and second for this:

A strong looking male goat - they had build a nice goat farm near Sungai Sedim that sold all goat product such as mutton, milk and skin. They also sell life goat.

As I arrived at Sedim recreational forest, I choose the existing trail blow the canopy walk (no one at the entrance and it was locked). At the entrance there are a lot of this palm tree present:

Toddy palm or 'nau' in Malay. The fruit from this palm is edible and if you eat 'Ais kacang' (shaved ice) in Malaysia or Thailand, most likely you had eat this palm fruit.

I walk on the trail until the path along the stream covered up by rattans. The sharpest rattan I ever had but the torns are loosely arranged. Not much action from birds except red-crowned barbet, green iora, chestnut-capped forktail and Raffle's Malkoha.

There are a lot of this kind of tree (green pigeon's nest shorea), but only a couple of Thick-billed Green Pigeon seen along the trail.

My attention on birding was distracted by other wildlife - the butterflies. There are lot of butterfly flying freely at the recreational area (just below the bridge)

Birdwing sp. build up most of the party

A refreshing look butterfly

the pale green

The odd one

All in a frame

...for this post...Cheers.