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.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

South East of Kedah - Bukit Hujau and Sedim 13/6/2012

Part 1 - Bukit Hijau (Where birds accompanied by diverse flora n fauna)

I start my day by riding to east, to Kulim and Baling district in Kedah state. My target was to check at least 2 out of 4 waterfall areas present in both district.
It took me about an hour and half to reach Bukit Hijau waterfall which located at the feet of Gunung Inas, one of the mountain that build-up Bintang Hijau range - which is the nearest range to Penang State. Bukit Hijau is a beautiful waterfall that attracting a lot of people especially during weekend and public holiday. I choose to go by weekday hoping not many people went there and as I arrive there, only a few people present - 3 Forestry worker and a gang of school boy who playing truant.

The main sign (translated as: Gunung Inas forest reserve) was not well maintain

The rubbish seem outnumbered the rubbish bin present in the area even here which the sign told not to pollute the forest reserve.

Here, Crimson-winged woodpecker greet me at the waterfall gate - the path exist in the area lead to 3 places - the waterfall, an existing trail and to the chalet area.

I choose the forest trail first to search for bird and I found this:

A Black Crested Bulbul - a group of 5 birds singing loud in the trail entrance

Other species seen on the forest trail including Crimson Winged Woodpecker, Grey and Buff Woodpecker (lifer), Spotted fantail, Stripe-throated Bulbul, Black and White Bulbul, Hairy-backed Bulbul, Dusky Broadbill and Raffle's Malkoha.
The trail goes up far in the jungle, however remembering that I venture alone and the bad condition trail, I decide to go back and climb up the waterfall.

This curious puddle presence on the trail is the other reason pulling me back - a lot of wildboar sign around this.

I scan a ficus tree at the waterfall entrance and found a couple of Long-billed spiderhunter - a species that I'd miss, my second encounter after my undergraduate day.

Highest waterfall view from the top - There are Black Eagle, Rhinoceros Hornbill and Treeswifts in this area

The top most waterfall where I get another lifer for myself - a pair of White-tailed Flycatcher

Skink is abundant in this area, there are seen at almost covered place like this leftover plate

This place also good if you are fan of insect such as dragonfly and butterfly 

In term of flora, this waterfall is the best place to go for Bryophyte, Fungi and Fern. One of the intersting species is the Blue (cyanide) fern

Going down look much easier than going up is wrong for this waterfall trail, I had been force to stop by call of Scarlet Rumped Trogon and Gibbons call, beside that there are some frog and reptiles species to check. However, it is strongly recommended you go with a partner because there are sign of wild boar and elephant up here, there are also some welcoming footstep such as mousedeer, sambar deer and feline sp. canbe found along the way.

I went to the chalet track right after descending the waterfall and follow what I expected of old logging trail. I enjoy a presence of Blyth's Hawk Eagle thermalling and Rufescent Prinia. I stop at a fallen log to return back and took the Chalet path.

Along the path I was accompanied by this agile squirrel.

The Giant tree Squirrel (if I'm not mistaken) or Mempulas Besar in Malay is a pleasant mammal presence here, there is records of mammal sighting such as elephant, tapir, sun bear and gaur in this forest reserve.

This Bulbul - Red eye bulbul particularly busy charging other birds such as Blue-winged leafbird, great Iora, Cream vented Bulbul and flowerpeckers away from this fruiting tree.

Mouth to feed - The Red Eye Bulbul got two ravenous chick to be feed which keep them busy until noon.

Bulbul and other birds actions in tree at the chalet's lawn was the final show at Bukit Hijau recreational  forest as I realize the time was eleven, no time to waste - had to move to next target before it getting too hot to see any birds.

To be continue in the next post: Bukit Hijau and Sedim part 2 (Where had all the birds gone)

Sorry for the long post...hope you enjoy it

Ad/- Congratulation to England winning a dramatic match between Sweden early this morning (Most entertaining match so far)

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

2 June 2012 - pelagic off Tanjung Dawai

2 June 2012 - pelagic off Tanjung Dawai

I woke up on 4.30 in the morning and took all thing I had packed earlier and ride my bike to the small fishing town of Tanjung Dawai to join the fishing boat out to the sea.
As I arrived at the anchovy boat jetty, one of the crew allow me to park my motorbike inside the jetty building. Boarding the boat on 6.50, after a few chat and a good breakfast, the boat left the port at 7.00. Most of the crew expecting early return because the weather forecast expecting a thunderstorm today as the wind blown strong from north-west direction.
Most of the crews were not present today, most of them had wedding to attend, those included the captain, Haji Anuar and our 'bird guide' - Baharom, reducing the crew number from 30 to 20

View of the sunrise behind the Tanjung Dawai mosque

The sea was not so friendly today - the roughest trip I'd ever encounter in Tanjung Dawai, honestly it is not so choppy as Mersing/Seribuat archipelago sea, however it turn my head dizzy in first four hour of the voyage.

The pole - this is the point when you exit the estuary and enter the sea. This flocks of Common tern are the first bird seen today.

The wind and wave level rising up as the boat move to the middle of the sea - The captain in charge told me that this condition is common in June, he also expecting a storm today.
The first net was set up at 0910 - the catch is not so good as well as birds seen.

Fast ferry to Langkawi island from Penang - two trip daily

The fishing vessel move toward north-west direction, toward Pulau Payar as the first catch is not so motivating. As we move, the weather become more friendly to us and the number of bird seen decrease dramatically. Suddenly - (I don't know how I felt asleep, luckily all my gear secured in my bag) somebody scream 'Itik Ayer' (Shearwater) and I woke to join the crew and realise I'm not joining the person who shouting - so no shearwater today.
No more than 5 minutes the boat stop and the buzzer call - this time the captain had to wait for more than 10 minutes for the crews to get in action - I realize, not only me sleeping around, The time was 1255 - freaking hot with wind dying out.

Bridled Tern is the most seen species today

The Common Tern come in as the second most seen birds

The main attractant (in term of terns) today are 2 juvenile Sooty Tern - This large Onichoprion tern has a unique call of 'kerrk-kwerrk-kwarrk' 

The second catch is much better compare to the first catch. The crew are really motivated, after the catch they sing and eat their lunch happily and ready to go for the next catch.

Better second catch

After the second catch the boat move on, now Pulau Payar is clear in front of us, with the help of sonar system and few round of patrol, the buzz calling the crew for the third time of the day at 1600. With no time to waste, all the crews are well prepared this time to cast the net. The bird number and fish caught improved for the second time of the day.

Terns feeding close to the net - 2 Arctic Skua were seen far, try to marauding tern that stray far from the boat.

Juvenile Sooty Tern

Adult Common Tern

The catch is getting better, can u tell?

Better catch mean more scrap to be thrown out from the boat. Theorically, this will attract more boat and after 5 minutes left the fishing spot, I notice two swift-sized boat flying behind the boat in which behaviour I haven't seen in any swift. I observe the bird extend the leg and began to dancing on the sea water. I shout in my heart, 'Petrels'. I get my bins try to get the tail view - fish-tail shape, no white rump, thus considering that was my first Swinhoe's Storm Petrel and my first Petrel in Tanjung Dawai. 
Last but not least, my first turtle sighting in Tanjung Dawai and it is an Olive-Ridley Turtle.

We arriving Tanjung Dawai jetty at 1945, which me and all the crews were full of spirit. Hence, I still had a 60 km motorbike ride to my home, realizing I'm really enjoy my trip today.