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A Birding Trip to Awana - June 2016

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This customised day trip was intended to see as many bird species as possible within a day at this important hill station for bird life. A total of 26 species were seen and heard which included a diverse spread of common lowland sundaic birds as well as some much sort after mega specialities such as Red-Headed Trogon, Golden Babbler, and Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo. The journey along the Karak highway was nothing spectacular except for a flyby Creasted Serpent Eagle. 
The trip up to the hill station was accompanied by a symphony of chorus from Striped-Tit babbler, Grey-Throated babbler as well as some tailor birds. An obliging Oriental Magpie Robin was also seen hopping along the roadside. Reaching the site at about 8.15am. i have probably missed some early/nocturnal birds such as Collared Owlet and Slaty-backed Forktail which have been seen here before. This little set back was later compensated by a few bird waves that came soon after. Here are some of their photos: 

A common barbet whic…

Birding in Merbok, June 2017

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Merbok is a small sleepy town located in a Northern state of Peninsular Malaysia. It was believed that the place was once a site of an ancient civilization or trade centre where its archaeological sites/ruins can be seen just from the roadside. I was there not as "Indiana Jones" but more for the birds which can be seen/found in the area especially the Mangrove Pitta. Here are some of the birds which i have seen although the Mangrove Pitta had decided to stay hidden. 

Jungle Myna are common in the Northern states of Peninsular Malaysia especially from Penang upwards. They can be found mostly around plantation areas, jungle edges and interior villages. There were some discussions out there as to why most photos don't show the bluish base at their bill as described by some field guides. I have actually seen Jungle Myna with their bluish bill base but unfortunately it was in a pet shop. Could the bluish color only appear during courtship, or when they are afraid or perhaps …

Gonocephalus robinsonii (Robinson Anglehead Lizard) - 2017

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While looking for birds, i stumble upon this lizard which looks a bit like a baby dino. This is one reptile which would certainly make 'cicak man' proud because it may one day be described as one of those species of lizard which can only be found in Peninsular Malaysia. According to a review from Denzer et. al (2015) they believe that the species found in the highlands of  Peninsular Malaysia is different than other recognised species in the genus Gonocephalus. Based on chromosomal (i.e karyotyping) and molecular (i.e molecular phylogenetics using 16SrRNA sequencing) investigations, Denzer et. al (2015) have named the "new" genus as "Malayodracon robinsonii" !
However like all results from natural sciences, this finding is subject to comments and critique. Raymond T Hoser (2016) in the Australasian Journal of Herpetology (1 August 2016), had refuted the above findings not so much on its methodology but more on ethical issues. Using the International Code o…