The Essence of Bird Watching - 2018

What makes a birder to drive almost 400km from Penang to Malim Nawar just to record a pipit moulting, not once but a few times ? This is what we called "PASSION" ! pronounced as "Peh-See-Ion" if you may. What makes a person to drive on the opposite direction of the traffic? This is what we called "insanity" ! With passion, we can achieve many things in life. It is also the very essence of bird watching. I hope to continue this bird watching passion of mine as long as i can.

Based on my experience, i have noticed that you will gain more responses from bird photography rather than the narration of the bird plumage or identification but if we can achieve both goals - it will be so much better. 2018 has been an incredible year ! 9 lifers and some rare ones, i couldn't asked for more. Here are some additional photos of the birds taken through out the year.  

Greater Coucal

Got this bird at point blank range - just about 10 feet away. 


Not too far from the earlier bird, i got the above Greater Coucal. This one is larger. Could it be a female ?


Mountain Peacock-Pheasant (male)

Mountain Peacock-Pheasant

Watching these wild pheasants going about their business without fear was like going to Galapagos or the Antarctica to watch penguins walking casually around you. Occasionally the male would flap its wings which would startled the Ferruginous Partridge. Some lucky birders even saw their fledglings which certainly augers well for this rare birds. 

Ferruginous Partridge

Most partridges are illusive and shy and to see one in the open and walking right in front of you, its magical.

Mangrove Pitta

Mangrove Pittas are habitat restricted birds, meaning they are highly dependent on the habitat for food, shelter and to breed. Once the mangroves are gone so are these birds.

As i know, there were two of them but most of the time, one will appear while the other will be calling somewhere nearby. Some lucky birders have managed to see their fledglings. Somehow this bird knew exactly when to appear whenever human is present because i did not use any meal worms to draw them out. Sorry mate next time i will try to bring something for you. 


The way they moved around the mangrove its like watching a road runner (Geococcyx californianus). They would lower their head and then run quickly back for cover.

I believe a lot of illustrators out there will find it hard to replicate the exact green colors of these birds.


Forest Wagtail

The way it walks will surely make Cindy Crawford envy. This time i saw two of them.


With the help of photo technology i was able to differentiate them as pointed out by the markers in their photos.


White-breasted Waterhen

Sometimes common birds will look nice on photos too.


The same goes with this bulbul.
Stripped-throated Bulbul


Olive-Winged Bulbul

Here are some raptors seen lately.
Black Kite

Have you ever seen a smiling raptor before? This one does after spooking some house crows.



Raptors can be as beautiful and as intriguing as they are.
Changeable Hawk Eagle.

This was the first time i have seen this raptor with such body streaks.


Jungle Mynah

This mynah population is still quite stable up north of Peninsular Malaysia. Hopefully it won't be taken over by the marauding Javan Mynah.



Many people would like the sight of a shining gold color.
Blue-tailed Bee Eater


Oriental Magpie Robin

I have never seen them taking any fruits before. Most of the time they will hunt for insects.


Pacific Reef Ergret (Dark Morph)

This dimorphic egret can be found through out Australasia.

Here is a typical flying posture of this egret - yellow sole extending beyond tail and gliding just above the water with its neck coiled back.



Arctic Warbler versus Eastern Crowned Warbler

Although both of these warblers are from the "Old World" but their identification have continued to baffle many people especially if birders were trying to identify them from other leaf warblers. This time i was a bit lucky to see them both foraging high up on the canopy.

Arctic Warbler

The recognised subtle field marks for an Arctic Warbler would be the "white vent" and the appearance of a "dark spot" on the tip of its bill.


Eastern-crowned Warbler

As for the Eastern-crowned Warbler, the appearance of a tinge of yellow at its vent and the lack of dark tip on its bill are the identifiable field marks that you should be looking for.


Another distinguishable field mark which you should be looking at for an Eastern-Crowned Warbler is the coronal median stripe which unfortunately is not visible in the above photo. The other feature which i have learnt from the literature is that the color of the crown of an Eastern-Crowned Warbler is much darker than an Arctic Warbler.


Eastern-Crowned Warbler

In Science, we need to be bold and convincing in our answers !



We raised our children with the hope that one day they can be successful or least better than us. Should neither happened we should NOT blame them or ourselves. Its just that the people in power did not "noticed" them. The current government has proven themselves as good debt collectors but they should also compliment it with good salesmanship or promoters. We can't depend on certain revenue alone or recycle people wages (micro economy) to sustain or move forward the nation's economy.


Here is another rare bird which most likely can only be found in an undisturbed forest.
White-bellied woodpecker (male)

White-bellied Woodpecker (female)

The white on its body is not really white per se but its more like a creamy white as i have observed.


Red Turtle Dove - male (left) and female (right)


Hello ! Anybody home?

Actually there is a possibility that something is inside the hole as can be seen from the object held between its mandibles - a food pellet perhaps ? - see photo below.
The above bird is a Grey-Capped and not a Sunda as clearly shown from the color of its crown (see black arrow). It is also a female as it lacks the red patch on the side of its head.


At this time of the year (Nov to Dec) in this region, it would be quite difficult to identify the above heron.



Large Cuckooshrike




From the noticeable barrings in the above photos, this bird is most likely a female. It appears much bigger than a common rock pigeon.


Nature provides us with many spectacular scenes and sculptures like the ones below:
I could roughly figure out 3 human-like faces from the above rock formation. With a little more imagination you can perhaps find more.


According to a Chinese Taoist, the appearance of birds is a good sign especially the yellow ones !
If you are a believer this could be a sign from heaven. If he is Chinese, he will most likely be running to the nearest 4D shop. If you are a birder, could it be the rise of a phoenix perhaps?



History does not happen by itself. We create our own history !



Happy New Year 2019 and Happy Bird Watching ahead !

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