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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Taman Negara and Fraser’s Hill, peninsular Malaysia, 20 April - 1 May 2007,
Includes recent info on where to find Marbled Wren-babbler
From April 20 until May 1, 2007, I made a short trip to peninsular Malaysia, aiming at two most-wanted lifers (Malaysian Rail-babbler and Marbled Wren-babbler). I’m sorry to say that I only heard both (sev times, and close-by, making matters worse) but apart from that I had an enjoyable trip with 43 lifers. This was my 11th trip to E Asia (away from the Middle East) and I was hoping to connect with some goodies previously missed, especially babblers (my favourites), hornbills (failed in that respect) and pheasants (saw three lifers, not bad). The trip was booked few days in advance so I got most of my info from the internet (through www.travellingbirder.com) and from Diederik Kok, who had visited both Fraser’s Hill (hereafter FH) and Taman Negara (hereafter TN) two weeks earlier and who saw both my targets! Thanks Diederik for your hints and maps and thanks James Eaton for your hospitality in Kuala Lumpur!!
Some recent remarks on, mainly, Taman Negara.
1. At KLIA (Kuala Lumpur international airport) arrival hall a fixed price taxi ticket can be bought to Fraser’s Hill (hereafter FH) for ca € 40 and about 2 hrs later you’re at The Gap (or FH in 3 hrs). First find the ATM in baggage reclaim (along with two exchange offices), then customs, then the airport taxi counter (get your ticket here), then security and finally a second ATM. Inofficial (cheaper?) taxis are offered once in the arrival hall, but one cannot return to the fixed price taxi counter.
2. I stayed at the spacious and quiet Gap Resthouse and did my birding on foot: up the old road, that starts a few 100 ms down the road, for about 5 kms one day; and up the old road, walking Hemmant and Bishop’s Trails on top, and down the new road the next.
3. The site where I heard (and Diederik saw) Marbled Wren-babbler (hereafter MWB) is a gully about 3 km up the old road. First one passes some bends in the road full of tall bamboo (try for Bamboo Woodpecker, Red-bearded Bee-eater and White-hooded Babbler) and then a trail branches (left) off the road, which is signposted by a large sign. This trail is apparently good for Ferruginous Partridge. The MWB gully is found ca 400m past this trail and is indicated by two blocks of black-and-white on the left, and one such block on the right hand side. A large triangular-shaped block is found past the left-hand two, while yellow reflector signs are found on either side of the right-hand block. The gully going up on the right hand side is the right spot. When taping their song, MWB come in quietly and usually take about 15-20 mins to do so. The gully can be entered but only for about 10m before the climb becomes too steep and muddy - take leech socks if you do go in.
4. George Wagner, whom I incidentally met at FH, saw MWB a day after I left, at 10 a.m. at the gully just above the km 1 marker on the old road, between telephone posts #172 and 173. The GPS coordinates of this gully are 03 deg 41.556' N / 101 deg 44.679' E. It started responding to random taping 10 mins after George played its sound. In this spine-filled gully George also saw a Chestnut-naped Forktail, with a Rusty-naped Pitta on Bishop’s Trail after 3 hrs of trying, and Malayan Whistling-Thrush at the FH waterfalls at dawn.
5. Local FH taxi driver Samy can take you from FH to Kuala Trembeling jetty for 200-220 ringgits (depending on how many persons are coming), which is about € 50. His phone no’s are 09-3622327 (home) or 013-3910651 (cell). Usually this trip takes 3 hrs, but as we drove it on a Sunday (no lorries) we arrived in 2 hrs.
6. One can reach Taman Negara / Mutiara Lodge / Kuala Tahan village either by boat from Kuala Trembeling jetty, which is a 2.5 hr upstream ride, or by bus or car. Though I used the boat both ways, it was not the tranquil rainforest-bordered boat ride I was hoping for. In fact, there is few rainforest left on either side of the river, although they left some trees standing. No hornbills were seen on either ride, only Red-wattled Plovers, a single fly-by Black-and-Red Broadbill, and single White-breasted, Stork-billed, Black-capped and Blue-eared Kingfishers in flight. Next time I’ll take the bus…
7. Beware of a friendly guy offering to help you book both ways’ boat ride from Kuala Trembeling jetty. My return ticket should get me on the boat leaving Mutiara Lodge jetty at 9 am of my last morning but the ticket was not valid; nor was it at the boat leaving from LBK restaurant. I had to buy a new one and was refunded by the guy back at Kuala Trembeling. The bus ticket I had also bought from him, for the Kuala Trembeling - China town Kuala Lumpur ride, was valid nonetheless. Keep your entry ticket to TN NP, as booking a hide is not possible without one – then again, a new entry ticket only costs 1 MR.
8. A bed at the dorms of Mutiara lodge, TN, costs 30 MR (without breakfast; including it is 60 MR), around € 6 a night. Staying at the lodge will give you the chance to be on the trails around 7 am, at first light, as well as the opportunity for night birding in the forest. I only needed to share my dorm (8 beds) on two nights; a locker is provided for your valuables; (cold) showers and toilets are shared. Electricity sockets are only found outside the dorms, so if you don’t want to leave your iPod / camera alone when charging, bring something to read. Alternatively, you can charge them at the Mutiara or floating restaurants.
9. Kuala Tahan village on the opposite side of the river has a wide choice of accommodation starting at a dollar a night, but the first boats leaving for the trails leave around 8 am…
10. A ride over the river to the cheap floating restaurants and (2) internet cafes if Kuala Tahan village costs 1 ringgit one-way.
11. LBK restaurant, the furthest one from the quay, provides “night safaris” for about € 6. At 9 pm, they drive a bunch of tourists in the back of a pick-up to an oil palm plantation amidst tropical rainforest, where small mammals come to feed. On one such night, I had great views of Leopard Cat, Slow Loris and Palm Civet, as well as Paradise Tree Snake and sleeping Common Tailorbird and Magpie Robin. Barn Owl is another good possibility, along with Large-tailed, Malaysian Eared and Savannah Nightjar. Recommended!
12. At LBK restaurant I met Amzani (“Zani”) who is knowledgeable about birds and acts as guide, mainly for ‘normal’ tourists wanting to visit bat caves and such, but he is available for birders as well. His price is around € 50 for a full day – too expensive for me alone, while I had the feeling I could find most of my wanted birds myself. I did hire him for an evening trip in search of Gould’s Frogmouth, that we didn’t see but we had a number of other goodies, best being a Slow Loris at 2m, along with trip-exclusive Paddyfield Pipit, White-bellied Munia and Grey-rumped Treeswifts, HO Red Junglefowl, a perched Great Slaty Woodpecker and close-by calling Large-tailed Nightjar. Zani’s cell no is 0179228932.
13. The Swamp Loop is no longer reliable for Malayan Peacock-pheasant, as people were working on the trail, constructing boardwalks. I visited the loop 3-4 times without even hearing one. They were only heard by me along the Jenet Muda trail, mostly quite close in late afternoon, but I failed to tape them out. Playback would probably be useful.
14. After a few years’ absence, the trail-performing Great Argus is back! I was able to approach the calling male to within less than 2m while it stood on a vine on the higher parts of the Jenet Muda trail, close to where the trail meets the Bukit Teresek trail. It’s a 10-minute steep climb up from the second stream along JM. Bird of the trip! Another male performs between the first and second streams, just to the left of the trail but is less easy to find. They will call their extremely loud “WOW-WOW” every two minutes or so, so with patience they should be easily located. Great Argus (only) approaches Indri in loudness!!!
15. The river towards Lata Berkoh (the ‘cascades’, nothing fancy), or any other, are no longer reliable for Masked Finfoot and they have not been reliably seen at TN for the past two years. According to Glenda Larke, an environmentalist who visits TN regularly, this does not necessarily has to do with the increase in (Malaysian) tourists who use the river to go to Lata Berkoh (really, nothing fancy) but more with a general decrease of the birds themselves.
16. If you do decide to take a boat to Lata Berkoh take the earliest one available (usually that’s 7.30 a.m. though I’d preferred 7 a.m.). Apart from Blue-banded Kingfisher and, possibly, Chestnut-naped Forktail or Malaysian Blue-Flycatcher (both of which I missed) this trip seems excellent for raptors: I saw Wallace’s Hawk-Eagle, Bat Hawk and Lesser Fish-Eagle.
17. When having dinner at Mutiara Lodge restaurant (more expensive than the floating restaurant, but nevertheless affordable and very good food), have a look at the “Insect spot”, a large white-painted surface with bright white lights attracting all kinds of cicadas, ants, moths and beetles. A true rainforest experience!
18. At Mutiara Lodge “night walks” are promoted, but on these people are walked to Tahan Hide where they’ll see the same Barking and Sambar Deer that can be seen here at noon, along with some bark-resembling spiders that you can easily find yourself. I have not met anyone who had seen the advertised tarantulas, though some had seen sleeping Blue-winged Pitta in scrub towards the canopy walk.
19. All hides must be booked through Mutiara lodge park office (5 MR per person per night). They all have hard wooden bunk beds so bringing a sleeping mat is recommended. Mosquito nets are provided and they all have a toilet and washingroom (not necessarily clean though). Yong Hide is situated on a hillside ca 15m above a clay lick.
20. Yong Hide is very rarely visited – we (London birder Jim and I) were the first visitors in 7 weeks. Banana tree leaves were blocking most of the view over the clay lick. Garnet Pitta was commonly heard (and away from here just once along JM), and the trail is supposed to be good for Malaysian Rail Babbler though I did not encounter any. A flycatcher seen well at the stream about a km past (= south of) Yong Hide was most probably a female Pale Blue Flycatcher. 50m past Yong Hide to the left (20m from the trail) appeared to be another clay lick that showed signs of recent use.
21. Kumbang Hide must be the best place in the world to see Malayan Tapir and I saw two between 8.30 and 9 p.m. This is the only hide that is usually fully booked though I was able to book it in the early morning of the day that I went. One can either take a boat to a drop-off, from where the hide is an hour’s walk or, alternatively, walk there in about 6 hrs. Tourists I met in the hide (I took the boat in late afternoon) had however lost the trail (arriving after dark in the pouring rain, each gathering about 50 leeches) and sure enough I did the same the next morning, having to walk back to return by boat….
22. On my last day I stayed with BirdTourASIA’s James Eaton for a couple of hrs. James shares a flat in Kuala Lumpur with fellow birdtourleader Rob Hutchinson. James told me I should let you know that people are welcome to stay for a night at their flat if they’re in town – they live in an apartment building near Setia Jaya, 8 stops by KTM from KL Sentral and not far from KLIA Airport. James can be contacted at email@example.com.
Thu April 19: Left Amsterdam Schiphol airport with Malaysian airlines at noon.
Fri April 20: Arrival at KLIA at 5.50 a.m. Got 2,000 Malaysian ringgit (hereafter MR) from ATM and changed € 200 to ca 900 MR. Got taxi to Fraser’s Hill for 183 MR, arrived at Gap Resthouse 9.10 a.m. Temperature ca 27 C, very moist. Unpacked in two minutes, walked the old road up to about 4-5 km. Met George Wagner (who I’d met, in the same incidental manner, in Madagascar (twice) in 2004, and Bharatpur, India, in 2006) and exchanged information. Tried for MWB at the most inconvenient hrs of the day (10.30 am and 2.30 pm) but only heard it. Nearly fell asleep a couple of times, having missed a night. Dinner at Gap Resthouse, to bed at 5 pm. 3 lifers: Buff-necked and Crimson-winged Woodpecker, White-hooded Babbler.
Sat April 21: Up at 6.30 am – alarmclock didn’t work (nor did it for the rest of the trip). Walked up the old road, bought water and phoned Samy the taxi driver upon arrival at FH village (10.30 am). Had lunch at roti place near mosque. Started Hemmant Trail at 11.45 am, seeing a family flock of Malayan Partridge after literally one step onto the trail! Walked Bishop’s Trail between 1 and 3.30 pm, finally catching up with a bird I’d been hearing only for the past 6 years, in at least 5 different countries: Lesser Shortwing. Walked down over ‘new road’ between 4 and 6.20 pm, most spectacular sighting being a pair of Great Hornbill, while I also heard a Rusty-naped Pitta call from a gully I couldn’t get to. 4 lifers: Malayan Partridge, Malayan Laughingthrush (split from Chestnut-crowned), Black-and-crimson Oriole and Lesser Shortwing. Other interesting sightings: Dusky and Silver-breasted Broadbill in The Gap (lower 3 kms of ‘old road’); Long-tailed Broadbill and Blue Nuthatch at FH. Pygmy Wren-babbler heard along Hemmant Trail. Ca 27 C all day.
Sun April 22: Off at 5 am. Walked to MWB gully, where heard and saw Brown Wood Owl at 6. Heard MWB between 7.10 and 7.30, but didn’t see it. Failure no. 1! Left The Gap with Samy at 9.45, arriving at Kuala Tembeling jetty at noon. Paid for two boat tickets (up and down) for 25 MR each, 35 MR for bus ticket back to KL and 1 MR for access to TN national park. Boat to Mutiara lodge left at 1.10 pm and a boring 2.5 hrs followed. Arrived Mutiara lodge at 3.30 pm, checked into dorm and went straight to Jenet Muda trail (hereafter JM). At one point heard three most-wanted lifers (Banded Pitta, Malaysian Peacock-pheasant and Great Argus) but saw none. Got wet when afternoon rain started. Had dinner at lodge restaurant for, incl tea, 22 MR. One lifer: Chestnut-backed Scimitar-babbler (at The Gap).
Mon April 23: Woke up at 1 am because of snorer in adjoining dorm. Saw wild pig during stroll outside. Woke up again at 6.40 and headed straight to JM. Around 24 C in early morning, over 30 C after 10.30 am. Sev lifers including incredible calling Great Argus down to 2m and finally caught up with the beautiful Banded Pitta that eluded me in Kao Nor Chuchi, S Thailand, 6 years ago. Chased calling Malaysian Rail-Babbler (hereafter MRB), my most-wanted bird in the world for the past 6 years, for over an hr but only saw vegetation move. Nevertheless celebrated with a Sprite, a cold shower and some Sultana biscuits from Holland – after all, I did see my no 2 on the wishlist (Banded Pitta) and the MRB was still calling so I was confident that with effort and time I would see it! In afternoon washed clothes, checked Tahan Hide, Swamp Loop (both of which were very quiet) and walked trail towards Canopy Walk. Had dinner at LBK Restaurant (sweet & sour chicken, tea and coke for 10 MR) and sent emails for an hr (5 MR). Returned to LBK when it turned out it wouldn’t rain and had excellent night safari (see remark 11 above). 8 lifers: Maroon Woodpecker, Great Argus, Rufous-crowned Babbler, Red-naped Trogon, Banded Pitta and Checker-throated Woodpecker all at JM; Horsfield’s Babbler and Crested Jay at Swamp Loop. Furthermore Leopard Cat and Slow Loris during night safari.
Tue April 24: Early morning JM, chased calling MRB in vain again. Also walked ‘mini market marsh trail’, Swamp Loop, checked Tahan Hide and did Canopy Walk (5 MR for a shaky 300m, 10m above ground). Afternoon nap, after which JM again. MRB called at second stream but too far from the trail. Dinner at floating restaurants, followed by night walk to Tahan Hide and Lubok Simpon (no owls or nightjars). 4 lifers: Raffles’ Malkoha and Sooty-capped Babbler along River Trail in the morning, with (finally!) Crested Fireback and Scarlet-rumped Trogon there in the afternoon.
Wed April 25: Long walk over River Trail, towards Bukit Teresek and back over JM, between 7.30 am (overslept) and 5 pm. Met British birder Jim Hudson and had dinner with him and his girlfriend Laura at floating restaurant. 8 lifers: Black Magpie, Finsch’s bulbul, Rufous-chested Flycatcher and Red-bearded Bee-eater along River Trail; Rufous-collared and Rufous-backed (Oriental Dwarf) Kingfisher along River Trail at last stream before turn-off towards Bukit Teresek; Diard’s Trogon between both viewpoints at highest part of Bukit Teresek; Brown Fulvetta at JM. Also nice: Dusky and Green Broadbill, Rhinoceros Hornbill.
Thu April 26: Woke up at night because of wild pigs running over garbage cans and fighting over contents. Walked River Trail, with Jim, until 10 a.m. and had well-deserved omelette at Mutiara restaurant (10 MR). Walked ‘mini market marsh trail’ and Swamp Loop, finding a well-visited fruiting tree between Tahan Hide and my dorm. Lunch and internet at Kuala Tahan village. Arranged frogmouth-trip with Zani at LBK Restaurant (see remark 12 above) for the evening, starting at 6.30 pm. Jim came along for the ride and saw several lifers. Deal of frogmouth-trip was: 100 MR if we saw Gould’s Frogmouth well, 80 MR if we (only) saw Malaysian Eared and Savannah Nightjar and 60 MR if we didn’t see any of the aforementioned targets. We didn’t see the targets, but the general birding, 6 new tripbirds, nice views of calling Large-tailed Nightjars and the Slow Loris meant we paid 80 MR after all.
Arranged wake-up call for tomorrow’s planned boat trip to Lata Berkoh. Watched night sky filled with thunder and lightning, without it actually raining over Mutiara. 1 lifer: Orange-backed Woodpecker. Other good birds included Dusky and Black-and-red Broadbill, Black Magpie.
Fri April 27: Lata Berkoh boat trip, with Jim and Laura, from 7.30 until 12.30. Did not see the expected kingfishers (apart from two fly-by Blue-bandeds) but trip was productive in raptors, flushing Bat Hawk and seeing Wallace’s Hawk-Eagle and Lesser Fish-Eagle perched. A pair of White-handed Gibbon was also much appreciated. Lunch at Family Restaurant, took take-out (6 MR) for dinner at hide, booked Yong Hide (5 MR per person) and went there by boat (20 MR), with Jim, at 4.15 pm. Heard lifer Garnet Pitta within 5 mins after drop-off! It wasn’t cooperative however. Birded the trail until the stream around 1 km south of Yong Hide. Apart from a male Barking Deer nothing was seen from the hide at dusk, possibly due to a combination of banana tree leaves blocking most of the view, insufficient torch reach and us not staying up all night. Besides, an active clay lick with tapir footprints was found the next morning, in the forest behind Yong Hide! 4 lifers: Wallace’s Hawk-Eagle, Large Green Pigeon and Straw-headed Bulbul (along with White-handed Gibbon) on the Lata Berkoh boat trip, with Maroon-breasted Philentoma at Yong trail.
Sat April 28: Up at 7.30 (overslept again), birded around the hide until noon, hearing 5 Garnet Pittas around the hide and 3 at bat cave further north along the trail. While Jim was in the cave photographing tame cuddly bats, I finally taped a Garnet Pitta onto a log, repeating it for Jim half an hr later while literally dozens of chatting Malaysian tourists walked past. Further along the trail, Jim saw a Rufous-tailed Shama (a lifer for me). At an ‘orang asli’ (indigenous people) village, where tourists were shown how to start a fire (the old-fashioned way) or how to blow-pipe themselves a meal, we found a young Bushy-crested Hornbill kept as a pet (another would-be lifer for me). We were informed that Mutiara lodge would be another 1.5 hr walk (including two steep climbs) and, as Jim’s bus would leave the same evening, we hitched a ride back by boat with Joe, who worked at LBK restaurant’s tourist/travel agency. Had a meal and a drink with Jim and Laura and said goodbye. Filled out Glenda Larke’s team’s questionnaire about how to get more birders to come to Malaysia. Dinner at lodge restaurant – excellent chicken-and-cashewnuts. 5 lifers: White-chested Babbler, Black Hornbill, Dark-throated Oriole, Temminck’s Sunbird and Garnet Pitta.
Sun April 29: Up at 7, walking all of JM trail twice, until 2 pm. Encountered first true mixed flock while in TN, biggish birds mostly. Chased MRB at second stream but missed out again (undergrowth very thick here). Lunch and take-out from floating restaurant, took boat to Kuala Trenggan at 4 pm, then walked to Kumbang Hide in an hr. Heard Helmeted Hornbill when approaching the hide, but didn’t see them, nor the singing Rufous-tailed Shama heard at dusk. Downpour started just before dusk. Shared Kumbang Hide with two Kiwis (who went to bed before it was even properly dark), 3 Singaporeans (who actually preferred camping underneath the hide and disappeared from the hide after testing their huge cameras with equally huge flashes) and 3 other tourists who arrived 1.5 hr after dusk, soaked and each having at least 50 leeches on their body: they had lost the trail I was planning on taking the next day……..(only) with them I saw the two Tapirs……
2 lifers: Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo along JM and Malaysian Eared-Nightjar over Kumbang Hide.
Mon April 30: Up at 7, left at 8 preparing for a 5-hr walk (birding time excluded) back towards Mutiara lodge from Kumbang Hide. Crossed river 15 mins south of Kumbang Hide (taking off shoes and socks, checking for leeches on the other side, putting everything back on) only to return several hrs later, repeating the drill. Like my fellow tourists I lost the trail 2.5 hrs south of Kumbang Hide and, after looking for the trail for half an hr, decided to head back as it was my last full day in TN. Turning back at 11, I arrived at Kuala Trenggan at 1.15 pm, where I could hitch a ride with a boat delivering a Japanese tourist at 3.30.
Had to change to other dorm room, as mine was taken by Malaysian tourists in TN for their holiday weekend. Shared my new dorm with two guys from KL. Internet across the river, diner at Mutiara lodge. Arranged wake-up call for next morning. 3 lifers: Spotted Fantail, Black-throated Babbler and Striped Wren-babbler, all south of Kumbang Hide.
Tue May 1: Up at 7.30, checked fruiting tree once again. Breakfast at lodge at 8. Refused at 9 a.m. boat leaving at Mutiara jetty, had to buy new ticket from LBK restaurant boat (25 MR). Arrived Kuala Trembeling at 11, where boat ticket refunded by ‘helpful’ guy. Left Kuala Trembeling by bus, arriving at Jerantut at 12. Obligatory lunch there while waiting for 1 pm bus to Kuala Lumpur Chinatown, where arrived 3.30 pm. Phoned James Eaton, who’d invited me to spend the remaining hrs before my flight home, took KTM railway to Setia Jaya, where James was waiting. Had dinner together, taking a taxi to KLIA at 8.10 pm (45 mins ride, 60 MR). Changed 1,210 MR back into ca € 255, having spent (only) € 350 in 12 days. KLM flight back to Amsterdam left at 11.15 pm.
Materials used: I used prerecorded birdsounds on my iPod (mainly from cd-rom Birds of Tropical Asia 2 by Jelle Scharringa) with a Radioshack speaker. I took the paperback New Holland field guide to the Birds of Southeast Asia by Craig Robson (2005). This was my first trip to the tropics with my new bins, the excellent Zeiss Victory 10x42 and they’re recommended. Other equipment that I recommend taking are leech socks and a waist bag for carrying small waterbottles and sound equipment, as backpacks make one sweat more and hinder the birding.
Legend: Highlighted birds are lifers. FH = Fraser’s Hill; The Gap = lower 3 km of ‘old road’, FH; MWB = Marbled Wren Babbler gully as described in remark 3; TN = Taman Negara; JM = Jenet Muda trail in TN; RT = River Trail in TN (this is sometimes referred to as Trenggan trail, i.e. the trail that starts at the far end of the Mutiara campsite and leads past the swimming spot (Lubuk Simpon); SL = Swamp Loop in TN; mmm = mini market marsh trail (starts behind Mutiara lodge mini market and connects to Swamp Loop); HO = heard only; UTV = untickable views.
NB Contrary to my normal MO, I did not pay too much attention to which swift(let)s I saw and/or which barbets I heard. Some of these could therefore be underrecorded.
1. Malayan Partridge Arborophila campbelli: A family group of 5 of this endemic showed well within the first 10 m of the Hemmant Trail, FH (from the mosque) at 11.45 am!
2. Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus: 1 HO (forest outside Kuala Tahan village).
3. Crested Fireback Lophura ignita rufa: total of 12 (RT and JM). Only males, largest flock 5.
4. Malayan Peacock-pheasant Polyplectron malacense: 5 HO (JM). Probably heard same male on 4 dates (between both streams) and another on one.
5. Great Argus Argusianus argus: 2 males seen well at JM. Around 10 HO as follows: 1 HO low down at The Gap; 3 HO from JM; 5 HO from Lata Berkoh boat trip (partly JM birds); 1 HO near Yong Hide and 1 HO near Kumbang Hide. See remark no 14.
6. Rufous Piculet Sasia abnormis: 1, The Gap (MWB gully).
7. Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis: 3 The Gap; 1 RT and 3 JM, TN.
8. Buff-necked Woodpecker Meiglyptes tukki: 1 The Gap; 2 RT, 1 Kumbang, TN.
9. Crimson-winged Woodpecker Picus puniceus: 1 The Gap; 1 RT, 1 RT/JM intersection, 1 Kumbang trail, TN.
10. Greater Yellownape Picus flavinucha: male, Hemmant Trail, FH.
11. Checker-throated Woodpecker Picus mentalis: ad + juv, JM; pair RT, TN.
12. Maroon Woodpecker Blythipicus rubiginosus: ad + juv, JM (two dates); 1 Yong trail, TN.
13. Orange-backed Woodpecker Reinwardtipicus validus: female, RT; male from Kumbang Hide, TN.
14. Great Slaty Woodpecker Mulleripicus pulverulentus: 1, outside Kuala Tahan village; 3 Yong Hide; 2 Yong trail; 3 JM. 2 HO SL, 1 HO Bukit Teresek, 2 HO JM.
15. Fire-tufted Barbet Psilopogon pyrolophus: 3, The Gap.
16. Gold-whiskered Barbet Megalaima chrysopogon: 4+, The Gap; 2 RT, 1 Lata Berkoh, TN.
17. Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesi: 1 in fruiting tree, The Gap. 1 HO, Yong Hide, TN.
18. Red-throated Barbet Megalaima mystacophanos: 1 in fruiting tree, Mutiara lodge, TN.
19. Yellow-crowned Barbet Megalaima henricii: HO, almost daily, TN (all trails).
20. Blue-eared Barbet Megalaima australis: HO, on two dates, RT, TN.
21. Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima maemacephala: up to 3 in fruiting tree, Mutiara lodge, TN.
22. Rhinoceros Hornbill Buceros rhinoceros: single fly-by’s at 2nd viewpoint, Bukit Teresek; at Gould’s Frogmouth clearing outside Kuala Tahan village; at Lata Berkoh and at Yong Hide. HO as follows: 2 HO JM, 2 HO Yong stream.
23. Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis: pair, FH (new road).
24. Helmeted Hornbill Buceros vigil: 2 HO near Kumbang Hide, TN.
25. Wreathed Hornbill Aceros undulatus: pairs seen over top of old road, FH, and over Kumbang Hide, TN; perched male at Bukit Teresek 1st viewpoint.
26. Southern Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris convexus: 1 over Mutiara lodge in early morning, TN.
27. Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus: 2 at Lata Berkoh’s abandoned fishing lodge, 10 in early morning at Yong Hide. 3 HO along Kumbang trail, TN.
28. Bushy-crested Hornbill Anorrhinus galeritus: 1 two-week-old bird as a pet at Orang Asli village. According to owner, ‘found’ some 15 kms south of village.
29. Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis: singles from the boat ride to TN and from Yong Hide.
30. Red-naped Trogon Harpactes kasumba: 2 males JM, 1 male RT. Sev HO most mornings.
31. Diard's Trogon Harpactes diardii: 1 calling male between the viewpoints of Bukit Teresek. Heard it, then played iPod and it came in.
32. Scarlet-rumped Trogon Harpactes duvaucelii: single males at JM, RT and Yong trail. HO as follows: 3 JM, 3 RT, 1 Yong Hide, 2 Kumbang trail.
33. Orange-breasted Trogon Harpactes oreskios: calling male, The Gap. 3 more HO.
34. Red-headed Trogon Harpactes erythrocephalus chaseni: male + female, higher parts of old road, FH.
35. Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo mentioning: 1 in flight only, boat ride to TN.
36. Blue-banded Kingfisher Alcedo euryzona: 2 in flight, UTV, towards Lata Berkoh, TN.
37. Rufous-backed Kingfisher Ceyx rufidorsa: prolonged views of 1 JM second stream. Responded to random taping of its call, saw it a minute after having enjoyed taped-in fellow-lifer Rufous-collared Kingfisher for a couple of mins !
38. Banded Kingfisher Lacedo pulchella: 1 calling, only seen in flight, with a second HO, east of Kumbang Hide in early morning.
39. Stork-billed Kingfisher Halcyon capensis: singles at access river ride to TN, at Lubuk Simpon and twice on boat trip to Lata Berkoh.
40. White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis: 3 roadside, between airport and The Gap; singles at access and exit boat ride to TN, 1 Kuala Tahan village. 1 HO at Mutiara lodge.
41. Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata: 1 access river ride to TN.
42. Rufous-collared Kingfisher Actenoides concretus: prolonged views of 2 males (1 JM second stream, 1 deep stream along RT, possibly both streams are one and the same). Both responded to iPod. The second bird had a muddy bill, was maybe digging a nest?
43. Large Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides: 2 HO, The Gap.
44. Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax: 2, JM, on April 29th. Result of random taping. 1 HO south of Kumbang Hide, TN. Might have arrived on April 29th, as not heard before that date.
45. Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus: 1 HO, FH (new road). 2 HO most dates in TN.
46. Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris: HO along RT, JM, Tahan and Yong Hide, TN.
47. Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea: 1 HO behind Mutiara dorm, at night (April 23).
48. Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus: 1 HO, Kumbang (Apr 29); 1 HO, lodge (May 1).
49. Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis: 3 and 2 on respective dates, The Gap.
50. Raffles's Malkoha Phaenicophaeus chlorophaeus: 1, between lodge campsite and Lubuk Simpon, early morning; 1, Yong Hide; 4 in mixed (larges species) flock, JM.
51. Chestnut-breasted Malkoha Phaenicophaeus curvirostris: pair, Tahan Hide; pair, Yong Hide.
52. Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis: 1, Kuala Trembeling jetty, 1, RT. HO at Mutiara lodge, Lata Berkoh boat trip and Kumbang area.
53. Red-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis amictus: 1, RT. After a lot of random taping at The Gap and FH new road, finally saw one that just, silently, flew in, and disappeared in 2 mins.
54. Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis: common at access boat ride to TN; sev Bukit Teresek 1st viewpoint and at clearing near Kuala Tahan village, 1 Kuala Trenggan village.
55. Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot Loriculus galgulus: 1 over The Gap Resthouse; pair flushed from large bamboo stands opposite turn-off onto old road, early morning, The Gap.
56. Himalayan Swiftlet Collocalia brevirostris: most swiftlets encountered thought to be of this species: common at The Gap, FH and over Lata Berkoh boat trip, TN.
57. Black-nest Swiftlet Collocalia maxima: up to 10 daily at The Gap.
58. Grey-rumped Treeswift Hemiprocne longipennis: 2 over open area in forest near Kuala Tahan village (Zani’s Gould’s Frogmouth site), TN.
59. Whiskered Treeswift Hemiprocne comata: 2 and 3 at Lata Berkoh, TN.
60. Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus: 4 over The Gap in the evening, 2 each over 1st Bukit Teresek viewpoint and floating restaurants. Probably migrants.
61. Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis: 3 over Kuala Tahan village, TN.
62. Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus: 1 low over Kuala Trenggan village, TN (April 30).
63. House Swift Apus affinis: common at The Gap, FH, on Lata Berkoh boat trip and at Kuala Trenggan village, TN.
64. Mountain Scops Owl Otus spilocephalus: 2-3 HO at night, The Gap.
65. Collared Scops Owl Otus bakkamoena: 1 HO at night, Yong Hide, TN.
66. Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei: 2 HO in daytime, The Gap.
67. Brown Wood-owl Strix leptogrammica: 1, The Gap (MWB gully at 6 a.m.).
68. Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata: 2 HO at night, Yong Hide, TN.
69. Gould's Frogmouth Batrachostomus stellatus: 1 HO at night, Yong Hide, TN.
70. Malaysian Nightjar Eurostopodus temminckii: 2 calling over Kumbang Hide, TN.
71. Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus: sev calling seen on LBK restaurant night safari.
72. Mountain Imperial-Pigeon Ducula badia: 1 over The Gap.
73. Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis: 1, Mutiara lodge, TN.
74. Little Cuckoo Dove Macropygia ruficeps: 5 old road, 3 new road, FH; 1 JM. At FH, all were flushed from roadside ferns.
75. Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra: pair, Yong Hide, TN.
76. Large Green Pigeon Treron capellei: 4 over Lata Berkoh (cascades), 3 pairs perched in front of Kumbang Hide, TN.
77. Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica: 2 SL, 1 RT, 1 Lata Berkoh. All flushed birds, as usual.
78. Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos: 1 access boat to TN, 2 Lata Berkoh boat trip, TN.
79. Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus: 10 each on access and exit boat ride, TN.
80. Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus: 1 over bat cave, Yong trail; 1 over Kumbang.
81. Bat Hawk Macheiramphus alcinus: 1 flying low over river in early(ish) morning, Lata Berkoh boat trip. Said to fly past floating restaurants in evening, ca 6.30 pm (didn’t pay attention).
82. Lesser Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga humilis: 1 nicely perched in tree, Lata Berkoh boat trip.
83. Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela malayensis: singles roadside between FH and Kuala Trembeling; Mutiara lodge; roadside, not far outside Kuala Tahan village; Lata Berkoh boat trip. 2 HO, JM, TN.
84. Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis: 1 adult over higher part of old road, FH.
85. Changeable Hawk Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus limnaetus: single dark-phase birds perched in large dead tree opposite Tahan Hide; and roadside, not far outside Kuala Tahan village, TN. The latter nested nearby according to Zani.
86. Blyth’s Hawk Eagle Spizaetus alboniger: 1 over new road, FH; 1 over 1st Bukit Teresek viewpoint, TN.
87. Wallace’s Hawk Eagle Spizaetus nanus: 1 low over boat, perching conveniently in tree, Lata Berkoh boat trip.
88. Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius: 1 perched roadside, The Gap, was a nice surprise.
89. Little Egret Egretta garzetta: 2 between KLIA and FH.
90. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis: 4 over river between Mutiara lodge and Kuala Tahan, TN.
91. Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus: 5 flying around Zani’s Gould’s Frogmouth site (just outside Kuala Tahan village). Have become regular here in recent years, according to Zani.
92. Striated Heron Butorides striatus: 1 access boat ride into TN.
93. Rusty-naped Pitta Pitta oatesi: 1 HO, FH (top of new road, in inadmissible gully).
94. Banded Pitta Pitta guajana irena: 2 males seen very well (1 JM, 1 mmm), 19 HO (6 JM, 3 SL, 5 RT, 2 Yong trail, 3 Kumbang area). Calls heard more frequently than song. Usually responded to iPod, but quite hard to tape out – I tried sev more than the two seen.
95. Garnet Pitta Pitta granatina coccinea: 2 males seen very well (1 bat cave along Yong trail, was ca 5th attempt to tape one out; 1 JM, ca 300m in from RT, was whistled out and perched in tree ca 4m above ground). 8 HO (3 Yong Hide, 2 Yong trail, 3 near bat cave).
96. Green Broadbill Calyptomena viridis: 3 singles seen (top Bukit Teresek, Lata Berkoh, Yong Hide). Heard them, then played iPod and they came in. Quite hard to find, being small, unobtrusive and well-camouflaged. 13 HO (3 top Bukit Teresek trail, 3 Yong Hide area, 5 JM (only on April 29) and 2 Kumbang area).
97. Black-and-red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos: 1 RT, 5 Lata Berkoh boat trip, 1 exit boat ride. This one was mostly seen from a boat when they flew across the river.
98. Long-tailed Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae: 2 singles, Bishop’s Trail; 1 HO, new road, FH.
99. Silver-breasted Broadbill Serilophus lunatus: 1 seen and 2 HO, The Gap, lower old road. Heard it, then played iPod and it came in.
100. Banded Broadbill Eurylaimus javanicus: 2 seen (1 Lata Berkoh, 1 JM). 4 HO (2 Yong Hide area, 2 JM).
101. Black-and-yellow Broadbill Eurylaimus ochromalus: 1 seen Tahan hide, TN (taped in at noon), sev HO daily (all trails).
102. Dusky Broadbill Corydon sumatranus: 1, The Gap; a pair at “clearing” along RT past RT / JM intersection, in early morning (twice from RT, once from Lata Berkoh boat trip).
103. Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati: male in fruiting tree, Mutiara lodge grounds; male, Kuala Trenggan village, TN.
104. Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis: pair, new road, FH. Male SL; 3, 1st Bukit Teresek viewpoint, 2 RT, 2 Yong area.
105. Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella: 3 Tahan Hide, 2 RT, male JM.
106. Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus: male in front of Kumbang Hide, TN.
107. Malaysian Rail Babbler Eupetes macrocerus: 2 HO (JM, 1 within first 500m, 1 second stream). Would call until 11 a.m., easily triggered by tape. Also responds to human whistling. A 5+ hr effort on 4 dates did not yield any sightings unfortunately, though I did see the vegetation move once…..
108. Crested Jay Platylophus galericulatus ardesiacus: 1 SL, 2 JM (in mixed larger species flock). HO (machinegun call) as follows: 1 SL, 1 Lata Berkoh, 1 Kumbang area.
109. Black Magpie Platysmurus leucopterus: 2 at “clearing” along RT past RT / JM intersection, in early morning. HO (tranquiloquial “bellbird” call) as follows: 1 RT, 3 Yong Hide, 2 Yong trail, 3 Kumbang area.
110. Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos: 1 FH, few Lata Berkoh, 2 RT, 1 Kuala Trenggan village, few Kuala Lumpur.
111. Dark-throated Oriole Oriolus xanthonotus: 1 male, two females, Yong Hide, TN.
112. Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis: male, twice in fruiting tree Mutiara lodge, TN.
113. Black-and-crimson Oriole Oriolus cruentus: male, Bishop’s Trail, FH.
114. Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus: 4 The Gap; 3 Hemmant Trail and 2 new road, FH.
115. Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus: Up to 10 daily, The Gap/FH; 1 RT, 2 Yong Hide.
116. Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer: singles at The Gap and new road, FH; 1 JM, TN.
117. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus: 2 RT, 2 Bukit Teresek, 2 Yong Hide area, 3 JM.
118. White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis: 4 Hemmant and 1 Bishop’s Trail, FH.
119. Spotted Fantail Rhipidura perlata: 3, trail south of Kumbang Hide, TN.
120. Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher Culicapa caylonensis antioxantha: 2 adults feeding a juvenile, Bukit Teresek, TN.
121. Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea: 1 RT, 1 Lata Berkoh trail, 3 JM, 2 Kumbang area, TN.
122. Asian Paradise-Flycatcher Tersiphone paradise affinis: singles females at Bukit Teresek, Lata Berkoh trail and JM, TN.
123. Maroon-breasted Philentoma Philentoma velatum: 1 Yong Hide, 3 Yong trail. One probable at Bukit Teresek trail.
124. Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis gularis fretensis: 3 The Gap, 1 new road, FH.
125. Dark-sided (Siberian) Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica: singles at The Gap (roadside) and Yong trail, TN.
126. Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia: female, in fruiting tree Mutiara lodge grounds, TN.
127. Rufous-chested Flycatcher Ficedula dumetoria: pair, clearing along RT, TN.
128. Rufous-browed Flycatcher Ficedula solitaris submonileger: 1, Bishop’s Trail, FH.
129. Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperyhtra: 1, The Gap (MWB gully).
130. Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina thalassoides: 1, new road, FH.
131. Large Niltava Niltava grandis decipiens: 1 female, The Gap (MWB gully), with a male, The Gap roadside, the following day.
132. Pale Blue Flycatcher Cyornis unicolor harterti: female at Yong stream, TN.
133. Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae: Pair, Lubuk Simpon (swimming spot); 6+ along river to Lata Berkoh.
134. Lesser Shortwing Brachypteryx leucophrys wrayi: pair down to 1m, Bishop’s Trail, FH. Responded to both taping and pishing, always staying on or very near the ground.
135. Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis musicus: 2-4 daily at all sites.
136. White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus mallopercnus: All sightings refer to males unless stated otherwise. 3 JM, 1 Tahan Hide boardwalk, 2 RT, female Blau Hide, 2 Kumbang Hide, 2 trail south of Kumbang Hide. 4 HO during Lata Berkoh boat trip.
137. Rufous-tailed Shama Trichixos pyrropyga: 1 HO, 5 mins east of Kumbang Hide. A male was seen by Jim Hudson on the Yong trail, not far south of the Orang Asli village.
138. Slaty-backed Forktail Enicurus schistaceus: 1, new road, FH.
139. White-crowned Forktail Enicurus leschenaulti frontalis: 1 RT, 1 near Yong Hide, TN.
140. Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis strigata: 5, outskirts Kuala Tahan village.
141. Common Myna Acrodotheres tristis: 6 access boat trip, 3 Tahan Hide, 2 Mutiara lodge, sev Kuala Lumpur.
142. Jungle Myna Acrodotheres fuscus: 2, Mutiara lodge, TN.
143. Crested Myna Acrodotheres cristatellus: FERAL. Sev in Kuala Lumpur.
144. Blue Nuthatch Sitta azurea expectata: 1 in mixed flock, Hemmant Trail/road intersection, FH.
145. Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica abbotti: pair breeding at Gap Resthouse; 2 Mutiara lodge, 1 Lata Berkoh boat trip, 3 daily over river between Mutiara and floating restaurants, 1 Kuala Trenggan.
146. Everett's White-eye Zosterops everetti: 2 new road, FH.
147. Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps: 3 SL (mostly near boardwalk Tahan Hide), 6+ Mutiara lodge fruiting tree. 2 HO RT (very distinctive call).
148. Puff-backed Bulbul Pycnonotus eutilotus: 2 RT, 1 Mutiara lodge.
149. Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni: 5 new road, FH; 3 The Gap; max 10 Mutiara lodge fruiting tree, 2 Kuala Trenggan.
150. Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier: sev between KLIA and FH; 2 access boat ride, 3 Mutiara lodge.
151. Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex: 2 JM, TN.
152. Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus: 2 Mutiara lodge, 2 Lata Berkoh boat trip.
153. Spectacled Bulbul Pycnonotus erythropthalmos: 2 Mutiara lodge fruiting tree, 1 trail south of Kumbang Hide.
154. Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus: pair, river’s edge of Lata Berkoh boat trip; pair, main river’s edge on the way to Kuala Trenggan (near “Nusa” holiday camp). Has become quite rare because of bird trade.
155. Finsch's Bulbul Alophoixus finschii: pair feeding juvenile on 2 dates, clearing RT.
156. Ochraceous Bulbul Alophoixus ochraceus: quite common, The Gap.
157. Grey-cheeked Bulbul Alophoixus bres: 1 mmm, TN.
158. Yellow-bellied Bulbul Alophoixus phaeocephalus: 1 JM, 2 mmm, 1 Lata Berkoh.
159. Hairy-backed Bulbul Tricholestes criniger: 1 RT; pair, Yong stream; 2, south of Kumbang Hide.
160. Ashy Bulbul Hemixos flavala cinereus: 2, The Gap.
161. Mountain Bulbul Hypsipetes mcclellandii peracensis: 2 Bishop’s Trail, FH.
162. Yellow-bellied Prinia Prinia flaviventris rafflesi: 1 HO, Kuala Tahan village (in reeds/tall grass opposite floating restaurants). Seen there by Jim Hudson.
163. Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus malayanus: 2 seen, 3 HO, FH (roadside, higher part of ‘old road’).
164. Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius atrogularis: 2, The Gap; 1 asleep on top of tiny grass stem, LBK restaurant’s night safari; 1, Kumbang trail. 1 HO almost daily, lodge.
165. Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis: 1 phyllo feeding in canopy of large tree hanging over Kuala Trembeling jetty appeared to be this species (April 22).
166. Yellow-bellied Warbler Abroscopus superciliaris: 2, The Gap.
167. Chestnut-crowned Warbler Seicercus castaniceps: 10 Hemmant Trail, few Bishop’s Trail, FH.
168. Black Laughingthrush Garrulax lugubris: 1, between MWB gully and Gap Resthouse.
169. Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush Garrulax mitratus major: 20+ daily, The Gap, FH.
170. Malayan (Chestnut-crowned) Laughingthrush Garrulax (erythrocephalus) peninsulae: 1 Hemmant Trail, 1 Bishop’s Trail, FH.
171. White-chested Babbler Trichastoma rostratum: 2 Yong trail, 1 Kumbang trail.
172. Ferruginous Babbler Trichastoma bicolour: 1 JM, 4 Kumbang trail, TN.
173. Abbott's Babbler Malacocincla abbotti: singles at Lubuk Simpon, RT (two dates) and JM, TN.
174. Horsfield’s Babbler Malacocincla sepiarum: 4, SL. Having seen Abbott’s the previous day and later days, I’m quite convinced these were Horsfield’s, though they are very alike. The birds along Swamp Loop resembled Abbott’s, but showed slight streaky breast and appeared to have slightly darker crowns. That said, the streaky appearance of the crown as described in Robson (2005), was not obvious on the Abbott’s seen at TN (nor can I remember to have seen it at Cat Tien, S Vietnam, two years ago (where only Abbott’s occurs). There was some difference in behaviour: the Abbott’s, seen at Lupuk Simpon (the swimming spot) and JM, stuck to the ground, turning leaves, and were always seen singly; while the Horsfield’s appeared to be a family group and were seen about 1.5m above ground. I would appreciate comments on this sighting on the email below.
175. Short-tailed Babbler Malacocincla malaccensis: 1 JM, TN (once only).
176. Buff-breasted Babbler Pellorneum tickelli: 1 in roadside scrub between end of Bishop’s Trail and golf course, FH
177. Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum capistratum nigrocapitatum: 2 RT (three dates), 1 Bukit Teresek, TN. Always terrestrial, a beautiful babbler!
178. Striped Wren Babbler Kenopia striata: 1, with 1 HO, trail south of Kumbang Hide, TN. Heard it, then played iPod and two ferociously singing birds came in. Quite beautiful little babbler and one that I have been wanting to see for a long time!
179. Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus montanus occidentalis: 1 roadside, The Gap. It was trailing a mixed flock, feeding in clumps of leaves about 6m up trees (which is eyelevel when birding roadside at The Gap!).
180. Large Wren Babbler Napothera macrodactyla: 1-2 daily, JM. Singles seen in both JM streams in early morning when staking out Malaysian Rail Babblers. 1 Kumbang trail.
181. Marbled Wren Babbler Napothera marmorata grandior: 1 HO, MWB gully, The Gap (see remark no 3).
182. Pygmy Wren Babbler Pnoepyga pusilla: 1 HO down to 3m, Bishop’s Trail, FH.
183. Golden Babbler Stachyris chrysaea: 5 Hemmant Trail, 2 Bishop’s Trail, FH.
184. Grey-throated Babbler Stachyris nigriceps: 2 pairs, Bishop’s Trail, FH.
185. White-necked Babbler Stachyris leucotis: 1 HO, Kumbang Trail. Heard it, played iPod and it came in…..but not close enough! Besides, I was taping Black-throated Babbler and Spotted Fantail simultaneously!
186. Black-throated Babbler Stachyris nigricollis: 1 singing male, along trail south of river crossing, about half an hour walk south of Kumbang Hide. Responded to random taping of its song.
187. Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera: 1 SL, 3 Bukit Teresek, 2 Yong trail, 2 pairs JM. 2 HO, SL, TN.
188. Moustached Babbler Malacopteron magnirostre: 1 mmm, TN (once only).
189. Sooty-capped Babbler Malacopteron affine: common, TN (JM, RT, Lata Berkoh, Yong trail). Its song was commonly heard.
190. Scaly-crowned Babbler Malacopteron cinereum: 3 RT, TN.
191. Rufous-crowned Babbler Malacopteron magnum: 2 JM, 1 SL, 1 RT, 2 Yong trail, 2 Kumbang, TN.
192. Striped Tit Babbler Macronous gularis: 2 The Gap, 1 JM, 2 Mutiara lodge fruiting tree. Remarkably, only one seen in TN’s primary forest.
193. White-browed Shrike Babbler Pteruthius flaviscapis: 1 male, Hemmant Trail/road intersection, in mixed flock, FH.
194. Black-eared Shrike Babbler Pteruthius melanotis: 2 females, Hemmant Trail/road intersection, in mixed flock, FH.
195. Brown Fulvetta Alcippe brunneicauda: 1 JM, 1 Yong trail, TN.
196. Mountain Fulvetta Alcippe peracensis: 6 daily, The Gap.
197. White-hooded Babbler Gampsorhynchus rufulus saturatior: flocks of 6 and 4 on two dates in different bamboo gullies, The Gap.
198. Long-tailed Sibia Heterophasia picaoides wrayi: 10+, FH (with the next species).
199. Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris: 5 FH (with the species above).
200. White-bellied Erpornis Erpornis zantholeuca interposita: singles at Hemmant Trail and new road, FH; and SL, TN.
201. Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus maculates oblitus: pair feeding juvenile, 1st viewpoint at Bukit Teresek.
202. Yellow-vented Flowerpecker Dicaeum chrysorrheum: 1 in large tree hanging over Kuala Trembeling jetty; 1 JM, TN.
203. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonostima: male feeding in large tree hanging over Kuala Trembeling jetty.
204. Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectus dolichorhynchum: pair, Hemmant Trail; male, new road, FH.
205. Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturate wrayi: pair, Bishop’s Trail; male, new road, FH.
206. Temminck's Sunbird Aethopyga temminckii: 1 male, trail between Yong Hide and stream, TN.
207. Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex: 1, collecting nesting material, JM, TN.
208. Purple-naped Sunbird Hypogramma hypogrammicum: pair feeding juvenile, SL; male, JM; 4 Kumbang trail, TN.
209. Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra cinereicollis: 1 JM, 1 Bukit Teresek, TN.
210. Grey-breasted Spiderhunter Arachnothera affinis modesta: 1 singing male, The Gap; 1, JM, TN. Sev squeaking fly-by spiderhunters were heard daily, but could not be identified.
211. Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna: 2, roti shop at Hemmant Trail, FH.
212. Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus malayensis: 4 in open area in forest near Kuala Tahan village (Zani’s Gould’s Frogmouth site).
213. Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus malaccensis: sev, Kuala Lumpur.
214. White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata subsquamicollis: pair, The Gap.
215. White-bellied Munia Lonchura leucogastra: 4 in large grass stands on the edge of open area in forest near Kuala Tahan village (Zani’s Gould’s Frogmouth site).
The following birds would have been lifers but were heard only: Malaysian Peacock-pheasant, Yellow-crowned Barbet, Helmeted Hornbill, Gould's Frogmouth, Rusty-naped Pitta, Malaysian Rail Babbler, Rufous-tailed Shama, Marbled Wren Babbler, White-necked Babbler. Bushy-crested Hornbill would have been a tick, had I seen it in the wild. Also, Blue-banded Kingfisher provided me with untickable flight views only.
Other birds not seen: I would have liked to finally connect with some (other) blanks in my Robson, noticeably Bamboo, Grey-and-buff, Banded and Olive-backed Woodpecker; Wrinkled, Plain-pouched (rare), Bushy-crested and White-crowned Hornbill, Cinnamon-rumped Trogon (quite rare, I believe), Buffy Fish Owl, Jambu Fruit Dove, Masked Finfoot (see remark no 15), Chinese Sparrowhawk, Malaysian Blue-Flycatcher, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike; Scaly-breasted, Black-and-white and Buff-vented Bulbul (because that would only leave me with White-headed and Olive!) and Chestnut-naped Forktail. I was disappointed not to see some of the cute little babblers occurring in the visited region, such as Fluffy-backed tit-babbler (said to be a primary forest edge bird, a habitat I didn’t visit), Grey-breasted Babbler (though it is now known to be rare) and Grey-headed Babbler. This list does not include, for obvious reasons (notoriously difficult to see), birds like Mountain Peacock-pheasant, Crestless Fireback, Ferruginous and Long-billed Partridge, Malaysian Honeyguide and Malayan Whistling-thrush.
1. Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang: 2 on two different night safaris starting at LBK restaurant, Kuala Tahan, TN. One at 2m at an electricity wire said to be there to catch beetles. Had I not been waiting to see my first gibbons for so long, and had Leopard Cat not been so cute, this would have been my mammal highlight!
2. Asian Palm Civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditus: 1 civet seen walking over leaves in an oil palm during one of the night safaris starting at LBK restaurant, Kuala Tahan, TN, was thought to be of this species.
3. Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis: 1 crossing the road and subsequently slowly walking around at the roadside, in the same oil palm plantation. It stayed around for ca 5 minutes at less than 5m, long enough for the other vehicle to catch up with us and let all of them look at it and take pictures. On another night safari, that I didn’t join, they saw 6 Leopard Cats! Gorgeous creature!
4. White-handed Gibbon Hylobates lar: feeding pair in trees near Lata Berkoh, TN. Mammal highlight of the trip. Others HO, Yong trail, TN.
5. Siamang Hylobates syndactylus: HO, The Gap/FH (roadside).
6. Dusky Langur Presbytis obscura: sev shy groups along old road, The Gap.
7. Long-tailed Macaque Macaca fascicularis: some at The Gap and TN.
8. Malayan Tapir Tapirus indicus: 2, Kumbang Hide, TN, between 8.30 and 9 p.m. Bring a strong torch, the clay lick is about 40m from the stinted hide.
9. “Rat” Rattus species: 3 in oil palm plantation during night safari. Heard in both Yong and Kumbang Hide. Also heard tourists when confronted with them in hides :-) Saw a girl’s backpack that she’d been using as pillow in Blau Hide: it showed a large hole just next to where her head had been – her friend had seen the rat near her face, woken her up and they hadn’t slept for the rest of the night. I used vacutop hard-plastic kitchen gear to store my food in, but left a suggestion to the park office to install large metal boxes in all hides for food storage….
10. Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak: singles at Tahan and Yong hide (latter a male).
11. Sambar Deer Cervus unicolor: 2, Tahan hide on two dates.
12. Wild Boar Sus scrofa: a large tame family group roaming around on Mutiara lodge grounds; sev on Yong trail and south of Kumbang hide.
13. Black Giant Squirrel Ratufa bicolor: 1, JM, TN.
14. Red Giant Flying Squirrel Petaurista petaurista: 1 high up a (high) roadside tree during a night safari, TN, must have been this species? We waited around a bit hoping it would fly, but it didn’t.
15. “red-bellied squirrel”: sev, TN.
16. Himalayan Striped Squirrel Tamiops mclellandii: sev, The Gap and TN.
17. Plantain Squirrel Callosciurus notatus: sev, The Gap, FH and TN.
Reptiles and amphibians list:
1. False Coral Snake: beautiful thin snake with its bands coloured yellow, black, red. One at noon on Tahan hide boardwalk, TN. I recall that only if yellow and red join, it is venomous – but I obviously didn’t take any chances!
2. Paradise Tree Snake: 1 curled up in top of roadside vegetation during night safari, TN.
3. Monitor Lizard: quite common at Mutiara lodge grounds and along RT, TN. Usually when you hear an animal making a sudden noise on the rainforest floor, it’s either a pitta or pheasant – here it’s usually a monitor….
4. Skink: 1 JM, TN.
5. Flying Lizard: 1 in flight, Bukit Teresek trail, TN.
6. “Crested” Tree Lizard: 1 on tree, between canopy walk and Bukit Teresek, TN.
7. Gecko: common in all kinds of housing.
8. Tree Frog: a large one in the Mutiara dorm showers, TN.
Other interesting wildlife:
A large stick insect on Mutiara lodge grounds. An incredible large bright green grasshopper resembling two joining bright green leaves, in the dorm showers. A large bright green cicada on the ‘insect spot’, Mutiara lodge restaurant (see remark 17). Sev beautiful dragonflies at a leaking tap in an abandoned fishing lodge near Lata Berkoh cascades.
Top 10 best-looking / most anticipated new birds:
1. Great Argus
2. Banded Pitta
3. Crested Jay
4. Rufous-collared Kingfisher
5. Garnet Pitta
6. Crested Fireback
7. Lesser Shortwing
8. Scarlet-rumped Trogon
9. Malayan Laughingthrush
10. Red-bearded Bee-eater
Top 5 best mammals:
1. White-handed Gibbon
2. Leopard Cat
3. Slow Loris
4. Malayan Tapir
5. Flying Squirrel
Remco Hofland, June 2007
Oegstgeest, The Netherlands