Peninsula Malaysia - 13th - 25th November 2008

Published by David Steele (rdsteele AT myzornis.freeserve.co.uk)

Participants: David Steele and Mark Hannay

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Overview

Our initial idea had been to get a cheap flight to Singapore, travel into Malaysia from there and bird sites like Panti Forest Reserve close to the southern tip of the Peninsula. However with good value flights also available to Kuala Lumpur we changed tack and decided to fly straight to the Malaysian capital, which is much closer to several key birding sites in the central part of the Peninsula and therefore a more sensible starting point for a classic Malaysian birding itinerary.

Our trip was divided between the hill forests of Fraser’s Hill (4 days), the lowland rainforest of Taman Negara (5 days) and the mangrove and coastal habitats of Kuala Selangor Nature Park (2 days) plus a cumulative total of roughly 2 days used to travel between the sites, which are up to a couple of hundred kilometres apart. We felt we did the sites reasonable justice in the time we had available but a couple of extra days wouldn’t have gone amiss – for example an additional day at Kuala Selangor would have been handy and enabled us to visit some of the high tide wader roosts that occur locally.

November is not a classic month for visiting Malaysia as it is the start of the rainy season. Most trips go in the drier April to June period, as this is when some of the star avian attractions (like the pittas for example) are calling and so are easier to find - though “easier” is of course a relative term in this context! However November does have certain attractions for birding – principally it is the migration season and so offers excellent chances of running into species like Siberian Thrush and other winter visitors unlikely to be found in April or later. Plus all the resident forest birds are also present so there are still plenty of opportunities to find a good selection of these also.

Birding in the Taman Negara rainforest can be tough going at times due to the high humidity and neck-straining to see birds in the canopy. However if you persevere your efforts will eventually be rewarded with never to be forgotten views of some truly amazing birds. In the hill forests at Fraser’s Hill the climate is much cooler and the narrow roads bisecting the area make for much easier birding. Kuala Selangor is on the coast near Kuala Lumpur and offers relaxed birding in some different habitats – it was a good place to wind-down at the end of the trip.

Getting to Malaysia

We got a good value flight with Emirates from Glasgow to Kuala Lumpur with about a three-hour stopover each way in Dubai. With one of us based in Northern Ireland and the other in southern Scotland, Glasgow was a convenient starting point for the trip.

Travelling in Malaysia

On arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) – which is located about an hour south of the city - you will need to change enough money to Malaysian ringgit (RM) to last the entire trip. Hotels and taxi drivers require payment in RM – unlike in India or the Gambia, for example, US dollars or GBP are not generally accepted. As a rough guide, over the trip we averaged expenditure of about RM 300 (approx 50 GBP) per head per day for travel, accommodation and food. If you stay at the Mutiara resort at Taman Negara they have a facility to change currency (US or GBP) into RM so you could get additional funds there if running low. However they don’t accept payment in foreign currency as such – for some unknown reason you have to change currency first then pay in RM! Credit cards are also accepted at the Mutiara so that would be another option if running low on cash.

We used taxis to travel between the birding sites. We could easily have used buses for most of the journeys (at a fraction of the price) but obviously this would have taken much longer and eaten into valuable birding time, not something we could afford on a relatively short two-week trip. Given the relative ease and cheapness of travel by taxi we could see no benefit to hiring a car, at least for the itinerary we followed. The taxis we took were as follows:

1. KLIA to Fraser’s Hill; cost RM 180 (about 40 GBP); journey time just over 2hrs; booked at the airport taxi-desk on arrival; the taxi-desk is easily found and is after the baggage reclaim area and customs – you have to walk past it to leave the airport.

2. Fraser’s Hill to Tembeling jetty (access point for Taman Negara by boat); cost RM 240 (about 45 GBP); journey time about 2.5hrs; booked locally at Fraser’s Hill following a chance meeting with “Sami” a local taxi-driver who lives at Singapore Cottage on Jalan Magar in the town (however it should also be possible to get a taxi through either your hotel or the tourist information office in the town-centre); NB Sami was also useful for short lifts around Fraser’s Hill (and down to the Gap) so it could be worth locating him early in your stay if don’t fancy hoofing it all of the time. Singapore Cottage is easy to find - in fact Sami found us as we were walking past doing some birding along Jalan Mager.

3. Taman Negara (Kuala Tahan) to Kuala Selangor Nature Park (KSNP); cost RM 420 (about 75 GBP); journey time 4hrs; booked through LBK Restaurant on the riverfront in Kuala Tahan.

4. KSNP to KLIA; cost RM 200 (about 40 GBP); journey time 1.5-2hrs; booked through the KSNP office.

The cost of the taxis was very reasonable in view of the distances involved and when you consider that the total fare was shared between two – in fact to do the same length trips in UK or Ireland you would need to at least double the above fares.

5. Boat ride from Tembeling jetty up-river to Taman Negara (Kuala Tahan); can’t remember how much this cost but not very much (just a few RM); journey time about 3 hrs; booked on arrival at Tembeling jetty (you buy park entry permit at same time); we got the 2pm boat and were at Kuala Tahan by 5pm. Note that Kuala Tahan is now also accessible by road, but unless you are in a great rush the boat trip is still worth doing as there is some nice scenery and the chance of a few birds.

Accommodation etc

From a perusal of trip-reports available on the net, plus the fact that we were travelling out of season, we decided that we wouldn’t need to book any accommodation in advance. We used trip reports to get an idea of what the options were then simply turned up at our chosen hotel and booked in and this strategy worked fine.

At Fraser’s Hill we stayed at the Jelai Highland Resort where a twin room was RM 90 (about 18 GBP) per night with breakfast. The place was semi-deserted while we were there (hardly saw a soul in four days after we checked in!) and the restaurant was closed so we had to eat elsewhere involving a short walk into the town but this wasn’t a major problem and reduced our room rate to RM 80 per night (no breakfast but we could get this in town). The standard of the rooms was fine though showers were cold. The main advantage of the Jelai however is that it is on the edge of town, right next to good habitat and we had some good birds in the trees right in front of our balcony. If you require a higher standard of facilities then the place to stay would be the (significantly more expensive no doubt) Shahzan Hotel in the town centre (though still only a short walk from good birding) – there is a good restaurant at this hotel and we ate there most nights. A two-course evening meal at the Shahzan cost about 10 GBP per person. A couple of beers will bump the cost up a bit as alcohol is relatively expensive in Malaysia (approx 3.50 GBP for a small tin of Tiger or similar). Cheaper fare (including breakfast) is to be had at a couple of small restaurants in the town.

NB: The Gap Rest House at the bottom of the road up to Fraser’s Hill and mentioned in most trip reports is currently closed for renovation (apparently for several years). We had initially planned to stay here for a couple of nights to bird the lower levels before moving up to Fraser’s Hill itself, but had to change plans on arrival (Fraser’s Hill is just 20-30 minutes further up the road) – in retrospect, though, being based at Fraser’s Hill worked well as it is easy to get down to bird the Gap area (walk, taxi or hitch a ride).

At Taman Negara we stayed at the Mutiara Resort, which is the most expensive place to stay and is a fairly classy joint but it is worth splashing out as it is the only accommodation inside the park boundary and so is right next to the prime birding trails. There are various options here of which a twin “guest-house” room with air-con and breakfast for RM 280 (about 50 GBP) per night is probably the best value. There are also air-con chalets at RM 380 (about 70 GBP) per night. Prices however are likely to go up in the near future following completion of on-going refurbishment work, though with two people sharing the cost it should still be within the budget of most birders. The Mutiara has an excellent restaurant, which does a superb breakfast buffet and a wide range of meals at other times (including western options) for less than 10 GBP per person. There is also a bar serving beers etc and a small shop where you can buy bottled water and various snacks etc for fodder when out walking the trails.

Much cheaper accommodation and food is available across the river (i.e. outside the park) in Kuala Tahan village - this is the arrival point for Taman Negara (whether coming by road or river). From here a short boat-ride (cost just RM 1) across the river is required to reach the Mutiara resort and the birding trails. Kuala Tahan has it’s own charms, being much more of a backpacker place than the upmarket Mutiara, and is certainly worth a look (we ate at “The Family Restaurant” on a couple of nights) but the Mutiara really wins hands down as a birding base.

At Kuala Selangor we stayed in the small twin-bedded chalets at the Nature Park itself. These are very basic (ceiling fans, no air-con) but perfectly adequate and cost RM 45 (about 8 GBP) per night (i.e. about 4 GBP per head for two sharing). No food is available at the Park but it is just a short stroll into the town where there are several cheap Chinese restaurants. The office at the Park stays open well into the evening and the young staff there are very friendly and helpful. There are a couple of hotels in Kuala Selangor town (e.g. Palmas Inn) but for a birding base the Nature Park is without doubt the place to stay.

Field-guides, trip reports etc

We used the “New Holland Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia” by Craig Robson and found it to be generally very good for all species-groups. Also worth taking along was the pocket-sized “A Photographic Guide to Mammals of South-East Asia” by Charles Francis. Essential were the two small booklets “Birds of Fraser’s Hill” and “Birds of Taman Negara” by Morten Strange and Dennis Yong - these provide useful information (including sketch maps) for birding these sites, as well as checklists that were very useful when narrowing down the likely expected species. Also very useful were several recent trip reports obtained off Travellingbirder.com – particularly good were two different recent reports by Paul Jones. “A Birdwatcher’s Guide to Malaysia” by John Bransbury was useful for Taman Negara (good trail-map) and Kuala Selangor. “Where to Watch Birds in Asia” by Nigel Wheatley was an enjoyable pre-trip read, providing a good general overview of the sites and some mouth-watering species-lists. “Birds of Tropical Asia” DVD-ROM by Jelle Scharringa has sound recordings and photographs of most species that occur in Malaysia and is essential pre-trip research. “The Rough Guide to Malaysia” was also useful for background information and for reference during the trip.

Bird sounds

We used an iPod Nano loaded with songs and calls of a selection of key species downloaded from the xeno-canto-Asia website. This was very quick and easy to use in the field and was useful for confirming what calls we were hearing (e.g. for the barbets and hornbills). However we also used it to lure some of the shy forest-dwellers into view, though were always careful not to overdo this - once we’d had a decent view we stopped play-back. Any qualms we had about using this technique were lessened by the fact that there were no other birders around doing the same thing and so the disturbance caused was very minimal. The technique didn’t always work but was a real success for several of the very attractive-looking forest babblers (almost instantaneous response and much better views than would have been obtained otherwise) and other notable species that responded well included Crested Jay and Black Magpie. The main drawback of using the iPod is that there is no “record and play-back” facility so to get the most out of it requires at least some advance knowledge of calls, but on balance it was a very useful tool and, used sensibly, it certainly added an extra and enjoyable dimension to the birding. Some species actually responded just as well to a simple whistled imitation of their call.

Weather conditions etc

As November is the start of the rainy season we were expecting rain and indeed we had some on nearly every day of the trip. There was no regular pattern to the rainfall and some days had very little rain at all though on a few days we did experience tropical downpours sometimes lasting for several hours. Several times it rained all night then cleared around dawn. In general we were able to work around the rain and we never lost a significant amount of birding time. The rain and associated cloud also had the advantage of keeping the temperatures down a bit (to the point of it being quite chilly on occasion at Fraser’s Hill) and without doubt the small “falls” of Palearctic migrants that we encountered on the trip (notably at Fraser’s Hill and Kuala Selangor) were precipitated by rain and associated poor visibility. Taman Negara is much warmer than Fraser’s Hill but more noticeable than the temperature is the extremely high humidity, especially in the closed-forest, making for quite uncomfortable conditions at times on the birding trails. Kuala Selangor is hot and humid, though with occasional cooling breezes. [NB: according to locals it gets much wetter at Taman Negara in December as the rainy season really sets in and in recent years there have been some quite severe floods in the area. During such conditions the national park will likely be closed and possibly it would be better not to plan on visiting the park during this time].

Leeches and mosquitoes

At Fraser’s Hill leeches were present on some (though not all) of the trails but were a minor inconvenience. At Taman Negara the well-trodden paths seemed to have very few leeches but they became more prevalent on the less frequented trails and were a significant nuisance on the upper parts of the Tahan River trail – the best strategy was to make frequent checks and then flick them off your boots as necessary; insect repellent (50% Deet) sprayed on boots / socks also seemed to deter them a bit. We had leech socks but never used them - (1) the problem was never that bad and (2) they don’t protect against the leech’s second (and unexpected) prong of attack - dropping from above, presumably off leaves. A few mosquitoes were around most of the trails at Taman Negara and were also noticeable on occasion at Kuala Selangor – a 50% Deet spray is essential.

Daily itinerary and highlights

Day 1 - Thursday 13th November, arrival and travel to Fraser’s Hill


Arrived at KLIA in the early afternoon and got our first blast of Malaysian humidity waiting for taxi to Fraser’s Hill. The first couple of drivers weren’t interested (too far) but the third one was keen and after stopping for petrol we were soon heading north along the E1 Expressway and towards a threatening-looking tropical downpour. On the way there were plenty of Barn Swallowsand House Swifts overhead, and a few glimpses of Brahminy Kites, White-breasted Kingfishers and Common Mynas. Turning off onto minor roads at Tanjong Malim we arrived at the famous Gap Rest House (where we had hoped to stay) in the middle of a torrential rainstorm only to find that it was closed for renovations so decided to push on up the road to Fraser’s Hill arriving in the town about 5pm. Found the Jelai using the little sketch map in the “Birds of Fraser’s Hill” booklet and dumped our bags but were soon distracted by some Black-throated Sunbirds in the flowering bushes beside our balcony. Then as the restaurant at the Jelai was closed we decided to head down into town for something to eat. The rain was easing off but thick mist was still obscuring the treetops and as we walked down the road we logged a total of about ten flyover Siberian Thrushes, shooting past in ones and twos and giving a single sharp call-note and an occasional glimpse of the Zoothera under-wing pattern – obviously they were migrants pushed down by the poor weather, and an exciting start to the birding! Also saw a Streaked Spiderhunter, a superb species and one that proved to be common around the town. Had chicken fried-rice and soft drinks (no beer available) at a small open-air restaurant – it started raining heavily again and the night air was decidedly chilly but with Siberian Thrushes on the move we weren’t too bothered!

Day 2 - Friday 14th November, Fraser’s Hill

The rain had stopped by dawn (about 6am) but had been replaced by thick mist, cloaking the trees around the Jelai. Thankfully, however, this started to clear and we were soon watching our first colourful and noisy bird-wave in the trees at the front of the hotel - Silver-eared Mesias, Blue-winged Minlas, Chestnut-capped Laughingthrushes, Streaked Spiderhunters and Black-throated Sunbirds, plus a stonking Green Magpie for good measure. A couple of Dutch birders came up the road and we chatted a bit – they were on their way home from a three week trip to Indonesia and relaxing for a few days at Fraser’s Hill. As it turned out they were almost the only other birders we met on the entire trip. Continued down into town, stopping on the way to listen to a Pygmy Wren-Babbler calling from a gully beside the road – it seemed to be responding to the iPod but didn’t show. Then walked up to the Silverpark Resort, a vast, crumbling edifice of holiday apartments perched rather precariously on a hilltop. After some negotiations we were served a very tasty cooked breakfast while sitting in the sun and watching Glossy Swiftlets scooting low overhead and a couple of Grey Wagtails teetering on a nearby roof. There is an excellent viewpoint at the Silverpark and highlights of a short watch here included our only Black Eagle of the trip, skimming the canopy in typical fashion, and five Wreathed Hornbills. From here we headed down to the Bishop’s Trail which took a couple of hours to walk and was fairly quiet but still produced Collared Owlet (came in to the iPod and perched just above our heads), Black-eared Shrike-Babbler, Little Cuckoo-Dove, decent views of two female Siberian Thrushes, three Rufous-browed Flycatchers (real denizens of the undergrowth these), a male Large Niltava, several White-throated Fantails (fanning their tails as only fantails can), Mountain Tailorbirds and our first Blue Nuthatch, a local speciality and Sunda Endemic. The Bishop’s Trail is one of the better locations for Rusty-naped Pitta but as they are not calling in November there was no realistic chance of seeing one. Probably we walked past one or two without knowing it – an agonising thought! We then continued to the Hemmant Trail, by which time it was raining again and we saw almost nothing, bar our first Long-tailed Sibias of the trip, a flock of which moved noisily through. This trail comes out in the town and as we walked down the hill a nice bird-wave went past, including our first Mountain Fulvettas, Golden Babblers and Fire-tufted Barbets.

In the afternoon we did the Telekom Loop, a 4-5km long circuit that took four hours and it was dusk by the time we finished. There were several good bird-waves and highlights in these included several more Blue Nuthatches, Greater Yellownape, Speckled Piculet, Black-browed Barbet, Bronzed and Lesser Racket-tailed Drongos, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Grey-chinned Minivet, Black-eared Shrike-Babbler, Golden Babbler, Rufous-winged and Mountain Fulvettas, some very skulking Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrushes (of the distinctive endemic race peninsulae), Little Pied and Verditer Flycatchers, Chestnut-crowned Warbler and Sultan Tit. Non bird-wave species included Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle, Oriental Honey-Buzzard, Pacific Swallow, Asian House Martin, White-rumped Munia and Pygmy Wren-Babbler (heard only). After dark there were two Mountain Scops Owls calling persistently from trees above the Jelai but this is apparently a difficult species to see and sure enough a session with torches and the iPod failed to bring them into view.

Day 3 - Saturday 15th November, Fraser’s Hill

Thankfully not raining this morning and an early start to walk down the Old Road, reaching The Gap, where it was hot and sunny, by lunchtime. In general there was very little traffic - a one-way system (up and down on alternate hours) operates on the road so it would be very quiet for a while then all the cars would come along at once. It was a fine sunny morning and bird activity was very good – highlights included a magnificent pair of Rhinoceros Hornbills perched in the canopy of a big tree about 2km above The Gap, Red-bearded Bee-eater (a real stunner and one of the top birds of the trip), Red-headed Trogon (one of only two trogons seen on the entire trip so it was just as well we gave it a good look), Crimson-winged and Buff-necked Woodpeckers, Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo (a rare winter visitor), Indian Cuckoo, Green-billed Malkoha, Black-and-Crimson Oriole, Ashy Bulbul, Grey-chinned Minivet, Little Pied, Hill Blue and Mugimaki Flycatchers, White-hooded Babbler, White-browed Shrike-Babbler, Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Black Laughingthrush, Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler, Green Magpie and Yellow-bellied, Mountain Leaf and Eastern Crowned Warblers, most of these being bird-wave species. We tried for Marbled Wren-Babbler (a key local speciality and Sunda Endemic) by walking into a couple of spiny stream gullies about 3km above The Gap (as detailed in several trip reports) and playing the iPod but without success - however this species is extremely difficult even in the breeding season, which is a shame as it looks like a bird well worth seeing.

We hitched a ride back up to Fraser’s Hill on the back of what turned out to be a very oily pick-up truck, then a heavy downpour necessitated a temporary retreat to the Jelai. We ventured out again in the late afternoon and walked through town to the New Road, going down the hill for a kilometre or so, to the first bridge - birds included two Wreathed Hornbills, Little Cuckoo-Dove, Black-browed and Fire-tufted Barbets, Mountain, Yellow-vented and Black-crested Bulbuls, White-rumped Munia, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Black-throated Sunbird and Streaked Spiderhunter. The road is currently closed to traffic due to a landslide but it is possible to walk all the way down (about 12km) and be collected at the bottom of the road, which is under 1km (though the map in the Fraser’s Hill booklet suggests otherwise) from the bottom of the Old Road - this would be an alternative to walking down the Old Road.

Day 4 - Sunday 16th November, Fraser’s Hill

We were at the barrier at the top of the Old Road by 6.45am (pre-dawn) hoping for Malayan Whistling-Thrush (see Birding Asia 6, pp75-76). No luck on this score but as the sky lightened a stunning pair of Slaty-backed Forktails performed in the open at the side of Jalan Mager just up from where we were standing and a couple of Siberian Thrushes flew quickly over. Scanning the forest-canopy across the valley with the scope produced several Mountain Imperial Pigeons, a Black-and-Crimson Oriole and a bird wave that included half a dozen Mountain Leaf-Warblers, several Golden Babblers and a dozen Grey-chinned Minivets looking very pretty in the early sun. House Swifts, Himalayan Swiftlets and Asian House Martins were feeding over the forest. We had hoped to get a lift down to The Gap but no vehicles had come along (presumably because it was early on a Sunday morning and the locals were having a well earned lie-in!) so quickly had to come up with a “plan B” – decided on a walk along Jalan Mager, where a mystery song coming from dense cover transpired (with the help of the iPod) into a very smart Streaked Wren-Babbler. Also enjoyed very close views of a female Siberian Thrush and a decent bird-wave included Black-eared Shrike-Babbler, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Mountain Bulbul and Chestnut-crowned Warbler. Met Sami (a local taxi-driver who lives in Singapore Cottage) and arranged a car for next day and also for journey to Taman Negara later in the week.

In the afternoon did the Pine Tree Hill Trail - this trail starts just before the High Pines bungalow and is one for the more adventurous as there are some very steep, rough and muddy sections, though it is gradually being improved. It climbs onto some much wilder forested ridges and it was certainly an experience not to be missed. We set off at 11.30am and finally turned back just after the “Pine Tree Hill 4km” marker, at which point the trail was becoming narrow and trickier to follow - the round trip to this point and back took about 6 hrs. An early start and a full day on the trail would be required to make Pine Tree Hill, and apparently you are supposed to sign-in at the tourist office before attempting this. Sightings included at least a dozen very noisy Wreathed Hornbills, Speckled Piculet, Greater Yellownape, Black-eared Shrike-Babbler, Malaysian Cuckoo-Shrike, Orange-breasted Trogon (only one of the trip), Arctic Warbler, Little Pied and Rufous-browed Flycatchers and Large Niltava. Top honours, however, went to the female Mountain Peacock-Pheasant that showed (for one of us anyhow!) on the trail as we returned towards the starting point, just 300m or so in from the entrance – this part of the trail is becoming a bit of a stake out for this species (see Birding World 21, No. 9, October 2008) but considerable luck and field-craft is still required to get a glimpse. Back at the Jelai we came across two Grey Nightjars (migrants from the Palearctic) as they hawked for insects in the gathering dusk, and the Mountain Scops Owls were calling again after dark. No rain today of any note.

Day 5 - Monday 17th November, Fraser’s Hill

Another pre-dawn stakeout by the barrier at the top of the Old Road but the Malayan Whistling-Thrush wasn’t playing ball, though fairly certain we heard calls of this species coming from the deep ravine below the road - maybe the waterfall area (which we didn’t have time to visit) would be a better bet for this bird, or maybe they are easier in the breeding season? We were then collected by Sami, dropped off about two-thirds of the way down the Old Road (just above the hut with yellow sign) and walked the rest of the way down to The Gap, arriving there about 9am. The walk down was much quieter for birds than the previous day (the intermittent rain and fog probably didn’t help) but we still notched up Yellow-vented Green-Pigeon, Black-browed Barbet, Green-billed Malkoha, Striped Tit-Babbler, Little Pied and Verditer Flycatchers, Grey-chinned Minivets and couple of Sultan Tits. Along the road below The Gap Rest House, and now in hot sun, we added White-bellied Yuhina, Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, Black-crested Bulbul, Blue-winged Leafbird, Blue-eared Barbet (heard only) and Common Tailorbird. An hour spent scanning over the valley from a roadside vantage point proved productive, with 10+ Brown-backed Needletails feeding over the forest (very impressive birds), a squadron of 50+ Fork-tailed Swifts, several Grey-rumped Treeswifts, Himalayan Swiftlets and Asian House Martins, a Crested Serpent Eagle, a juvenile Blyth’s Hawk Eagle and a distant Wreathed Hornbill all seen. We then started back up the Old Road and a small bird-wave included our only Large Wood-Shrike of the trip plus Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, Grey-chinned Minivets and four more Sultan Tits. Even better, however, was a tinyBlack-thighed Falconet making foraging-sallies from the top of a dead tree below the road. Also heard the sonorous honking of Rhinoceros Hornbills at the same place where we had them yesterday, near the hut with the yellow sign about 2km above The Gap, but didn’t see them this time.

Sami met us just above the hut and drove us up to the Telekom Loop, where dogged again by mist and rain but we connected with one particularly good bird-wave including at least four Blue Nuthatches, more Sultan Tits, many Chestnut-capped Laughingthrushes, Mountain Fulvettas and Grey-chinned Minivets and only our second Malaysian Cuckoo-Shrike. Picked up again at 4.30pm and drove to High Pines where had another try for the Mountain Peacock Pheasant but no luck, though there were awesome views over the densely forested hills wreathed in mist and bathed in the late afternoon light, stretching away unbroken to the north. The walk back down towards the Jelai in the last rays of the sun was quite lively and produced a calling Pygmy Wren-Babbler, two Wedge-tailed Green-Pigeons extremely well concealed in a tree overhanging the road and a Golden-throated Barbet perched up on a dead snag, as well as very close views of a Brown Shrike (showing the pale greyish crown of the Eastern Palearctic race leucionensis) and a Brown Flycatcher.

Day 6 - Tuesday 18th November, Fraser’s Hill and travel to Taman Negara

Our last morning at Fraser’s Hill dawned fine and sunny and we had time for a walk from the Jelai down to the Hemmant Trail. On the way down we stopped to watch several Yellow-browed Warblers (perhaps freshly arrived migrants?) flitting actively at the top of pine trees by the road, with a couple of Mountain Leaf-Warblers, a femaleLarge Niltava and several Grey-chinned Minivets for company. Unlike our first visit there, Hemmant Trail was productive – we hit a good bird-wave of at least 18 species, including Greater Yellownape, Grey-throated Babbler, Golden Babbler, Black-eared Shrike-Babbler, a male Large Niltava and excellent eye-level views of Eastern Crowned Warbler and more Yellow-browed and Mountain-Leaf Warblers. Also two Streaked Wren-Babblers and a pair of Buff-breasted Babblers, singing and showing well near the trail in response to the iPod.

By 10am we were heading down the Old Road in our taxi, but had to stop for a few minutes to admire a family group of three Siamang Gibbons, a species we had heard calling during the preceding days but up until now not managed to see. Arrived at Kuala Tembeling about 1pm, bought boat ticket to Taman Negara and said farewells to Sami. Several Brown-throated Sunbirds and Orange-bellied and Yellow-vented Flowerpeckers were in a shade tree by the jetty. The two and a half hour trip up-river to Taman Negara was quite productive for birds – we logged two Black Hornbills (perched in riverside trees as we approached Kuala Tahan), two Slender-billed Crows (at forest edge), a Japanese Sparrowhawk, a Chinese Pond Heron, 15+ Red-wattled Lapwings, 6+ Common Sandpipers, 4+ White-throated and single Black-capped and Common Kingfishers, 6+ Blue-throated Bee-eaters, a Dollarbird, two Hill Mynas and 100’s of swiftlets (which we found somewhat puzzling but identified retrospectively as Germain’s Swiftlets), Barn Swallows and Pacific Swallows. Finally arrived at Kuala Tahan about 5pm, crossed the river on one of the little ferries and checked into the Mutiara Resort. Just had time for a quick walk along the trail by the Tembeling before dark and were lucky to see a pair of Large Green Pigeons (only ones of the trip) and there were Grey-rumped Treeswifts and Silver-rumped Needletails flying overhead. Back at the resort and in fading light a flock of at least 50 unidentified green-pigeons flew swiftly into roost and gave an exciting hint of many new birds to come. No rain today, at least during daylight hours.

Day 7 - Wednesday 19th November, Taman Negara

We were due a (relatively) leisurely start and in any case had by now figured out that the birds in Malaysia don’t seem to be up that early. The fruiting trees right in front of our chalet were full of birds and so kept us busy for an hour or so – there were easily 20+ each of Asian Fairy-Bluebird and Asian Glossy Starling, half a dozen Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrots, a dozen Ashy Minivets (a Palearctic migrant), several Red-eyed Bulbuls, an Arctic Warbler, superb views of a Coppersmith Barbet and two Hill Mynas flew over. Also some confusing green-pigeons but we were starting to find our feet and soon realised they were mainly Thick-billed Green Pigeons, but also including a pair of Little Green-Pigeons. On the short walk down to the Tahan Hide just behind the resort we encountered a group of seven Crested Firebacks just off the trail and giving superb views as they worked their way past, seemingly oblivious to our presence. From the hide itself there were lots of birds in the fruiting trees, including two male Black-and-White Bulbuls and two Gold-whiskered Barbets. Four Red Junglefowls (a very handsome male accompanied by three more subtle females) came out in the open at the edge of the clearing and three Wild Boars also showed well in the open. The Swamp Loop was quiet but we did see Crimson-winged Woodpecker, Purple-naped Sunbird and Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker, the last two being new for the trip.

The afternoon found us on the Jenet Muda Trail, which was very quiet but worth the effort for a memorable encounter with two Banded Broadbills that gave prolonged views as they foraged in the mid-storey close to the trail. The steep climb up to Bukit Teresek produced a small bird-wave – Spotted Fantail, Maroon-breasted Philentoma and White-bellied Yuhina. From the viewpoint at the top we gulped down water and could hear the deep, resonant calls of Rhinoceros Hornbills coming from the forest below us – the honking became more frequent then eventually two birds took flight and gave a nice view as they glided down-slope through the canopy, with surprising agility for such huge birds. Back at the resort we were treated to scope-filling views of a Black-thighed Falconet, then used-up the last of the daylight with a return visit to the Tahan Hide, where we watched 20+ Brown-backed Needletails sailing effortlessly over Bukit Teresek and listened to the spine-tingling call of a Helmeted Hornbill coming from somewhere out in the forest (we were destined not to see this amazing species during our stay). Back at the Mutiara we organized a boat for next morning for the 8.5km trip up-river to Latah Berkoh (cost about 200 RM) from where we planned to walk back to the resort along the Tahan Trail. At sunset we crossed the river to Kuala Tembeling, hoping to look for Bat Hawk while eating at one of the little floating restaurants, but as dusk fell it started raining heavily.

Day 8 – Thursday 20th November, Taman Negara

Our boat to Latah Berkoh set off at 8am, which was early enough as we were the first boat of the day. It was a fine morning and birds seen as we travelled up-river included a Lesser Fish-Eagle, two Rhinoceros and seven Bushy-crested Hornbills, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Straw-headed Bulbul and Silver-rumped Needletails. We got the boatman to drop us opposite Lata Berkoh (i.e. on the eastern bank) and then walked back to the park HQ along the Tahan Trail. This was a seven-hour hike (including stops for birding) and is through a remote area – we didn’t meet any other people until about a kilometre or so from the HQ. There were lots of leeches and the trail was quite tricky to follow at a few places on the upper stretch, though gradually became easier. It was great to get into the wilder-feeling forest away from the resort but if you are not a confident navigator you might want to consider hiring a guide. Highlights on the long walk back, which was done partly in the rain, included a brief female Crestless Fireback scuttling off the trail, Garnet Pitta heard (at least two called back following a speculative play of the iPod) Raffle’s, Chestnut-breasted and Black-bellied Malkohas, Crimson-winged, Buff-rumped and Buff-necked Woodpeckers, Crested Jay (an amazing species and comes charging in to the iPod), Spotted Fantail, Grey-headed Flycatcher, Asian Paradise-Flycatcher, Hairy-backed Bulbul, Lesser Cuckoo-Shrike, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Short-tailed Babbler, Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler and Purple-naped Sunbird, plus the wonderfully atmospheric calls of Great Argus, Helmeted Hornbills and gibbons echoing through the forest at several places. We arrived back at the Mutiara looking extremely dishevelled and went straight to the bar for a cold beer. Later, after a shower and a bit of a rest, spent a relaxed hour or so around sunset just in front of the chalet. Birds included several Blue-tailed Bee-eaters as well as the by now familiar Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrots and Asian Fairy-Bluebirds and various bulbuls, and good views of Pacific Swifts were up for grabs as about a dozen or so fed low overhead. Finally as the light faded a Rufous Woodpecker flew quickly in and disappeared into a palm-tree, presumably to roost for the night. Before dinner we visited the park office to book a stay for the next night in one of the forest hides – opted for Blau Hide (about 4km to the south) as it is visited by few tourists and sounded worth a try.

Day 9 – Friday 21st November, Taman Negara

Heavy rain during the night had cleared by dawn and we started the day with a quick look from the Tahan Hide – there was still decent activity in the fruiting trees and in addition to the “usual species” we added Lesser Green Leafbird and Grey-bellied Bulbul. The Red Junglefowls showed well again at the edge of the clearing, though the number of females had dwindled to two……maybe we shouldn’t have ordered the chicken curry the previous night. Then nearly two hours on the Swamp Loop, most of which was spent trying to track down a calling Rail-Babbler – it was responding to the iPod and coming quite close but wouldn’t show. Frustrating, but we did see Buff-rumped Woodpecker, Moustached Babbler, Grey-cheeked Bulbul and White-rumped Shama. On the Jenet Muda we added two male Crested Firebacks, Rufous Piculet, Rufous-crowned Babbler, Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler and Asian Paradise Flycatcher. During the morning we had heard several Great Argus calling but though often quite close they remained frustratingly out of view, until, at about 1pm near the highest point of the Genet Muda we came across a male that had his display-ground right by the trail – this huge, amazing bird was oblivious to our presence and approachable down to a few metres, even calling a few times while we watched and was easily bird of the trip up to that point. About 30 minutes later, however, just as we were nearing the resort, a Banded Pitta flushed without warning off the side of the trail above the Tembeling. Thankfully we were able to quickly relocate it – it was a stunning male and gave totally gripping views as it hopped carefully around on the slope below the trail. Bird of the trip without any doubt.

In the late afternoon, after enjoying a good (perhaps too good!) lunch at the Mutiara, we took a short boat ride down-river and then walked about 45 minutes up the trail, which, due to some confusing and misleading signs, eventually brought us to Yong Hide. From there we re-orientated and continued the short distance to Blau Hide. Before dark we had time to explore along the very muddy trail though dense forest to the small limestone caves at Gua Telinga. It was late in the day and raining but a party of Black-throated Babblers responded well to the iPod and gave great views, and Rhinoceros and Black Hornbills and Garnet Pitta were heard calling. The night in Blau Hide was rather uncomfortable it has to be said – we had borrowed sheets from the chalet and hired foam-mats from reception at the Mutiara and these made the hard wooden bunks in the hide just, though only just, bearable. A mosquito net wasn’t necessary as there were few insects, just the occasional bat flitting in and out. The forest hides are large wooden structures built on stilts and in front of Blau there is a small mud-wallow but despite shining a powerful torch onto this at intervals throughout the night we didn’t see any mammals, which was a bit disappointing (Malayan Tapir is possible but if you really want to see these then Kumbang Hide is apparently the best spot, though you are unlikely to have it to yourself). However staying out in the forest overnight, far from the comforts of the Mutiara, was a great experience. As darkness fell we were completely surrounded by the incredible cacophony of the rainforest at night, a wall of unidentifiable sounds, constantly changing in volume and pitch. This lasted continuously until just before dawn, when a variety of subtly different sounds gradually started up, then the sky lightened and another day in the rainforest had begun.

Day 10 – Saturday 22nd November, Taman Negara

Having survived the night in Blau Hide we had a breakfast of chocolate and popcorn then by 7.30am were off along the trail back towards Kuala Tahan, a two to three-hour walk depending on progress. Some good birds were seen including two Crested Jays, several Asian Paradise-Flycatchers and Maroon-breasted Philentomas, White-crowned Forktail (near the junction to Gua Telinga caves), Maroon and Chequer-throated Woodpeckers, Rufous-crowned Babbler, Black Magpie and our only Black-and-Red Broadbills of the trip. The last bit of the trail had some misleading sign-posting and involved a bit of a climb then a seemingly interminable and very steep descent that brought us out on the river bank from where we waved-up a boat to take us across to the Mutiara and just in time for a late second breakfast!

In the afternoon we crossed over to Kuala Tahan village and after a bit of asking around managed to track down a local bird-guide called Amzani. He new roosting locations in the forest for Blue-winged Pitta and Rufous-collared Kingfisher but was booked up for that night and arranged for his friend to meet us in the evening and take us out on a spotlighting trip into the oil-palm plantations around the village. Having sorted this out we then followed the road past the police station towards the northern edge of the village. In the mid-day heat there weren’t many birds in evidence but we saw Brown-throated Sunbird, Spotted Dove, Oriental Magpie-Robin, Common Myna and Eurasian Tree Sparrow, though the highlight was a small troupe of Dusky Leaf-Monkeys (a beautifully marked species) in tall trees near the end of the road. A morning walk along this road would probably be quite good.

Back at the Mutiara we had good views of a party of at least eight Crested Partridges in the dense forest just behind the resort, then continued onto the Swamp Loop were highlights included a flock of Chestnut-rumped Babblers (responding well to the iPod), a Buff-rumped Woodpecker and two Crested Jays, plus Rail-Babbler heard calling again. At sunset we crossed the river again for the spotlighting trip, which involved driving through the oil-palm plantations for a couple of hours on the back of a 4x4 and was excellent – we didn’t see any nightjars or owls (though these are possible) but had superb views of five different Leopard Cats and a Common Palm Civit. Another group that we met in the same area had also seen a Slow Loris, while we also had amazing point-blank views of roosting White-throated Kingfisher, Spotted Dove, Asian Magpie-Robin and Common Tailorbird.

Day 11 – Sunday 23rd November, Taman Negara and travel to Kuala Selangor

Our last morning at Taman Negara and we had time to look around the resort and also walk the Jenet Muda Trail. Birds around the resort included Oriental Pied Hornbill as well as the by now familiar Asian Fairy-Bluebirds and Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrots. However the Tahan Hide was much quieter than usual and we noticed that very few fruits remained on the trees, having been striped over the previous few days. However there was plenty of aerial activity, with a mixed flock of Brown-backed and Silver-rumped Needletails, Fork-tailed and House Swifts, Germain’s Swiftlets and Grey-rumped Treeswifts feeding over Bukit Teresek. We decided to do the Jenet Muda in the opposite direction to before, starting along the trail by the Tembeling. Perhaps our best session on the Jenet Muda, with highlights being a Yellow-bellied Bulbul (a small, forest-interior species) low down by the trail, two Striped Wren-Babblers, a Short-tailed Babbler, a group of Black Magpies and a Chestnut-naped Forktail. We got the forktail, a real stunner, by carefully following the calls up a stream gully and stopping regularly to scan ahead – before too long it showed well in the open in the middle of the gully, then suddenly it was gone again into the dense under-storey.

We left Kuala Tahan and Taman Negara by a slightly unorthodox route, clambering with our bags up a steep slope through what appeared to be the local rubbish-tip but at the top our taxi was waiting as promised and we were soon heading off down smooth tarmac through oil-palm plantations, though it was good to see plenty of forest still on the nearby hills. The journey to Kuala Selangor - initially along the main East-West Highway then skirting around Kuala Lumpur to the coast - took four hours and was uneventful for birds though we did see a couple of Black-shouldered Kites and careful checking of Common Mynas produced at least one Purple-backed Starling. We arrived at the Nature Park about 6pm and took a quick walk down to the main observation tower just in time to see the sun set over the Strait of Malacca and dozens of Brahminy Kites and Large-billed Crows streaming out towards the sea. A couple of Purple Herons showed well in the marsh just below us and there were also hundreds of swiftlets feeding overhead. These we identified as Germain’s Swiftlets (a split from Edible-nest Swiftlet) – they looked identical to the ones we had seen at Tamen Negara, but were paler below than the birds at Fraser’s Hill, which we thought were Himalayan Swiftlets; heavy rain after dark.

Day 12 – Monday 24th November, Kuala Selangor

It was still raining in the morning though it soon eased off enough for us to venture out along the tracks around the lagoon and onto the mangrove boardwalk. This proved very productive, with a peak in activity in late morning after the rain finally cleared. Highlights included close views of three Sunda Pygmy Woodpeckers, several Common Flamebacks, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Indian, Little Bronze and Drongo Cuckoos, Pink-necked Green-Pigeons, Tiger Shrike, two Eye-browed Thrushes, Brown Flycatcher, Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Ruby-cheeked, Brown-throated and Olive-backed Sunbirds, numerous Arctic Warblers and several Yellow-browed Warblers, including great views of both Phylloscopus together in the same tree. The wheezy calls of Flyeaters were often to be heard both from the tracks and from the mangrove boardwalk and eventually we saw a few of these odd, warbler-like little birds and also a single Mangrove Whistler.

A section of newly constructed boardwalk leads down to the mangrove-edge from where there is a view out over the extensive mudflats at the mouth of the Selangor River– here there were 100’s of waders, but distant and most were familiar Western Palearctic species, though we did pick out some sand-plovers and a few Terek Sandpipers amongst the many Common Redshanks, Black-tailed Godwits and Eurasian Curlews. There were also 100’s of egrets (mainly Great) and we counted a total of eight Lesser Adjutants standing out on the mudflats. Gull-billed, Whiskered and Common Terns were feeding in the main river channel. The lagoon itself is rather overgrown and not attractive to waders but is good for several species of kingfishers, Striated Heron and White-breasted Waterhen and we also saw several Water Monitors including one particularly huge individual. A watch from one of the observation towers around the middle of the day produced a few migrating raptors, most notably at least 15 Black Bazas, a remarkable looking species and a long-distance migrant within south Asia. In the afternoon we explored the area around the lighthouse on Bukit Melawati, a wooded hill beside the Nature Park and a popular spot with local day-trippers who come to feed the Silvered Leaf-Monkeys and Long-tailed Macaques that frequent the area. The monkey feeding makes a colourful spectacle and the area also produced a few additional species, including Lineated and Coppersmith Barbets, Peaceful Dove, Brown-streaked Flycatcher (a scarce migrant) and numerous Black-naped Orioles. The hill is an excellent viewpoint and Brahminy Kites were constantly in view. Buffy Fish-Owls apparently roost in the large trees around the hill but the chances of finding one without precise directions and / or a local guide must be remote.

Later we went for a leisurely walk around the lagoon. It was much quieter than in the morning but we had very close views of a Brown Shrike (the Tiger Shrike present at the same spot in the morning appeared to have gone) and enjoyed watching Collared and Black-capped Kingfishers in the nice evening light. The highlight however came at about 6pm when we spotted a movement low down in thick bushes along the lagoon side of the main coastal bund – it was a Mangrove Pitta, one of the key species to see at Kuala Selangor and our second pitta of the trip. It gave good views and we were able to see the large bill and a couple of other more subtle features that distinguish it from the similar Blue-winged Pitta, which occurs as a winter-migrant in the area.

Back at the Park HQ we tried to arrange some kind of an excursion for the next day. There is a big wader roost at a power station down the coast and the staff were very enthusiastic about this but there was a snag - at least 24 hours notice is required to get the necessary permits to visit the site. As we were flying home late the next day a visit to the roost was out for us, which was disappointing as it would have offered a mouth-watering chance to look for some of the rarer species that winter along this coast such as Great Knot, Asian Dowitcher, Nordmann’s Greenshank and maybe even the recently discovered White-faced Plover. However as some consolation the staff kindly agreed to try and arrange a short boat-trip for us the next afternoon. Just after dark there were two Large-tailed Nightjars “chunking” from near the Park entrance then later on we heard a Barred Eagle Owl calling quietly from a large tree beside chalet #9, but it eluded all attempts to locate it with the torches.

Day 13 - Tuesday 25th November, Kuala Selangor and departure

Our last day in Malaysia dawned fine and sunny and we started with another walk around the lagoon and along the mangrove boardwalk. Many of the species from the previous morning were seen again and we also added Yellow Bittern, Laced Woodpecker, Chesnut-winged Cuckoo, scope-filling views of a perched Crested Serpent-Eagle, a brief Pied Triller, some Ashy Minivets and a restless flock of half a dozenEye-browed Thrushes, which, along with the cuckoo and the minivets, were presumably freshly arrived migrants. Best bird though was probably the little male Mangrove Blue Flycatcher that perched obligingly on the wooden handrail of the boardwalk before disappearing back into the dense foliage.

In the heat of the afternoon we did the boat-trip, going out with a local fisherman into the river mouth at Sungai Buloh just to the south of Kuala Selangor. It was high tide and there were hundreds of Great and Little Egrets roosting in the fringing mangroves and once we had got our eye in we also picked out a few Intermediate Egrets. There were also at least half a dozen Lesser Adjutants and then there was great excitement when we picked out a Milky Stork and were able to get close views of this rare species, listed as Vulnerable by BirdLife and occurring mainly in Indonesia and with just a slim toehold in Peninsular Malaysia. There were also plenty of Brahminy andBlack-eared Kites to be seen and a pair of White-bellied Sea-Eagles, an absolutely magnificent raptor, soared directly overhead. Dozens of Whiskered Terns were flying close alongside as we scudded along and debated heading out to a couple of small offshore islets but the sea was too choppy for our small boat and reluctantly we turned back to the harbour - the short trip had certainly been well worth it.

Back at the Nature Park we had time for a last walk around the lagoon, where we saw a couple of Smooth-coated Otters and enjoyed more nice views of Collared Kingfishers, Oriental White-eyes, Common Ioras, Ashy Tailorbirds, Arctic Warblers and the various sunbirds – all common species in these parts but the last of their kind we were likely to see for some time. Our taxi (which turned out to be the little staff-car from the Nature Park) left about 5.30pm and we made good time to KLIA, arriving there in under two-hours from Kuala Selangor and notching up a couple of roadside Black-shouldered Kites and White-throated Kingfishers en-route before darkness fell. At the airport we clambered out of the car into the warm tropical night but all too soon were in the air-conditioned cocoon of the terminal building, our long journey back to the European winter underway. Probably we were ready for a break after nearly two weeks of more or less non-stop birding in sometimes challenging conditions but we’d notched up in the region of 250 species and had the satisfaction of finding some of South Asia’s most exciting birds for ourselves.

Great Argus
Great Argus, Jenet Muda Trail, Taman Negara, November 2008, David Steele

Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot
Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Taman Negara, November 2008, David Steele

Pink-necked Green Pigeons
Pink-necked Green Pigeons, Kuala Selangor, November 2008, David Steele

Collared Kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher, Kuala Selangor, November 2008, David Steele

Species Lists

FH - Fraser's Hill; TN - Taman Negara; KS - Kuala Selangor; Sunda - species endemic to Sunda sub-region (extreme south Thailand and Myanmar, Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra and Java); O - Oriental region; SEA - South East Asia; Pal - Palearctic; [ ] species heard only

1. Crested Partridge
Rollulus rouloul, Sunda, TN - nice views of a group of 8+ just behind the Mutiara, 22/11
2. Red Junglefowl
Gallus gallus, O, TN - a party of four (one male, three females) showed well from Tahan Hide on morning of 19/11 and again at the same spot (minus one female) on 21/11. KS - heard calling from the denser woodland and one or two glimpsed flying across tails on 24/11 and 25/11
3. Crested Fireback
Lophura ignite, Sunda, TN - close views of seven (five males, two females) from trail just behind the Mutiara chalets, 19/11; two males Jenet Muda Trail, 21/11
4. Crestless Fireback
Lophura erythrophthalma, Sunda, TN - a female seen briefly, upper part of the Tahan Trail, 20/11, though probably not 'tick-able views'
5. Mountain Peacock Pheasant
Polyplectron inopinatum, Sunda, FH - a female seen about 300m in from the entrance to Pine Tree Hill Trail, late afternoon 16/11
6. Great Argus
Argusianus argus, Sunda, TN - several heard calling Tahan Trail, 20/11 and Jenet Muda Trail, 21/11; then a superb male seen on the trail near high-point of Jenet Muda, about 1300hrs, 21/11
7. Speckled Piculet
Picumnus innominatus, O, FH - singles seen in bird-waves Telekom Loop, 14/11 and Pine Tree Hill Trail, 16/11
8. Rufous Piculet
Sasia abnormis, Sunda, TN - one Jenet Muda Trail, 21/11
9. Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker
Dendrocopos moluccensis, Sunda, KS - close views of three from the paths and boardwalk, 24/11
10. Crimson-winged Woodpecker
Picus puniceus, Sunda, FH - one Old Road, 15/11; TN - one Swamp Loop, 19/11; 6+ Tahan Trail, 20/11; 2+ Jenet Muda Trail, 23/11
11. Greater Yellownape
P. flavinucha, O, FH - two Telekom Loop 14/11; one Old Road, 15/11; one Pine Tree Hill Trail, 16/11; one Hemmant Trail, 18/11
12. Chequer-throated Woodpecker
P. mentalis, Sunda, TN - one Gua Telinga Trail, 22/11
13. Laced Woodpecker
P. vittatus, SE, KS - one from the paths, 25/11
14. Common Flameback
Dinopium javanense, O, KS - several from the paths and boardwalk, 24/11 and 25/11
15. Maroon Woodpecker
Blythipicus rubiginosus, Sunda, TN - two Gua Telinga Trail, 22/11
16. Rufous Woodpecker
Celeus brachyurus, O, TN - one flew into a palm tree at dusk at the Mutiara resort, 20/11
17. Buff-rumped Woodpecker
Meiglyptes tristis, Sunda, TN - 4+ Tahan Trail, 20/11; one Swamp Loop, 21/11 and 22/11
18. Buff-necked Woodpecker
M. tukki, Sunda, FH - one in a bird wave about km 95 down the Old Road, 15/11; TN - one with two Buff-rumped Woodpeckers, Tahan trail, 20/11
19. Fire-tufted Barbet
Psilopogon pyrolophus, Sunda, FH - fairly common, frequently heard calling and a few seen most days, even near the centre of town; often in bird-waves; also down the Old Road
20. Lineated Barbet
Megalaima lineate, O, KS - one seen on Bukit Melawati and a couple of others heard calling around the lagoon
21. Gold-whiskered Barbet
M. chrysopogon, Sunda, TN - one or two seen with bulbuls, green-pigeons etc in fruiting trees around the Mutiara and from Taha hide
22. Golden-throated Barbet
M. franklinii, O, FH - one with Fire-tufted Barbets in the top of a tree near High Pines, evening of 17/11 was our only sighting, but a few others possibly heard calling around the area
23. Black-browed Barbet
M. oorti, O, FH - fairly common around the area; often heard and a few seen well e.g. Telekom Loop, top of the New Road and down the Old Road
24. [Blue-eared Barbet
M. australis], O, FH - one or two heard calling just above the Gap, 15/11 and 17/11; KS - heard calling on 25/11
25. Coppersmith
M. haemacephala, O, TN - two or three seen well in fruiting trees at the Mutiara; KS - one seen well on Bukit Melawati, 24/11
26. Bushy-crested Hornbill
Anorrhinus galeritus, Sunda, TN - a flock of seven flew over on the boat-trip up to Latah Berkoh, about 0830hrs, 20/11
27. Wreathed Hornbill
Aceros undulates, SEA, FH - appeared to be fairly common around the area; we saw five in flight from the viewpoint at the Silverpark, 14/11; two in flight over the New Road, 15/11; 12+ Pine Tree Hill Trail, 16/11 (noisy but mainly in the canopy and hard to see); one perched up distantly at the Gap, 17/11; an impressive species, like all the big hornbills
28. Oriental Pied Hornbill
Anthracoceros albirostris, O, TN - one in trees at the Mutiara on our last morning there, 23/11
29. Black Hornbill
A. malayanus, Sunda, TN - two singles perched high in tall riverside trees as we approached Kuala Tahan, 18/11 were the only ones of the trip
30. Rhinoceros Hornbill
Buceros rhinoceros, Sunda, FH - a pair showed well in a big emergent tree just above the Gap, about 1230hrs on 15/11, viewing from near hut with yellow sign between km 93/94, and were heard calling from the same area on 17/11; TN -calls and wing-beats heard several times while walking the trails; decent views of two from the top of Bukit Teresk, 19/11 and two flew over on the boat-trip up to Latah Berkoh early on 20/11. Stupendous birds!
31. [Helmeted Hornbill
Rhinoplax vigil], Sunda, TN - it was a bit disappointing not to see this amazing species but the calls were heard echoing through the forest on several occasions e.g. from Tahan hide and from the upper Tahan trail opposite Latah Berkoh.
32. Red-headed Trogon
Harpactes erythrocephalus , O, FH - a male at about km 95 down the Old Road, 15/11
33. Orange-breasted Trogon
H. oreskios, SEA, FH - one (probably a female) along the trail to Pine Tree Hill, afternoon of 16/11
34. Red-bearded Bee-eater
Nyctyornis amictus, Sunda, FH - one at about km 94 down the Old Road, 15/11 was a real stunner and easily one of the top birds of the trip
35. Blue-throated Bee-eater
Merops viridis, O, TN - 6+ on the boat-trip from Tembeling to Kuala Tahan, 18/11; one on the boat-trip up to Latah Berkoh, 20/11; 6+ on wires opposite the Mutiara, evening of 20/11
36. Blue-tailed Bee-eater
M. phillippinus, O, KS - one on 24/11 and two or three on 25/11
37. Common Kingfisher
Alcedo atthis, O / Pal, TN - one on the boat-trip from Tembeling to Kuala Tahan, 18/11;
KS - 2+ around the lagoon, 24/11 and 25/11
38. Collared Kingfisher
Todiramphus chloris, O, KS - up to three around the lagoon, 24/11 and 25/11
39. Black-capped Kingfisher
Halcyon pileata, O, TN - one on the boat-trip from Tembeling to Kuala Tahan, 18/11;
KS - 4+ around the lagoon and in the channels, 24/11 and 25/11
40. White-throated Kingfisher
Halcyon smyrnensis, O / Pal, Obviously widespread and fairly common in man-made habitats - a few roadside birds were seen on all of our taxi-journeys. TN - 4+ on the boat-trip from Tembeling to Kuala Tahan, 18/11; one roosting in the oil-palms near Kuala Tembeling, 22/11 (spot-lighting trip); KS - one on 24/11
41. Stork-billed Kingfisher
H. capensis, O, TN - two on the boat-trip up to Latah Berkoh, 20/11; one on the river by the Mutiara, 22/11
42. Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo
Hierococcyx nisicolor, O / Pal, FH - one gave good views as it sat in the mid-storey between km 96 and km 95 along the Old Road, 15/11. Listed only as a hypothetical species for Fraser's Hill but would be expected to occur (as a winter migrant from the Palearctic).
43. Indian Cuckoo
Cuculus micropterus, O / Pal, FH - one in a bird-wave below km 96, Old Road, 15/11; KS - one in trees along the main bund, 24/11
44. Little Bronze Cuckoo
Chrysococcyx minutillus, O, KS - a male gave very close views as it fed in a small tree by one of the paths, 24/11 and presumably the same bird in the same tree on 25/11
45. Drongo Cuckoo
Surniculus lugubris, O, KS - one from the mangrove boardwalk on first morning, 24/11
46. Chestnut-winged Cuckoo
Clamator coromandus, O, KS - one from the mangrove boardwalk on second morning, 25/11
47. Asian Koel
Eudynamys scolopacea, O, KS - a male showed well from one of the paths, 24/11
48. Black-bellied Malkoha
Phaenicophaeus diardi, Sunda, TN - one in a bird-wave, upper Tahan Trail, 20/11
49. Chestnut-breasted Malkoha
P. curvirostris, Sunda, TN - one in the same tree as the Black-bellied Malkoha, upper Tahan Trail, 20/11
50. Raffle's Malkoha
P. chlorophaeus, Sunda, TN - one or two, upper Tahan Trail, 20/11
51. Green-billed Malkoha
P. tristis, O, FH - one in a bird-wave above km 93, Old Road, 15/11; one in the town later the same day; one just above the Gap, 17/11
52. Greater Coucal
Centropus sinensis, O, FH - heard calling a few times (e.g. from behind the Jelai) but never seen; TN - one flew across the trail on way down to the Tahan Hide, afternoon 19/11; KS - two showed well in the open at the side of one of the paths, early morning 25/11
53. Dollarbird
Eurystomus orientalis, O / Pal, TN - one perched in the top of trees opposite Tembeling jetty, 18/11
54. Blue-rumped Parrot
Psittinus cyanurus, Sunda, TN - only sighting was of three perched in the top of a bare tree at the Mutiara, afternoon of 20/11
55. Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot
Loriculus galgulus, Sunda, TN - about six or so seen more or less daily in the fruiting trees at the Mutiara; a few also from Tahan Hide. Some superb views.
56. Glossy Swiftlet
Collocalia esculenta, SEA, FH - common around the town and also seen down to the Gap. There was an active breeding colony in an old garage along the Telekom Loop and birds were seen flying to roost under the eaves of the Jelai. This species is absolutely tiny and so is easily distinguishable from the other swiftlets by size alone.
57. Himalayan Swiftlet
C. brevirostris, O, FH - six birds seen well over the forest at High Pines on 16/11 were identified as this species based on plain-looking dusky under-parts and greyish rump-patches. Other swiftlets seen around the Gap on 17/11 may have been this species or possibly Germain's Swiftlets. Both are listed as rare for Fraser's Hill.
58. Germain's Swiftlet
C. germani, SEA, TN - 100's of swiftlets seen feeding low over the Tembeling river with Barn and Pacific Swallows as we journeyed up to Kuala Tahan, 18/11 were identified retrospectively as this species (listed as rare for Taman Negara).They looked brownish above but much paler below and with obvious pale rumps and in fact were very similar / identical to the swiftlets seen later in the trip at Kuala Selangor. Also 50+ with other swifts over Bukit Teresek, morning of 23/11 (viewing from Tahan hide). KS - abundant over the lagoon area
59. Grey-rumped Treeswift
Hemiprocne longipennis, Sunda, FH - small numbers around the Gap, 15/11 and 17/11; TN - 10+ over forest, Tembeling river trail, evening of 18/11; 6+ with other swifts over Bukit Teresek, morning of 23/11
60. Silver-rumped Needletail
Rhaphidura leucopygialis, Sunda, TN - 2+ with treeswifts over forest, Tembeling river trail, evening of 18/11; then 20+ seen during boat-trip up the Tahan, morning of 20/11; 1+ with other swifts over Bukit Teresek, morning of 23/11
61. Brown-backed Needletail
Hirundapus giganteus, O, FH - 10+ gave prolonged views feeding over forest at the Gap, 17/11; TN - 10+ flew quickly over the view-point on Bukit Teresek, 19/11; 2+ seen from Kuala Tahan, sunset 21/11; 20+ with other swifts over Bukit Teresek, morning of 23/11
62. Fork-tailed Swift
Apus pacificus, O / Pal, FH - a flock of 50+ flew quickly past at the Gap, 17/11; 10+ feeding low over the Mutiara, evening of 20/11; 2+ with other swifts over Bukit Teresek, morning of 23/11
63. House Swift
Apus affinis, O, FH - common around the town and down to the Gap; TN - common over Kuala Tahan and around Bukit Teresek
64. Collared Owlet
Glaucidium brodiei, O, FH - one or two heard calling most days but the only one seen was along Bishop's Trail, 14/11 (perching directly above us in response to playback of calls)
65. Mountain Scops Owl
Otus spilocephalus, O, FH - at least two were heard calling most nights from the trees just above the Jelai but could not be lured into view
66. Barred Eagle Owl
Bubo sumatranus, Sunda, KS - one calling at regular intervals from around 2230hrs on 24/11 from a large tree beside chalet #9 but due to the dense foliage couldn't be picked out with a torch
67. Grey (= Jungle) Nightjar
Caprimulgus indicus, O / Pal, FH - two watched hawking above the road by the Jelai at dusk, 16/11
68. Large-tailed Nightjar
C. macrurus, O, KS - two heard calling just after dark on 24/11 in the vicinity of the HQ
69. Feral Pigeon
Columba livia, KS - noted
70. Mountain Imperial Pigeon
Ducula badia, O, FH - small numbers (from one to three) seen most days around the town e.g. on the Telekom Loop; usually just flyovers but also a couple perched up on dead snags
71. Yellow-vented Green Pigeon
Treron seimundi, SEA, FH - one perched in the crown of a tree about half way down the Old Road, 17/11
72. Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon
T. sphenura, O, FH - two extremely well concealed in a tree over the road below High Pines, evening of 17/11
73. Thick-billed Green Pigeon
T. curvirostra, O, TN - good numbers (up to about 50) seen daily at fruiting trees around the Mutiara and from the Tahan hide
74. Little Green Pigeon
T. olax, Sunda, TN - a pair (with Think-billed Green-Pigeons, hanging-parrots etc) in a fruiting tree at the Mutiara, early on 19/11
75. Pink-necked Green Pigeon
T. vernans, SEA, KS - fairly common and easy to see in the woodland around the lagoon
76. Large Green Pigeon
T. capellei, Sunda, TN - a pair at a gap in the forest along the Tembeling trail on our first evening (18/11) was the only sighting of this uncommon species
77. Emerald Dove
Chalcophaps indica, O, TN - one (perhaps the same individual) gave excellent views on the trail near Lubok Simpon on a couple of days. KS - one flew quickly across one of the paths, 24/11
78. Spotted Dove
Streptopelia chinensis, O, TN - small numbers seen around Kuala Tahan; KS - small numbers
79. Peaceful Dove
Geopelia striata, O, KS - small numbers noted around Bukit Melawati, 24/11
80. Little Cuckoo Dove
Macropygia ruficeps, SEA, FH - a few seen most days around the town e.g. near start of the Bishop's Trail, at several places down the Old Road and at the top of the New Road; often very confiding
81. White-breasted Waterhen
Amaurornis phoenicurus, O, KS - up to three seen around the lagoon
82. Black-tailed Godwit
Limosa limosa, Pal, KS - 50+ on the mudflats at the mouth of the Selangor, morning 24/11
83. Eurasian Curlew
Numenius arquata, Pal, KS - 100+ on the mudflats at the mouth of the Selangor, morning 24/11
84. [Whimbrel
N. phaeopus], Pal, KS - one heard calling, morning 24/11
85. Terek Sandpiper
Xenus cinereus, Pal, KS - 6+ with other waders on the mudflats at the mouth of the Selangor, morning 24/11, but distant
86. Common Sandpiper
Actitis hypoleucos, Pal, KS - 20+ on the mudflats at the mouth of the Selangor, morning 24/11; a few also around the lagoon (only wader recorded there)
87. Common Redshank
Tringa totanus, Pal, KS - 50+ on the mudflats at the mouth of the Selangor, morning 24/11
88. Common Greenshank
T. nebularia, Pal, KS - at least one with other waders on the mudflats at the mouth of the Selangor, morning 24/11
sand plover sp.
Charadrius spp, Pal, KS - with other waders on the mudflats at the mouth of the Selangor, but too distant to identify with certainty
89. Red-wattled Lapwing
Vanellus indicus, O, TN - 15+ counted on sand-banks during the boat-ride up the Tembeling to Taman Negara, 18/11
90. Common Tern
Sterna hirundo, Pal, KS - 6+ at the mouth of the Selangor, morning 24/11
91. Gull-billed Tern
Gelochelidon nilotica, Pal, KS - 6+ working the channels with other terns at the mouth of the Selangor, morning 24/11
92. Whiskered Tern
Chlidonias hybridus, Pal, KS - 10+ at the mouth of the Selangor, morning 24/11; 50+ on the boat trip from Sungai Buloh, 25/11
93. White-winged Black Tern
C. leucopterus, Pal, KS - 2+ among other terns at the mouth of the Selangor, morning 24/11
94. Black Baza
Aviceda leuphotes, O, KS - a loose migrating flock of at least 15 birds were seen during a short watch from one of the towers on the main bund, late morning on 24/11
95. Oriental Honey Buzzard
Pernis ptilorhyncus, O / Pal, FH - singles from the Telekom Loop 14/11 (a heavily barred bird) and 17/11 (a pale bird); KS - two migrating with Black Bazas, 24/11
96. Black-eared Kite
Milvus (migrans) lineatus, Pal, KS - several dozens seen on the boat trip from Sungai Buloh, 25/11
97. Brahminy Kite
Haliastur Indus, O, KS - a common sight around the area, with 50+ logged on the first evening and on both subsequent days. A few also glimpsed near KLIA on 13/11.
98. White-bellied Sea Eagle
Haliaeetus luecogaster, O, KS - a pair of these magnificent raptors circled directly overhead during the boat trip from Sungai Buloh, 25/11
99. Lesser Fish Eagle
Ichthyophaga humilis, O, TN - good views of one along the Tahan River near Latah Berkoh, 20/11
100. Black-shouldered Kite
Elanus caeruleus, KS - a few roadside birds sighted as we approached the coast, 23/11, and driving to KLIA, 25/11
101. Crested Serpent Eagle
Spilornis cheela, O, FH - one at the Gap and one from the Telekom Loop, 17/11; TN - one heard calling near the Canopy Walkway, 22/11; KS - one circling above the woodland area, 24/11 and at least two seen in the mangroves, 25/11
102. Japanese Sparrowhawk
Accipter gularis, Pal / O, TN - one circling opposite Tembeling jetty, 18/11; KS - one migrating with Black Bazas and Oriental Honey Buzzzards, 24/11
103. Black Eagle
Ictinaetus malayensis, O, FH - one from the viewpoint at the Silverpark Resort, morning of 14/11
104. Blyth's Hawk Eagle
Spizaetus alboniger, Sunda, FH - two adults, Telekom Loop, 14/11; juvenile, the Gap, 17/11
105. Black-thighed Falconet
Microhierax fringillarius, Sunda, FH - one in a large tree about 1.5km above the Gap, 17/11; TN - one in a tree in front of our chalet at the Mutiara, 19/11
106. Little Egret
Egretta garzetta, TN - one seen on the boat trip up the Tembeling, 18/11; KS - 50+ on the mudflats at the mouth of the Selangor, early morning of 24/11; 100+ roosting in the mangroves during the boat trip from Sungai Buloh, 25/11
107. Great Egret
Casmerodius albus, KS - 200+ on the mudflats at the mouth of the Selangor, early morning of 24/11; 100+ roosting in the mangroves during the boat trip from Sungai Buloh, 25/11
108. Intermediate Egret
Mesophoyx intermedia, KS - at least two were among much larger numbers of Little and Great Egrets roosting in the mangroves during the boat trip from Sungai Buloh, 25/11
109. Chinese Pond Heron
Ardeola bacchus, TN - one seen on the boat trip up the Tembeling, 18/11 and one or two others subsequently on the river around Kuala Tahan
110. Grey Heron
Ardea cinerea, KS - 50+ on the mudflats at the mouth of the Selangor, early morning of 24/11; 50+ roosting in the mangroves during the boat trip from Sungai Buloh, 25/11
111. Purple Heron
A. purpurea, , KS - two were on the lagoon just in front of the main observation tower on our first evening
112. Little Heron
Butorides striatus, O, KS - 4+ seen daily around the lagoon and in the surrounding ditches
113. Yellow Bittern
Ixobrychus sinensis, O, KS - an immature in one of the ditches, afternoon 25/11
114. Lesser Adjutant
Leptoptilos javanicus, O, KS - eight were on the mudflats at the mouth of the Selangor, early morning of 24/11, plus at least six roosting in the mangroves with egrets etc during the boat trip from Sungai Buloh, 25/11
115. Milky Stork
Mycteria cinerea, SEA, KS - an adult roosting in the mangroves with other storks, egrets etc during the boat trip from Sungai Buloh, 25/11
116. Banded Pitta
Pitta guajana, Sunda, TN - a stunning male was inadvertently flushed off the side of the Tembeling trail as we neared the Mutiara, early afternoon on 21/11 then gave crippling views as it hopped on the slope below. Bird of the trip.
117. Mangrove Pitta
P. megarhyncha, SEA, KS - one gave very close views as it skulked in cover along the lagoon side of the main bund, around 1800hrs on 24/11. Not quite in the same league as the Banded Pitta but still a great bird.
118. [Garnet Pitta
P. granatina], Sunda, TN - one or two heard calling along the upper part of the Tahan trail, 20/11 and one calling along Gua Telinga trail, 21/11 (both times in response to speculative play of the iPod but calling was brief and we didn't attempt further playback)
119. Banded Broadbill
Eurylaimus javanicus, SEA, TN - two along the Jenet Muda trail, 19/11 gave excellent prolonged views as they moved slowly through the mid-storey
120. Black-and-Red Broadbill
Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos, O, TN - a small flock of two or three along the Gua Telinga trail, 22/11
121. Lesser Green Leafbird
Chloropsis cyanopogon, Sunda, TN - one or two with bulbuls, fairy-bluebirds etc in the fruiting trees at the Tahan hide, morning of 21/11
122. Blue-winged Leafbird
C. cochinchinensis, O, FH - 2+ with flower-peckers in a fruiting tree at the Gap, 17/11
123. Orange-bellied Leafbird
C. hardwickii, O, FH - a male along the road up to the Silverpark Resort and 3+ Telekom Loop, 14/11; a pair along the Old Road, 15/11; one Jalan Mager and 4+ Pine Tree Hill Trail, 16/11
124. Common Iora
Aegithina tiphia, O, KS - up to 4+ seen both days in the trees around the lagoon, usually in mixed flocks with white-eyes, sunbirds, Phylloscs etc
125. Asian Fairy Bluebird
Irena puella, O, TN - active flocks of up to 20+ showed well most days (mainly in the mornings) in the fruiting trees around the Mutiara and from Tahan hide
126. Tiger Shrike
Lanius tigrinus, O / Pal, KS - one along the main path around the lagoon, morning of 24/11
127. Brown Shrike
L. cristatus, O / Pal, FH - one along the road near High Pines, evening of 17/11 was possibly of the race lucionensis (pale greyish crown); KS - from 1-2 seen both days from the paths around the lagoon and on Bukit Melawati
128. [Rail-Babbler
Eupetes macrocerus], Sunda, TN - not seen but at least one was in the Swamp Loop area 21/11 and again next day (both times heard calling and responding to iPod) and another was heard along the Jenet Muda trail, 23/11
129. Crested Jay
Platylophus galericulatus, Sunda, TN - 3+ along the Tahan trail, 20/11; 2+ Gua Telinga trail and 2+ Swamp Loop, 22/11; a very spectacular species and they came in instantly to the iPod, even when initially some way off the trail
130. Black Magpie
Platysmurus leucopterus, Sunda, TN - 2+ Gua Telinga trail 22/11; 3+ Jenet Muda trail, 23/11; another true Sunda speciality and like the above species responded very well to the iPod and has some bizarre calls
131. Common Green Magpie
Cissa chinensis, O, FH - one in a bird wave at the Jelai, 14/11 gave very close views; one along the Old Road, 15/11; one in a bird wave, Telekom Loop, 17/11
132. House Crow
Corvus splendens, O, KS - common around the small harbour at Sungai Buloh, 25/11 but not seen at the Nature Park
133. Slender-billed Crow
C. enca, Sunda, TN - two singles at the forest edge by the Tembeling River as we approached Kuala Tahan on 18/11
134. Large-billed Crow
C. macrorhynchos, O / Pal, FH - small numbers (low single figures) seen around the town (e.g. at the Silverpark Resort) but not common; KS - 50+ seen flying over the lagoon on first evening (presumably to roost in the mangroves) but thereafter just a couple more were seen
135. Black-naped Oriole
Oriolus chinensis, O, KS - 6+ showed very well on Bukit Melawati, 24/11; one male in trees by the lagoon, 25/11
136. Black-and-Crimson Oriole
O. cruentus, Sunda, FH - singles Telekom Loop 14/11, down the Old Road 15/11 and from the check-post, top of the Old Road, 16/11; all with bird-waves
137. Dark-throated Oriole
O. xanthonotus, Sunda, TN - one Jenet Muda trail, 19/11
138. Javan Cuckoo-shrike
Coracina javensis, Sunda, FH - singles Pine Tree Hill trail, 16/11 and Telekom Loop, 17/11
139. Lesser Cuckoo-shrike
C. fimbriata, Sunda, TN - one (a barred female) in a bird-wave, Tahan Trail, 20/11
140. Pied Triller
Lalage nigra, Sunda, KS - one in bushes by the lagoon, morning of 25/11 was brief but totally unmistakable
141. Grey-chinned Minivet
Pericrocotus solaris, O, FH - fairly common around the town and down the Old Road, small groups seen most days with the largest being 20+ on the Telekom Loop, 17/11; usually in bird waves
142. Ashy Minivet
P. divaricatus, O / Pal, TN - a flock of 10+ were in trees at the Mutiara, morning of 19/11 but not subsequently; KS - a flock of 6+ in the mangroves, morning of 25/11
143. Ashy Drongo
Dicrurus leucophaeus, O, KS - three around the mangrove boardwalk, morning of 24/11
144. Bronzed Drongo
D. aeneus, O, FH - less frequent than the next species, the only sightings were of one Telekom Loop, 14/11 and 6+ Old Road, 15/11
145. Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo
D. remifer, O, FH - fairly common, seen on most of the routes / trails around the town and also down the Old Road, with one or two in most bird-waves
146. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
D. paradiseus, O, TN - the lowland counterpart of the last species and similarly quite frequent, with one or two in most bird-waves
147. Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike
Hemipus picatus, O, FH - 6+ in a bird-wave down the Old Road, 15/11 and one just above the Gap, 17/11; one in a bird-wave Telekom Loop, 17/11
148. Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike
H. hirundinaceus, Sunda, TN - one male, Tahan Trail, 20/11
149. White-throated Fantail
Rhipidura aureola, O, FH - fairly common, seen on most of the routes / trails around the town around the town, with a few in most bird-waves
150. Pied Fantail
R. javanica, SEA, KS - 4+ seen both days in bushes lining the paths around the lagoon
151. Spotted Fantail
R. perlata, Sunda, TN - 2+ in a small bird-wave on Bukit Teresek, 19/11 and one on the upper part of the Tahan Trail, 20/11
152. Grey-headed Flycatcher
Culicicapa ceylonensis, O, FH - one in a bird-wave down the Old Road, 15/11; TN - one on the upper part of the Tahan Trail, 20/11
153. Mangrove Whistler
Pachycephala grisola, SEA, KS - one seen well near the edge of the mangroves, morning of 24/11
154. Asian Paradise-Flycatcher
Terpsiphone paradise, O, TN - total 6+ along the Tahan Trail, 20/11; one Jenet Muda, 21/11; 2+ Gua Telinga trail, 22/11
155. Rufous-winged Philentoma
Philentoma pyrhopterum, Sunda, TN - two Gua Telinga trail, 22/11
156. Maroon-breasted Philentoma
P. velatum, Sunda, TN - one in a small mixed flock with Spotted Fantails and White-bellied Yuhina, Bukit Teresek, 19/11
157. Large Woodshrike
Tephrodornis gularis, O, FH - one in a small bird-wave just above the Gap, 17/11
158. Siberian Thrush
Zoothera sibirica, Pal / O, FH - a total of 10+ flew low overhead in mist and rain along the road below the Jelai, evening of 13/11; one male flew quickly past just outside the Jelai and decent views of two females Bishop's Trail, morning of 14/11; two (one a male) flew quickly overhead as we stood by the barrier at top of the Old Road, at dawn on 16/11; very close views of a female along Jalan Mager later same morning (feeding on small berries in a tree by the road). Slightly disappointing not to pin a male down but some nice looks at the females, and all well up in the trees with none close to or on the ground.
159. Eye-browed Thrush
Turdus obscurus, Pal / O, KS - small numbers were seen in the trees around the lagoon, with two on 24/11 and a restless flock of 6+ early the next morning, presumably newly arrived migrants
160. Asian Brown Flycatcher
Muscicapa sibirica, Pal / O, FH- one or two were seen most days around the town and down the Old Road, on their own or in bird-waves with other flycatchers; TN - one or two seen in the trees around the Mutiara, including one watched from the restaurant / bar while enjoying a cold beer! KS - seen both days, with a maximum of four on 24/11
161. Brown-streaked Flycatcher
M. williamsoni, SEA, KS - one seen very close and photographed on Bukit Melawati, 24/11
162. Yellow-rumped Flycatcher
Ficedula zanthopygia, Pal / O, KS - a female from the mangrove boardwalk, morning of 24/11
163. Mugimaki Flycatcher
F. mugimaki, Pal / O, FH - two females with a bird-wave high in trees above km 96 down the Old Road, 15/11
164. Rufous-browed Flycatcher
F. solitaries, SEA, FH - a total of three along Bishop's Trail, 14/11 and one Pine Tree Hill Trail, 16/11; near and on the ground in dense cover so others probably overlooked, those seen were coming to the edge of the trails
165. Little Pied Flycatcher
F. westermanni, O, FH - singles (all males) Telekom Loop 14/11, Old Road 15/11, Pine Tree Hill Trail 16/11 and just above the Gap 17/11
166. Verditer Flycatcher
Eumyias thalassina, O, FH - total of four, Telekom Loop, 14/11; one just above the Gap, 17/11
167. Large Niltava
Niltava grandis, O, FH - a male Bishop's Trail 14/11; male Pine Tree Hill Trail 16/11; a female in pine trees near the Jelai and a male Hemmant Trail, 18/11
168. Hill Blue Flycatcher
Cyornis banyumas, O, FH - a male with a bird-wave down the Old Road, 15/11
169. Mangrove Blue Flycatcher
C. rufigastra, Sunda, KS - a male in the mangrove area morning of 25/11 was mainly skulking in dense cover but also perched on the boardwalk handrail for a while
170. Oriental Magpie Robin
Copsychus saularis, O, FH - from 2-3 seen most days in gardens etc around the town; TN - 2+ around Kuala Tahan village, 22/11; KS - two on 25/11
171. White-rumped Shama
C. malabaricus, O, TN - singles Tembeling river trail, 19/11 and 23/11; female in a bird wave, Tahan trail, 20/11; male Swamp Loop, 21/11; male Gua Telinga trail, 22/11
172. Chestnut-naped Forktail
Enicurus ruficapillus, Sunda, TN - one gave good views in a stream gully, Jenet Muda trail, 23/11; a forktail sp. flushed off the Tahan trail, 20/11 was this or next species
173. White-crowned Forktail
E. leschenaultia, O, TN - one on a very muddy stretch of trail at the junction to the caves at Gua Telinga, 22/11
174. Slaty-backed Forktail
E. schistaceus, O, FH - a pair showed superbly in the open along Jalan Mager (just up from the junction with the barrier / check-post area) early on 16/11; one Telekom Loop, 17/11
175. Purple-backed (Daurian) Starling
Sturnus sturninus, Pal / O, KS - one or two seen with glossy-starlings as we approached the coast, 23/11; one male with mynas and glossy-starlings in dead trees in the lagoon, 24/11
176. Asian Glossy Starling
Aplonis panayensis, O, TN - up to 20+ most days with fairy-bluebirds, green-pigeons etc in fruiting trees around the Mutiara; KS - up to 30+ perched in dead trees at the lagoon
177. Common Myna
Acridotheres tristis, O, TN - small numbers around Kuala Tahan village; KS - a few flocks seen as we approached the coast, 23/11; small numbers in trees around the lagoon (out-numbered by Jungle Myna)
178. Jungle Myna
A. fuscus, O, KS - flocks of up to 50+ seen both days, mainly in the dead trees in the lagoon
179. Hill Myna
Gracula religiosa, O, TN - two flew over as we approached Kuala Tahan by river, 18/11; another two flew over at the Mutiara, morning of 19/11
180. Blue Nuthatch
Sitta azurea, Sunda, FH - one Bishop's Trail, 14/11; 3+ Telekom Loop, 14/11; 6+ Telekom Loop, 17/11; a bird-wave species
181. Grey Tit
Parus (major) cinereus, Pal / O, KS - half a dozen or so seen daily in the mangroves and in the scrub around the lagoon; the distinctive peninsular race ambiguus is part of the cinereus group of Great Tit, known as Grey Tit
182. Sultan Tit
Melanochlora sultanea, O, FH - one Telekom Loop, 14/11; 4+ just above the Gap, 17/11; 4+ Telekom Loop, 17/11; a bird-wave species
183. Asian House Martin
Delichon dasypus, Pal / O, FH - small numbers seen most days around the town and down as far as the Gap, usually with other hirundines and swiftlets
184. Barn Swallow
Hirundo rustica, Pal, - very common and widespread, seen just about everywhere, with the largest numbers (hundreds) on the drive up to the Gap, 13/11 and along the Tembeling on the journey up to Taman Negara, 18/11.
185. Pacific Swallow
H. tahitica, O, FH - a few seen over the town most days; 12+ around the Gap Rest House, 17/11; TN - total 50+ with Barn Swallows along the Tembeling on the journey up-river, 18/11; KS - up to 20+ (with similar numbers of Barn Swallows) around the lagoon on both days
186. Oriental White-eye
Zosterops palpebrosus, O, KS - up to 10+ seen both days in the trees and scrub around the lagoon
187. Everett's White-eye
Z. everetti, Sunda, FH - one in a bird wave along the Telekom Loop, 14/11
188. Black-headed Bulbul
Pycnonotus atriceps, SEA, FH - 2+ at the top of the New Road, 15/11
189. Black-crested Bulbul
P. melanicterus, O, FH - several at the Gap, 17/11
190. Grey-bellied Bulbul
P. cyaniventris, Sunda, TN - one in the fruiting trees from Tahan hide, early on 21/11
191. Stripe-throated Bulbul
P. finlaysoni, SEA, TN - two or three seen from Tahan hide on a couple of days
192. Yellow-vented Bulbul
P. goiavier, SEA, FH - one at the top of the New Road, 15/11; TN - small numbers around the Mutiara and Tahan hide areas; KS - 20+ seen around the area both days
193. Cream-vented Bulbul
P. simplex, Sunda, TN - up to 10+ in fruiting trees around the Mutiara and from Tahan hide
194. Red-eyed Bulbul
P. brunneus, Sunda, TN - common in fruiting trees around the Mutiara and from Tahan hide, up to c. 20+ seen most days
195. Spectacled Bulbul
P. erythropthalmos, Sunda, TN - a few seen with Red-eyed Bulbuls around the Mutiara and from Tahan hide but very similar to that species and possibly overlooked to some extent
196. Black-and-white Bulbul
P. melanoleucos, Sunda, TN - two males in the fruiting trees at Tahan hide, morning 19/11; one male in fruiting tree at the Mutiara, 21/11
197. Straw-headed Bulbul
P. zeylanicus, Sunda, TN - at least one seen in bank-side vegetation as we motored up the Tahan river, morning 20/11
198. Ashy Bulbul
Hemixos flavala, O, FH - four in a mixed-flock down the Old Road, 15/11
199. Grey-cheeked Bulbul
Alophoixus bres, Sunda, TN - one in a bird-wave, Tahan trail, 20/11; seen Swamp Loop, 21/11 (3+) and 22/11 (2+); 4+ Gua Telinga trail, 22/11
200. Yellow-bellied Bulbul
A. phaeocephalus, Sunda, TN - two Jenet Muda trail, 23/11
201. Ochraceous Bulbul
A. ochraceus, SEA, FH - two down the Old Road, 15/11
202. Hairy-backed Bulbul
Tricholestes criniger, Sunda, TN - one Tahan trail, 20/11; a small species, and sallying almost flycatcher-like in the mid-storey
203. Streaked Bulbul
Ixos malaccensis, Sunda, TN - small numbers seen around the Mutiara on three days
204. Mountain Bulbul
Hypsipetes mcclellandii, O, FH - three (two adults feeding a fledged juvenile) near the entrance to Hemmant trail, 15/11; 4+ Jalan Mager, 16/11
205. Yellow-bellied Prinia
Prinia flaviventris, O, KS - one in scrub by the path around the lagoon, 23/11
206. Flyeater
Gerygone sulphurea, SEA, KS - the distinctive wheezy call often heard in the mangroves and also in trees around the lagoon and eventually a few were seen well
207. Mountain Tailorbird
Orthotomus cuculatus, O, FH - singles seen in bird-waves along Bishop's Trail and Telekom Loop
208. Common Tailorbird
O. sutorius, O, FH - one at the Gap, 17/11; TN - one in bushes by the jetty at the Mutiara and one in the oil-palm plantations at Kuala Tahan
209. Ashy Tailorbird
O. ruficeps, Sunda, KS - common in the scrub by the paths around the lagoon, with up to 10+ seen on both days
210. Yellow-browed Warbler
Phylloscopus inornatus, Pal / O, FH - one heard calling from conifers at the small park in town, 14/11; 4+ in pine trees by the road below the Jelai, 18/11 and 1+ in a bird wave along Hemmant Trail, 18/11; KS - two in trees around the lagoon, 24/11
211. Arctic Warbler
P. borealis, Pal / O, FH - easy to confuse with the next species but singles were seen well in bird waves down the Old Road and along Pine Tree Hill trail; TN - one or two in trees around the Mutiara; total 6+ along Tahan Trail, 20/11; KS - quite frequent in the mangroves and in trees around the lagoon, 6+ seen both days and a few also head calling
212. Eastern Crowned Warbler
P. coronatus, Pal / O, FH - a flock of 15+ formed part of a large bird-wave between km 94/95 down the Old Road, 15/11; one in a bird-wave, Hemmant trail, 18/11
213. Mountain Leaf Warbler
P. trivirgatus, Sunda, FH - one or two seen in bird-waves along Telekom Loop 14/11 and down the Old Road 15/11; flock 6+ in canopy opposite the gate at the top of the Old Road, 16/11; 2+ with Yellow-broweds in pines below the Jelai and 4+ in a bird-wave along Hemmant trail, 18/11
214. Yellow-bellied Warbler
Abroscopus superciliaris, O, FH - six with Golden Babblers and Grey-throated Babblers moving through low cover by the Old Road, km 96, 15/11
215. Chestnut-crowned Warbler
Seicercus castaniceps, O, FH - singles in bird-waves Telekom Loop 14/11, Jalan Mager 16/11 and 3+ Telekom Loop, 17/11
216. Black Laughingthrush
Garrulax lugubris, Sunda, FH - 3+ with Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babblers and a White-hooded Babbler, about km 93 down the Old Road, 15/11
217. Chestnut-capped L-thrush
G. mitratus, Sunda, FH - one of the commonest birds around the hill-station, a conspicuous member of many bird waves and seen at all levels from the under-storey to well up in the canopy of large trees; often in groups of half a dozen or so but larger flocks of 20+ seen on the Telekom Loop and down the Old Road
218. Malayan Laughingthrush
G. (erythrocephalus) peninsulae , Sunda, FH - two skulking in dense cover of bamboo etc below the road, Telekom Loop, 14/11 were lured into view (just) by playing the iPod
219. Short-tailed Babbler
Malacocincla malaccensis, Sunda, TN - 2+ Tahan Trail, 20/11; one near Lubok Simpon, 23/11
220. Buff-breasted Babbler
Pellorneum tickelli, O, FH - a probable glimpsed, Pine Tree Hill trail, 16/11 then good views of three (a single plus a territorial pair) along Hemmant Trail, 18/11
221. Striped Wren Babbler
Kenopia striata, Sunda, TN - two (presumably a pair) along Jenet Muda on our last morning, close to the trail and responded well to the iPod
222. Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler
Pomatorhinus montanus, Sunda, FH - two about km 93 down the Old Road, 15/11
223. Streaked Wren Babbler
Napothera macrodactyla, O, FH - one along Jalan Mager, 16/11 and two (presumably a pair) along Telekom Loop, 17/11; on both occasions the birds were first located by their song then lured into view using the iPod (very unlikely we'd have seen them otherwise); this and the next species appeared to be holding territories but Marbled Wren Babblers clearly weren't, as we heard none
224. [Pygmy Wren Babbler
Pnoepyga pusilla], O, FH - singing birds heard below the Jelai and along the Telecom Loop, 14/11 and near High Pines, 17/11 but couldn't be lured into view
225. Golden Babbler
Stachyris chrysaea, O, FH - small groups of 2-4 seen in bird-waves on several days e.g. on the Telekom Loop, down the Old Road and on Hemmant Trail
226. Grey-throated Babbler
S. nigriceps, O, FH - two in a small flock with Golden Babblers and Yellow-bellied Warblers down the Old Road, ca km 96, 15/11
227. Grey-headed Babbler
S. poliocephala, Sunda, TN - one near Blau Hide late in the day, 21/11
228. Black-throated Babbler
S. nigricollis, Sunda, TN - a group of 6+ along the trail near Blau Hide, 21/11; responded well to the iPod
229. Chestnut-rumped Babbler
S. maculata, Sunda, TN - a group of 6+ along the Swamp Loop, 22/11; responded well to the iPod
230. Chestnut-winged Babbler
S. erythroptera, Sunda, TN - a group of four along the Tembeling trail near the Mutiara, 23/11 appeared to be building some sort of a communal nest or roost
231. Moustached Babbler
Malacopteron magnirostre, Sunda, TN - total 6+ Tahan Trail, 20/11; 4+ Jenet Muda trail, 21/11
232. Rufous-crowned Babbler
M. magnum, Sunda, TN - 4+ Jenet Muda trail, 21/11; 2+ Gua Telinga trail, 22/11
233. Striped Tit Babbler
Macronous gularis, O, FH - a flock of 6+ down the Old Road, 17/11
234. Fluffy-backed Tit Babbler
Macronous ptilosus, Sunda, TN - a group of three, Tahan Trail, 20/11 responded well to the iPod; one with Rufous-crowned Babblers, Jenet Muda trail, 21/11
235. White-browed Shrike-Babbler
Pteruthius flaviscapis, O, FH - a pair in a bird wave about km 95 down the Old Road, 15/11
236. Black-eared Shrike-Babbler
P. melanotis, O, FH - listed as uncommon in Birds of Fraser's Hill but seemed to be quite frequent, with 1-3 present in many bird-waves: 3+ Bishop's Trail and total 5+ Telekom Loop, 14/11; singles Jalan Mager and Pine Tree Hill trail, 16/11; one Telekom Loop, 17/11; one Hemmant Trail, 18/11
237. Blue-winged Minla
Minla cyanouroptera, O, FH - frequent member of bird-waves around the town and one of the very first species seen at the front of the Jelai; not seen down the Old Road or at the Gap
238. Rufous-winged Fulvetta
Alcippe castaneceps, O, FH - only sighting was of two in a mixed flock with Mountain Fulvettas and a few Golden Babblers, Telekom Loop, 14/11
239. Mountain Fulvetta
A. peracensis, SEA, FH - a common member of bird-waves around the town and part-way down the Old Road, typically up to about 10+ together and recorded every day
240. White-hooded Babbler
Gampsorhynchus rufulus, O, FH - one showed briefly but well in a small bird wave (with three Black Laughingthrushes) about km 93 down the Old Road, 15/11
241. Long-tailed Sibia
Heterophasia picaoides, O, FH - fairly frequent around the town, usually in bird-waves or single-species flocks at forest edge but also seen scavenging for scraps in the town centre
242. Silver-eared Mesia
Leiothrix argentauris, O, FH - one of the most conspicuous bird-wave species around the town, typically in groups of 6-10; recorded every day and one of the first species seen at the front of the Jelai
243. White-bellied Yuhina
Yuhina zantholeuca, O, FH - one at the Gap, 17/11; TN - one Bukit Teresek, 19/11
244. Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker
Prionochilus maculates, Sunda, TN - one Swamp Loop, 19/11
245. Yellow-vented Flowerpecker
Dicaeum chrysorrheum, O, FH - one at the Gap, 17/11; TN - 3+ in a tree at Tembeling jetty, 18/11
246. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
D. trigonostigma, SEA, TN - a male with other sunbirds and flowerpeckers at Tembeling jetty, 18/11
247. Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
D. ignipectus, O, FH - quite frequent, on their own and in bird-waves: male Bishop's Trail and one Telekom Loop, 14/11; one Old Road and one male in town, 15/11; pair Jalan Mager, 16/11; three (two males) at the Gap, 17/11; other very brief flowerpecker spp. seen flying over were not logged but probably also this species
248. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
D. cruentatum, O, TN - single pairs seen in trees around the Mutiara resort on a couple of days; KS - one or two seen in trees and scrub around the lagoon
249. Black-throated Sunbird
Aethopyga saturata, O, FH - frequent around the town and down as far as the Gap, in gardens etc (e.g. around the Jelai) and a few also often in bird-waves
250. Brown-throated Sunbird
A. malacensis, SEA, TN - a female in a tree at Tembeling jetty, 18/11; a pair at Kuala Tahan village, 22/11; KS - up to 10+ logged both days in the trees and scrub around the lagoon, usually with other sunbirds, white-eyes, Phylloscs etc
251. Ruby-cheeked Sunbird
A. singalensis, O, KS - 6+ logged both days in the trees and scrub around the lagoon
252. Red-throated Sunbird
A. rhodolaema, Sunda, TN - a male briefly in a mixed flock by the river, Tahan trail, 20/11
253. Olive-backed Sunbird
Nectarinia jugularis, O, KS - up to 4+ logged both days in the trees and scrub around the lagoon
254. Purple-naped Sunbird
Hypogramma hypogrammicum, SEA, TN - two Swamp Loop, 19/11; one Tahan Trail, 20/11
255. Streaked Spiderhunter
Arachnothera magna, O, FH - frequent around the town in 1's and 2's, in gardens and municipal flowerbeds etc i.e. often in same places as Black-throated Sunbird and also a frequent member of bird-waves; also seen down the Old Road and at the Gap
256. Yellow-eared Spiderhunter
A. chrysogenys, Sunda, TN - only sighting was of one in trees with bulbuls etc at the Mutiara, early on 19/11; we did poorly for spiderhunters at Taman Negara
257. [Yellow Wagtail
Motacilla flava], KS - one heard calling in flight over the lagoon morning of 24/11 but not seen
258. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Passer montanus, TN - small numbers seen around Kuala Tahan village; KS - common around the monkey-feeding area on Bukit Melawati
259. Scaly-breasted Munia
Lonchura punctulata, O, KS - up to 10+ seen daily in long grass by the paths around the lagoon; like the next species quite shy but some nice views eventually of both munia species
260. White-rumped Munia
L. striata, O, FH - flocks of 20+ seen flying quickly past on the Telekom Loop, 14/11 and Jalan High Pines, 15/11; KS - up to 6+ in grass by the paths around the lagoon

List of mammals

Long-tailed Macaque TN, KS
Banded Langur FH
Silvered Langur KS
Dusky Langur TN
Siamang FH
Smooth Otter KS
Common Palm Civit TN
Leopard Cat TN
Sambar TN
Eurasian Wild Pig TN
Himalayan Striped Squirrel FH
Prevost's Squirrel FH
Plaintain Squirrel FH, TN