Wednesday 13 June 2018

June 2018: Bird watching in the Panti Jungle.

I spent the entire day suffering from lense envy!
Our time spent in Puteri Harbour Marina is always made special as we get to spend time with Bruce's work mate, Tony and his lovely wife Evelyn. Once again they went out of their way to make us welcome and this time they shared a bit of their life with us.

We didn't realize that earthy colors would have been best, we stood out like a beacons!
Tony giving Bruce some pointers.

Bruce getting into it, using Tony's suggestions.
Deciding to not go on the tourist route, Tony & Evelyn asked us to join them with two of their friends on a birdwatching morning in the Panti Jungle. To say I was a little anxious is an understatment. I am not a fan of the bush, let alone walking around in the Malaysian jungle and it was doing my head in. I will admit that when we were in the car and heading out to breakfast, I was feeling incredibly over whelmed.

I dont know why I worried, everyone was happy, helpful and dedicated.
Our time together started on a Wednesday afternoon, where Tony & Eveyln came and picked us up from the marina. To their surprise I (Deb) had never eaten 'Steam Boat' before, so we went off to their favourite place. It was very interesting and worth a try if you have never eaten it before. Bruce loved every morsel.

After our dinner, we went back to their home and had a lovely evening sitting around chatting. Next morning we all got up bright and early and off we went to have one of favourite breakfasts: Roti Canai with Teh Tarik at the town of Koto Tinggi. Then off to the jungle!

Some lovely sun light coming through into the jungle (so glad I wasn't walking around in this!). 
On the drive to the jungle, Evelyn and Tony shared with us that on one of the recent visits they saw elephants - in the wild! I was so excited to think I may see a wild elephant but it was not to be. We did however see elephant poo and Evelyn pointed out to me some slide marks that had been left by elephants as they climbed up a small embankment.

This is all we got to see of the elephants:their poo!

Go Bruce, he's got a bird in his lense.
Much to my relief, our birding day was all spent on a road (in the jungle) not actually trekking in the jungle per say. We had to share our road with cars and a quite a few trucks carting sand.

These guys went up and down all morning.
Being on the road we had to keep a look out for the trucks.
We had only driven in about 1 minute on the road in when we saw their friends, Belinda and Laipeng. The girls had stopped their car as they heard the call of the hornbills. As it turned out they had heard a pair of male and female hornbills calling each other, their call was quite loud. Thanks to Tony, he sent me photos with the names of the birds on the photo for easy identification.

This was to be the start of an amazing morning. We saw loads of birds and we admired both Tony and Belinda on their skill with their cameras. Tony likes to use his tripod to steady the camera and Belinda, who uses the same camera, likes to hold hers by hand. Both captured the most incredible photos.

Tony & Belinda using the same camera, but with different styles. Bruce joining them looked very professional, Bruce is that lense cap still on?
It's amazing how over the last few years we have met many birders, as they call themselves. We also like birds but have never gone that extra step ourselves to look for them. To be quite frank we were impressed. Our four keen birders were incredible. They have gained so much knowledge over the last 3+ years and during our morning they couldnt keep us any more informed. We learnt so much.

As hard as I tried, I searched and searched, waited, listened, searched again,,,,I couldn't see what they were seeing!!!

Poor Tony, he spent a great deal of his time being very patient with us both, trying to help us to see what he was seeing.
They could identify birds by sound, they knew a certain bird would come to a specific area and they knew the birds habits. We were astounded to watch our friends chatting amongst themselves discussing what bird they just saw right down to: female/male, adult/fledgling/young, nesting, territorial behavour etc.

Tony was so good, he knew a certain bird would be in a certain area - which turned out to be a small stream, at a certain time. So he set up his screen (for camouflage), sat down on his chair, positioned his camera through a slit in the screen and on his phone played the call of the bird he knew would come to the stream to drink. Sure enough it did just that,,,it was amazing.

Getting set up by the stream.

And here is Tony's little bird. This litle guy came to check out the bird sound (playing on Tony's phone) and satisfied he didnt have an intruder, decided enjoyed a splash in the stream.

Here are more of Tony's shots,,,,remarkable clarity!

Thanks to Belinda, here is a list of what she captured through the lens this day:

1 black hornbill (male and female)
2 black-naped monarch
3 blue-throated bee-eater
4 buff-vented bulbul
5 chestnut bellied malkoha
6 cream-vented bulbul
7 crested-serpent eagle
8 greater racquet-tailed drongo
9 hairy-backed bulbul
10 hill myna
11 large woodshrike
12 little green pigeon
13 orange-bellied flowerpecker
14 raffle's malkoha
15 red-eyed bulbul
16 thick-billed green pigeon
17 whiskered-tree swift
18 white-bellied woodpecker
19 white-throated kingfisher
20 yellow-bellied bulbul
21 yellow-breasted flowerpecker
22 yellow-vented bulbul
23 barbet (unable to i.d.)

And a few of her incredible photos, all shot without a tripod:
A flock of at least 6 Blue-throated Bee-eater up high up above the trees

Buff-vented Bulbul feeding a juve?

Chestnut-bellied malkona

Chestnut-bellied malkona was really busy flying from left to right collecting twigs for nest building.

Female Black Hornbill

Female Black-naped Monarch. Notice how yellow is the inside of it's beak. For Belinda this shot was whats called a 'Lifer' which means its the first time she has seen it in the wild and got the photo to prove it!

Greater Racquet Tailed Drongo minus one racquet

Hairy-backed bulbul

Male Black Hornbill

Male Black Hornbill

Lovely Orange-bellied flowerpecker

Large woodshrike

Yellow-bellied Bulbul

Yellow-breasted flowerpecker
Other than all these beautiful birds, we also saw a fair bit of other wild life:

The amount of ants on the ground was incredible. This line of ants were crossing the road in tight formation (until a truck ran over them).
Belinda was fast enough to capture this white tailed squirrel.

This big boy was scary. Bruce and I both saw loads of this ant wandering around alone.
Creepy big spiders.

A Raffles Banded Langur, photo by Belinda.

I think he is checking out Bruce's moustache!

And we saw colourful flowers & lovely green foliage. Bruce snapped lots of colourful fungi........

Just as we were all discussing finishing up as the clouds where coming over, we all heard a large crack in the jungle. I thought it was a tree branch falling down. But no sooner had we heard the cracking sound than a wild boar speed out of the jungle at an incredible speed crossed from one side of the road to the other disappearing in the thick foliage. We just all stood there, shocked and little frightened. The animal was so fast, if it had of ran into one of us, broken legs and goodness knows what would have happened. With our hearts pumping like crazy, we all jumped in the cars and took off for lunch, glad to leave the horrible stench he left in his wake behind us!

Thanks to Google Images, this is a Malaysian Wild Boar.
On our way to lunch, Tony & Evelyn stopped to show us the remnents of two WW2 bunkers. Built by the British, the bunkers housed machine guns to have some control on who came and went.

Tony and Bruce with a WW2 bunker behind them.
Shame about the graffiti.
Protection from the north and south. This position was the highest point of the road with views for miles.
After the near miss of a the wild boar incident, signalling the end of our bird watching, Tony & Evelyn took us to a very popular roadside cafe called: Kiang Kee Bak Kut Teh. Bak Kut in Chinese means 'pork rib' and Teh means 'tea', so a direct translation we were heading in for Pork Rib Tea. This is a favourite place for the Chinese to come eat. They even drive their fancy cars over from Singapore to sit and eat while admiring their nice cars. The cafe specialises in the dish called 'many pigs parts' - lucky for me they also sold tofu and vegetables. The main dish of pork ribs in soup was delicious. We must admit though, we did have some of the pigs trotters dish and it was very good. Bruce tried the stomach lining soup, he didnt mind it, but I dont think he is rushing back to whip some up in Matilda's galley!

Our lunch stop: Kiang Kee Bak Kut Teh roadside cafe. Image curtosy of Google Images.

Thanks gang for such a great day out!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent story of our little trip to Panti, enjoy it Deb. Hope to see you both soon.