Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Singapore Botanical Garden - Hooded Pitta

December 29 2010. I am currently having the Christmas Holiday with my family in Singapore. Yesterday I received news from some bird photographers that a Hooded Pitta is spotted at Singapore Botanical Garden.  I was invited to join them to photograph the Hooded Pitta together. Chris and Wong are very kind to lent me their gears since I only bought my Sony NEX 3 to Singapore. 
I am really surprise to see the Pitta at the Ginger Garden. The subject is very tame and not shy to human activities. Here are some photos shot with Chris equipment :

Here is a panoramic view of the shooting site, click the image for larger view:

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Doi Inthanon-Day 1

I was at Northern Thailand again on 20th Dec to 23rd Dec for a 4 days birding trip. I was mainly concentrating at Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain (2500 meter) in Thailand. I also engaged bird guide service from Mr Panuwat, the same guide that guided my last month trip to Doi Ang Khang and Doi Lang. The flight landed at Chiang Mai on time. The flight service from Thai Airway was very smooth. TG opted to use bigger aircraft such as 777 and 747 for the Bangkok to Chiang Mai sector is really brilliant. The flights were very comfortable and gave "value for money" service.
Upon stepping into the arrival hall, I was welcome by my guide, Par. We headed straight to Doi Inthanon in his Hilux. It was a 2 hours travel. At 10 am, we arrived at the first gate at the foothill.

At the Main Gate

After the gate, we headed to the Wachirathan Waterfall (at km 21). Our target at the waterfall are the Plumbeous Redstart and Slaty-backed Forktail. The view of the Wachirathan Waterfall is splendid.

Wachirathan Waterfall
Sony NEX-3

I spent a short moment at the waterfall. After that, we headed downstream to look for our target birds. I found a pair of Plumbeous Redstart, both male and female, not too far away from the waterfall.

Male Plumbeous Redstart took bath at the stream

Female Plumbeous Redstart

While I was photographing the Redstart, I heard a high pitch sound of "clik, clik, clik.......". Oh ! A Slaty-backed Forktail landed on rock not far from me. A dream come true.

Slaty-backed Forktail
Canon EOS 1 D mkIV EF 800 IS + 1.4 TC

After breaking for lunch at Mr Daeng's Restaurant, we headed to the camp site to look for the Black-tailed Crake. This species is quite shy and skittish, thus I had to use blind to "camo" myself and some worm to "seduce" the bird from the bush to the open area.

Black-tailed Crake

At about 5 pm, we went up to the view point near the summit for some landscape photography. I bought along my new Sony NEX-3 with the 16mm lens. I wanted to test the sweep panoramic capability of the camera.  Click the photos for larger view :

Panoramic View from the Summit
Sony NEX-3
Sweep Panoramic

Panoramic View from the Summit
Sony NEX-3
Sweep Panoramic

At the summit, I came across a pair of very tame Grey Bushchat.

Female Grey Bushchat

Male Grey Bushchat

Thanks for reading. Your comments are welcome.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Doi Lang - Part 5

December 11 2010. 26th of November was the last day of my 5 days Northern Thailand Trip, I had till 10 am to do a last round of shooting at the foothill of Doi Lang before heading to the airport. I went back to the Pink Cassia Tree which was discovered by some Thai Photographers on the previous day.

At 7 am I saw some species of Sunbirds, White-eye and Leafbirds came to the tree. I was very excited to see the birds coming. The birds came to feed on the flower nectar. Unfortunately It was windy and foggy. The bad weather condition caused most of my shots blur.

Foggy and windy condition

At 8.30 am, the fog started to clear and the wind slowed down. The golden morning sunlight created a perfect shooting condition.

My first lifer of the day is the colorful Gould's Sunbirds.

The Black-throated Sunbird was also attracted to the pink Cassia tree.

I got 2 species of White-eye from the same tree. There were Chestnut-flanked and Oriental White-eye.

A pair of Orange-bellied Leafbird :



An un-expected visitor also came to the tree, a Female Daurian Redstart :

Female Daurian Redstart
It was a very productive morning. I got 4 species of lifers at the pink Cassia Tree.

Overall my 5 days at Northern Thailand were full of excitement. I enjoyed the beautiful landscape of Northern Thailand and food. I managed to photographed over 30 species of birds. I would like to thank my bird guide, Mr Panuwat Sasirat (whoever interested on his bird guide tour, click the link here: wildbirdeco), who has worked very hard to find many species of birds and also his hospitality during my trip at Chiang Mai.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Doi Lang - Part 4

December 9 2010. On the 25th of November, it was the last full day at Doi Lang. I put in more efforts to look for some other species that I did not manage to photograph the day before. I also spent part of the morning session shooting behind the army kitchen, aiming to get improvement shots of the "tame birds". 

Here are some highlights of the day :

Rufous-winged Fulvetta

A small and fast moving bird

Thanks to Par (my bird guide), he managed to find this fella before we headed back to the foothill.

Yellow-bellied Fantail

Some birds at Doi Lang are quite shy and skittish. It was not easy to get near. Here are some highly cropped photos:

Black Bulbul

White-headed Bulbul

Crested Finchbill

Ashy Drongo

Ashy Bulbul

Yellow-browed Warbler (P.inornata)
I also met a group of very friendly Thai Bird Photographers. We had a group photos before we left the place.

At the foothill, the Thai photographers discovered something un-expected, a blooming pink Cassia tree. The pink Cassia flowers attracted some species of birds to the tree. However, it was getting dark soon thus I decided to come back here early in the morning the next day.

This is the first blooming tree at this area.

I was excited to see many species of birds came to the tree.
To be continued. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Doi Lang - Part 3

At the view point.
The far end is the Burmese Border

December 2 2010. I spent two and a half days at Doi Lang. I personally feel that this is the best birding place for my 5 days trip. This place is quite remote thus the habitat here are not disturbed by human activities. There are more species of birds sighted here compared to Doi Ang Khang.

At the Thai Army Camp.
On the first day at Doi Lang, I started the day photographing some "tame" birds behind the Thai Army Champ kitchen. Among the species that frequently come here looking for left-overed foods are Red-faced Liocichla, Black-headed Sibia, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Blue-Whistling Thrush and Rufous-gorgetted Flycatcher. 
Red-faced Liocichla

Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush

Black-headed Sibia

Blue-whistling Thrush

Rufous-gorgetted Flycatcher
By 10 am, it's time to proceed to the summit view point. Along the way, my guide and I stopped over a few places.

Whiskered Yuhina at a fruiting tree

Getting ready for the White-gorgetted Flycatcher
A pair of White-gorgetted Flycatcher came to feed on some worms.
Some scenic views at the view point:

Here is a view of Thai and Burmese border
Shooting landscape with my 70-200 F4 IS

I met a British motor-rider who was embarking a journey from here to Peninsula Malaysia.
I provided him some tips of places of interesting in Malaysia.
By 12, it was time for a lunch break.

Lunch was prepared at the back of the Hilux. I like Thai food.
Bird's activity was slow from 1 pm till 4 pm. There were not much species sighted. By 4 pm, it was time for last round of shooting before we headed to the foothill.

I spotted a Spectacled Barwing not far away from the army camp.
Spectacled Barwing
Flavescent Bulbul
While driving toward the foothill. We saw a lonely Blue-breaded Bee Eater perched high up at a tree. I managed to get some "grab shot".

Thanks for reading.