Thursday, November 13, 2014


Some birds are just simply very hard to photograph. It takes a lot of time, patience and a whole lot of luck. Having experienced all the elements, I learned to accept and most of the time comforting myself that there will always be next time. I guess this is why bird photography is quite addictive...

Below are some of the harder ones in my opinion due to their size and behavior:-


Raffles Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus chlorophaeus ♀)
 Difficulty: Very Hard- likes dense vegetation

Little Spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra)
 Difficulty: Medium- predictable feeding behaviour

Orange-backed Woodpecker (Reinwardtipicus validus)
Difficulty: Very Hard- Scarce resident

White-browed Shortwing (Brachypteryx montana) ♀
Difficulty: Super Hard- very small, skittish and skulking.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Asian Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus)









I had mixed feeling during the shoot.

Obviously, I was extremely excited when I noticed the bird was not really bothered with my friends and I presence. It kept feeding and feeding and feeding with little care of the surroundings.

I did little bird photography for quite a while now. Once a while, I did went to Kinabalu National Park to meet up with "old friends". Recently, I hit a jackpot when I met Mr. Whitehead's Trogon and family. Earlier were Blackeye Mountain Bird and also the Golden-naped Barbet. It was a great fun, I must say.

Anyway, I'll do a post about that later...

Back to our little friend here, classified as Near Threatened by IUCN I was also not so pleased to see just a single individual on that beach that day. There were also some Ruddy Turnstones, Common Ring Plover and some other species, but just a single Asian Dowitcher.

As my lifer, I was glad to have recorded it...but it would be even greater if there were more than one. Maybe I'm asking a bit too much, but wouldn't you think so? It is also disheartening to know their number are declining mainly due to habitat loss and also global warming. I wonder when will that be not the reason behind the decline...

Meanwhile, I guess I'll do my little part...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Common Kingfisher : The Lucky Break

Some gems are found at places where you least expected them to be.

More often than not, the public expects bird photos are taken at national parks, gardens and bird sanctuaries throughout the world. In general this expectation is true. However, depending on the species some of the most beautiful ones could also be found in your backyard.

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo Atthis) is a winter visitor to Borneo. Found in Europe and North of Asia, it amazes me how this 15cm flyer darted through the elements every September to migrate to Borneo and only to fly back sometime in April every year. It's a miracle and I could imagine only a handful could make it every year.



If you happen to live by a padi fields, rivers or swamps here in Borneo, you have a good chance to find them there. Usually prefers small twigs overhanging the water, you would also want to check out on top of the fences or dead branches not too high from the water.

I have had many encounter with this tiny jewels. The Common Kingfisher colors is a bit paler compared to the local Blue-eared Kingfisher which is also similar in size, but that doesn't mean they're not beautiful. A bit skittish, I have to say I have a lot of frustrating hours with them before.

This year I have to admit I have a better luck. Thanks to my good buddies who shared the location with me, I had two weekends to try my luck.

I have never gone as close as 30m to this bird before, but this year I was merely 6m away from this guy and without a hide. If there's only one tip to share I would say stay low, avoid eye-contact and be very silent and no sudden movements...and yeah, keep your flash for other uses.

Cheers and Happy birding!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's As Easy As 123!

Okay, don't act like you're not surprised that I'm here posting on my blog again. I kinda missed doing this, you know. I've been keeping myself quiet, quite a bit of time you know. Trying to think what I should talk about on my blog..( yeah, right you might think!)

Okay class(LOL), today I wanna talk a bit about etiquette, ethics, unwritten rules, law (or whatever you wanna call it) in bird photography. I am no expert but I'm good...not the best but better than some of the rest. The issue I would like to address today is about distance. Distance between a photographer and the subject.  Which in this case are birds.

In my thousands of shutter clicks experience of birds, there's similarity to all of them regardless of species. They are a lifeforms with feelings. Yes, feelings. I do think they does have the feeling of anger, anxiety, curiosity, fear, hot, cold, etc. These feelings are for us to understand and to manipulate. So guys, mind your distance.

Let me show you how it's done...

Lesson No.1- Look at the watch.

Birds are like human, if it's hot they want to cool off too. Mountain birds are sensitive to heat. Sunny days are the time to catch them taking a dip. Pick your spot on a rocky stream and wait for the sign. This might take a while but you will get them. If you are still enough, or if you are in a hide... the composition is all yours. Be it full framed shots or even some nice habitat shot...they would not mind you being there...


Lesson No. 2- Call them!

Some birds like the Red-bearded Bee-eater is so freaking busy body. They 'laugh' like Santa Claus and if you imitate their song they'll come flying to you as if you are Snow White singing in the rainforest. You don't have to use hides or playback for this kinda bird. They are curious and daring enough to get close to you.


Lesson No.3- Get busy & lucky!

Don't just sit there reading about reviews, news feed, worrying about your gears what you don't and what you do have. Get out and shoot man!What the heck are you thinking! Birds won't go and knock your door for you to photograph them. Some rare species only live in certain habitat, so use your knowledge to a good use. Pack your stuff, get busy an find your luck. 

Once you're there, repeat steps 1, 2, 3! Even if your there doesn't mean they are there...look closer & find them!


Well, It's as easy as 123 Isn't it? Is there any rules or etiquette  broken in doing the 123??? I don't think so...Okay, I'm done for now. Hope all of you enjoyed my class... until then, see you. Don't forget the 123 rules!

P/s...All pictures above were taken using Canon EOS40D & more or less posted at the original form.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Upgrade the Hard Work, then the Work Upgraded...

The Canon EOS 7D, my current one and only DSLR has served me well. From the cold snowy mountain of Zugspitze, Germany to the hot and humid rainforest of Sandakan, Borneo...She never failed me since 2009 and I'm sure she fails me never...to the coming years to come.

Prior to her, a Canon 40D used to serve me. A hard working companion, my bitter sweet mechanic tutor. Teaching me the hard way how to not take a snap of a picture. She brought me pain and agony of missing the moments, but joy and smile nailing them in the process.

Three years later and in the verge of becoming obsolete the Canon 7D is promised a new life. Nothing short of surprises nor excitement... I welcome and eagerly awaits for the punch of new intelligence to her already excellent being. Thank you in advance Canon for the new firmware. I've never expected my hole-in-my-pocket matrimonial  investment to be a real value for money...hehehe

Anyway, in the thick of things i suddenly remembered quite a handful of not-so-bad bird shots using the Canon EOS 40D. Below are the few, as a reminder for myself that hard-work is really the key to every good things and surely the first small step before the giant leap. Not the best..but surely not the worst. I guess I won't be upgrading anytime soon..for if the 40D can deliver these, the pimped up 7D could do much better...



Friday, January 20, 2012

Scarlet-rumped Trogon (Harpactes duvaucelii): Simply Stunning

Arguably one of the most handsome birds in the dense rainforest jungle of Borneo, the Scarlet-rumped Trogon is the smallest of them all. At 23cm, they are shy of 10cm compared to the Whitehead's Trogon the truly, and one and only montane trogon (endemic).

To make you feel better, the Scralet-rumped Trogon is the most common ones despite their size. They can be found at most undisturbed jungle throughout Borneo. All you have to do is cover all the ground...???

Personally, I have several encounters with this species...quite a number of times. Frankly speaking..to classify them as common? not in my book! They are just as hard to find as the Whitehead's Trogon or the Red-Naped...

Anyway, don't be too discouraged there. Nike says "just do it"...to pump up the spirit, enjoy these personal best...not the best...yet..lol ;-)




#1 Female


#2 Male

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Malaysian Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis turcosus)

One bird that i really love to photograph are the flycathers. They are all around us in Borneo, from then mangrove forests all the way up to the mountains.

I don't know but they have this unique personality, and almost photogenic! Somehow or rather, they know they are attractive and adorable. I just think they are natural in front of a camera...lol

This particular Malaysian Blue Flycatcher, was taken at a riverbank at Sungai Menanggol, Sukau. At 13cm, even though brightly colored blue-and-orange...was not easy to spot, specially in the dark and gloomy part of the river bank.

Playing hard to get at first, it gave me that split second opportunity right at the right moment at the right spot. The boat chase was worth it in the end!

To have an expert spotter beside you during a birding trip is really crucial, specially when you know you have invested a lot for the trip. That time, I was lucky I had my good buddy the local bird expert Jason...A.K.A Horukuru (I just have to mention this famous name!) with us.

My beloved 7D has been idle in the dry box for too long now i guess...obviously not anymore, rest assured on that. We'll see what happen next...mean while, enjoy this as much as i enjoyed taking it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mission Accomplished: Fruithunter hunted

We really did it this weekend.

A couple of weeks ago, we planned to go to Kinabalu National Park Headquaters (KNP). Unfortunately, Jason got a nasty cut on his right thumb because of an accident and we had to cancel our outing.

Not today tho, we did it!

It was a fruitful day. Happy to say mission successfully accomplished. Alphons, Jason, Zaiton and I were targeting the elusive Fruithunter. We have seen a few times, except for Alphons but no satisfactory pictures to... well, to close the case before.

The Fruithunter is a rare mountain endemic, seeing it is a pleasure...well getting a good photo is a different kind of satisfaction.

Alfons got his lifer and some nice "record shots" and the rest of us improved our earlier shots of the bird. Beside that, the real bonus for the day was obliging Blue and White Flycatcher. Rather a scarce winter visitor, today we found it and had a fun time shooting them.

Anyway, these are some of the picture taken today.

P/S all pictures were taken using P300+30XWDS+ED82 Fieldscope...



#1...One of my dreambirds, the Fruithunter (Chlamydochaera jefferyi) This was my first encounter at KNP HQ and of course one of my clearest pictures of the bird. This is a female.


#2...Sunda Bush-Warbler (Cettia Vulcania), very skulking and hard to photograph. Here, only just but satisfactory to me nonetheless.


#3...same bird at the same perch..Something only burst capability the Nikon P300 P&S camera can do.


#4...The best ever personal shot of this species.


#5..Male fruithunter at a ridiculous angle..sigh..


#6...Little Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula westermanni), one of the obliging birds of the day...


#7...same bird at a different angle.


#8..Blue and White Flycatcher (Cynoptila cynomelana)..I have to admit, these are some of the best shots i have ever taken with my digiscope. Personal best!


#9...I just love it!


#10... Can you blame me?? look at the overall balance of everything...I am definitely heads over heel with the shot...


#11... Snowy-browed Flycatcher (Ficedula hyperythra), not the best photos, but nonetheless satisfied..it was dark and about to rain.


#12 Grey-throated Babbler (Stachyris nigriceps), Not the easiest subject to photograph... to digiscope is even worse! obviously, I like it coz I don't know if I ever have the chance again..



#13...Lesser Coucal (Centropus bengalensis), please don't be alarmed..this was taken in Penampang afterwards...(Ehemmm...this was a handheld digiscoping shot...)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus): The video

I don't have anything against still photos, I love em just as much.

Sometime when an opportunity comes knocking, but all the elements are against you. There's this small red button on the camera that would turn the table around.

Videograph...yup! Tested it before with my Sony H5. Quality was bad, but it was some 5 years ago technology. Nowadays, with full HD capability...no complains for me. So, the video function in my Nikon P300 is awesome!

The video below is created using imovie software from my macbook pro...simple and easy. I wish I have more control but yet to have the time to master them.

I wished the bird was on a better perch, but it's okay I guess...satisfactory behavior record here..check it out:-

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dull Weekend? I guess not...

I'm back to my old self again...

After being idle for a while, the engine is now getting warmer and runs quite smoothly. Not after a little tweaks here and there of course.

Last weekend was the time I was put to the test. A family trip to Gayana Eco Resort and Bunga Raya Resort located at Pulau Gaya (Gaya Island), organized by my wife's company really tested me.

To cut the story short, I was desperate and living in agony in a luxurious resort! Guess what, I was not the only one..coz wifey's eye were wildly looking for any sign of birds too!

The urge of going birding is bursting in our veins again. We've had enough rest and ready to roll again. So far so good and can't wait for our next hunt.

For this post, I purposely did not include the birds' name. Test yourself, open up the field guide or website to identify them. That way you would know how exciting and challenging our hobby is... have fun!

P/S: All photos were taken using Nikon ED82+Nikon P300+30X WDS