Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tambunan Orphanage: An Emotional Day

Somehow I just knew exactly how Ron felt when he took this shot during his visit to the orphanage...

Images transferred here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Moving Up North: We had a blast!

I’ve been going back and forth from Labuan to Tuaran almost every week now. Not too much of birding activities, my missions are more to assisting my family to adjust to our new place away from the city.

We have moved to my hometown Tuaran, where almost everyone knows each other. A good place for bringing up the kids and also to have more opportunities for our birding activities!

Last weekend a good friend of ours, Mr.Alven Chang invited us for a visit to his resort lodge in Ulu Usukan, Kota Belud. Chai, Siesie, Ron and I together with our families were more than happy to oblige to his request. How often does one person get free stays in resorts? Let alone with family??

A 40 minutes drive from Tuaran (I was driving slowly…had to be extra careful coz I forgot when was the last time I went to Kota Belud…not familiar with the road), I was astonished to find a beautiful resort located in a unique environment.

Busy to fulfill all my kids’ request, I didn’t have any opportunity to take pictures of the lodges and the surrounding area to share here. Believe it or not, we didn’t even take any group photos in this particular trip! Sorry Alven, I’ll be back!

I have read and heard about the birds which can be found in Kota Belud especially from Jason’s Blog. We didn’t go to the Paddy Field but in our short spell there, I managed to capture lifers within the lodge’s area! Enjoy…

1. Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)

2. Black-Belied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus diardi)

3. Black-Bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus diardi)

4. Brown-streaked Flycatcher (Muscicapa williamsoni)

5. Brown-streaked Flycatcher (Muscicapa williamsoni)

I have to say that this trip was more than I have expected. Going to a place which you don't know really well can cause some major frustration or some extreme excitement. Well, I personaly had the latter.

With that kind of results, I must admit I had a blast of a birding moments in a place which is called...The Teluk Usukan Resort. Alven, Thank you for the treat!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

2009 Bird Photograph Account: Officially Opened

Tambunan was the first place we visited on the first day of the New Year 2009. Chai, Siesie, Alphonsus, George, Zaiton and I embarked early from Kota Kinabalu to open our accounts for 2009.

Searching and waiting at the Rafflesia Centre for hours, we switched plan and headed for Kinabalu National Park (KNP) instead. It seemed that all the birds there were still resting after the New Year’s celebration the night before…

Unlike in Tambunan, KNP was livelier. I managed to capture some photos enough to say it was a successful trip. Enjoy;

1. Mugimaki Flycatcher (Ficedula Mugimaki)

I saw another one in Tambunan earlier that morning. The Mugimaki Flycatcher is a common passage migrant and winter visitor. However, this encounter was only the third time for me.

2. Brown Wood-Owl (Strix leptogrammica)

How I wished to have better angles for this huge Owls. There was a time when all of us stop shooting and enjoyed the beauty of these owls through the Binoculars.

3. Black-sided Flowerpecker (Dicaeum celebicum)

One of my favorite flowerpeckers. However, due to their size and behaviour they are not really good models. They are too jumpy!

4. Indigo Flycatcher (Muscicapa indigo)

When luck is with you, then the only thing that stands between you and the bird is...CF cards! Taken at a frame filling size, I have to say that this was one of my best shots. I had my speedlite but fortunately for me the battery died during this shot. It appeared that this was the best light for this flycatcher shots.

I lost counts of the shots I made for this bird but lucky for me one turned out better than I expected. My initial shots for my 2009 account is officially opened.

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Trogons in SFR: I'm getting close

I had once come real close to the bird that still haunts me by its sheer beauty. It was not in the dense rainforest of Sandakan. Described as the “Hidden Secret” by the local birders, it is merely a few minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu to reach Sugud Forest Reserve (SFR).

My encounters with the trogons have been regular lately. The first was the unforgettable moments in Sepilok where Mr. Alphonsus searched hard not to disappoint me and Ronald on our last day there. The Diard’s and Red-Naped perched not far from each other...

Technically speaking, we had plenty of time to get pictures of them. Funny thing though, when a scarce opportunity lies right under your nose you’ll start to lost composure. Your hands starts to shake, your contact lenses starts to dehydrate and vision become blur… I have not published any of the pics, the reason is obvious.

Rated top on my wish list, I sense that my hands still trembles whenever a Trogon is in front of me. With Jason’s assist, the Trogons came and checked us out on our last trip to SFR. This is the half chance I got with a Trogon(sigh);-
Diard's Trogon (Harpactes diardii)
I shall wait for the moment when I proudly annouce I have nailed a good shot of the Trogons. I have a good feeling that SFR is getting me closer to my current goal. I'm getting close...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Purple Heron (Ardea Purpurea): My Best Action Shots

I really pushed my luck that day. It was raining heavily when I reached Likas Bird Sanctuary that I turned back to Tuaran after sending my wife to her office. It wasn't long when the rain stopped and I quickly made a U-turn to continue with my plan.

Obviously, the weather was far from perfect. It drizzled when I went into the reception to pay the RM3.00 fee. I smiled when I register in...a familiar name just above mine, Karim M. One of the hard-core birders around.

It was quiet as I slowly walked towards the hide. I didn't even see any egret, which is common there. "Is this one of the days when I'll go home empty handed?" I asked myself. After about an hour or so in the hide, with no activities whatsoever, I mounted my 1.4X to try my luck on the Purple Herons nesting on the far end of the swamp areas.

I made a few attempts but the results were not desirable. Frustrated, I started to pack my gear and ready to move when an opportunity came knocking. Taken at frame-filling sizes, the ugly background is the least of my concerns... Enjoy;

Indeed these are my best action shots of this bird ever... Thank you for reading!