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 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 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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Scarce Passage Migrant: Digiscoped

Life couldn't be much easier...

Among other things that really impress me about digiscoping is the ability to videograph using budget digital cameras. In my case is the Nikon P300. With full HD features, the P300 is more than satisfactory in this department.

I am quite overwhelmed with my additional setup. Not that I'm complaining, I'm simply overjoyed..and frankly speaking, couldn't wait for my next outing!

It's light and really easy to carry around. I had the impression that it would be a hassle and restricts ones mobility before. Perhaps it might, depending on the shooting environment but I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

It's migration season, so we expected more visitors coming or stopping by here in Kota Kinabalu. We haven't seen any duckies but some good records of scarce and vagrants such as the Sharp-Tailed Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, Marsh Sandpipers, Oriental Plovers and even the Red-Necked Phalaropes.

Again, I am keeping my fingers crossed on both hands to get hold of them, because at the moment I only have these guys and unposted Temminck's Stint.

P/S: All videos were recorded using Nikon P300+ED82 Fieldscope+30X WDS

Monday, November 7, 2011

What A Day?: Waders day

Its a holiday today in Malaysia. So, there's nothing much to do except for birding i guess.

The weather have been bad these weekend, strong wind and it rained almost every night. No more blue sky like a few days before. However, it's a blessing in disguise. At least it's not that hot. Birding in an open space like the paddy fields or beaches was not as torturing, not to mention the pleasant light...just what I needed...

Today was also a great day for me as far as birding is concerned. Got some good records of birds and also happened to be my lifers as well. The digiscope is really a great invention...brilliant idea!

I have these photos to tell you how much I enjoy my setup:-

#1 Alphonsus a.k.a The Beastmaster...Out of the jungle of Sandakan and ready to raid the plains of the West Coast!

#2 Wood Sandpiper...the cowards who also scare off other waders with their warning sirens!

#3 Yellow Bittern...On it's stride

#4 Greater Sand Plover...from a safe perimeter, they couldn't be bothered to see a two legged man...

#5 The Terek Sandpiper...My lifer no. 1! Saw a pair but managed to get a shot of one...I was lucky it took a pit stop! They are quick!

#6 The Ruddy Turnstone...Lifer No.2 A scarce passage migrant...seemed to mix with the Greater Sand Plover.

#7 Ruddy Turnstone... If you got a chance..Once is never enough!

All photos were taken with a Nikon P300 mounted to Nikon ED82 Fieldscope with 30X WDS eyepiece.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

100 Percent Digiscoping: Not Bad...Not Bad At All

After a long absence of birding at Kinabalu National Park, we were supposed to go for our outing there yesterday (Sat, 05/11/2011). Alphonsus, Jason, me and my wife Zaiton decided to car pool and supposed to meet at my place around 7.00 AM.

It was a beautiful and pleasant morning until I received a telephone call from Jason. He was involved in an accident just a couple of kilometers away from my house. I rushed to see him and glad he was okay. I was even more grateful to see his wife and daughter were unhurt. I didn't expect he was with his family!

There was some minor scratches on the side of his car but I couldn't believe to see a bad cut at the base of his right thumb! According to him, that was due to turning the steering wheel vigorously. The skin was torn apart! He received 6 stitches for that...

We canceled our plan because of that..but credit to Jason, we were in Kota Belud today birding! Lucky for him, he got a lifer today. Not a norm, when you already sighted hundreds of bird species...Well, for Borneo alone, he's seen 455 including the latest find!

Congratulation to him, the commitment and determination he's admirable and inspiring!

When it comes to waders, I really couldn't tell which one's which. They all looked the same to me...before! Thanks to Jason's recommendation, my view is much better with Prostaff 7 8X42. No guarantee I can become well-versed, but I can surely improve.

There were quite a number of birds I saw today and happy to share that I got two lifers. Having said that, I could not have recorded them better if I not because of the scope. Anyway, these are some of the shot I got from the plain of Kota Belud:-

#1, Olive-Backed the colors!

#2 Common Kingfisher...With a mouthful! I was 3 seconds slow!

#3 Common Kingfisher...One shot is never enough

#4 Curlew Sandpiper...It was an honor to have sighted it with an expert...

#5 Little Ringed Plover...Is it???

#6 Oriental Pranticole...Always on a look out for a predator.

#7 Temminck's Stint (lifer) & Long-Toed Stint...Notice the difference?

#8 Temminck's Stint (lifer) & Long-Toed Stint...Side view...Notice the difference yet?

#9 Common Kingfisher...Just a crazy attempt shooting it without tripod...what do you think??

#10 Peregrine Falcon...The common migrant race. The resident race are the scarce ones and appear much darker.

Overall, I am quite pleased with all the photos I took with a digiscope. All I can say is it's not bad at all!