Life in the Mountain – Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia Trip #4

July 31, 2008 at 6:19 pm | Posted in itchy backside | 1 Comment
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As mentioned before, our last trip to Fraser’s Hill was not very fruitful in terms of the number of bird species seen. Many birds were not seen this time round for whatever reasons I do not know, even the team from Singapore that came out first for the bird race had only over 70 bird species on their list. Certainly hope it was not a sign of declining bird species due to global warming. 😦

Anyway, walking and driving around looking for birds, I was hoping to be able to see my four legged shelled friend again. Years ago, when we weren’t driven up the hill by friends and had to walk around the whole Fraser’s Hill, we had a very surprise encounter. Tired from all the walking up and down with binoculars, spotting scope and my bag, I was lagging behind when Tisu Boy suddenly shouted to me, “or gui!” (hokkien for turtle) Immediately I ran towards him and I couldn’t believe my eyes! What a luck!

It was really an ‘or gui’ ! And not any ‘or gui’ but a real ‘sua gu’!
(hokkien for “mountain tortoise”, a term used to describe a country
pumpkin or ignorant person):-D In this case, it was a ‘sua gu’ cos
it stayed in the mountain! Hahah…:-D

Crawling in the shallow drain at the side of the road

I know I shouldn’t be touching wild life…but being a tortoise and turtle
fanatic, I couldn’t help it…:P This cutie should be the Asian Brown Tortoise πŸ˜€

There was something on top of his head, and I thought it was just a fruit that landed and stayed there. So when I petted him, I tried to flick it away. But the soft ‘fruit’ didn’t move. It was only now that Tisu Boy, through his camera lens, noticed that the ‘fruit’ had legs on it! :O

Oh my goodness! The ‘fruit’ turned out to be a humongous tick! Or maybe it was bloated after its blood meal? The poor turtle had such difficulty trying to withdraw his head into the shell! Wonder if it was painful or itchy? I wanted to remove the tick by force, but was not sure if it would hurt Brownie or not; or if he would continue to bleed like in the case of a leech bite.

See the legs of the tick? Evil looking fella…

He was crawling in the middle of the road where cars often passed by, so definitely it was not a good idea to leave him there. As he was not really alarmed by our presence, we took some time observing and taking pictures of him. We didn’t notice at that point of time, but upon scrutinising the photos later back home, we were shocked to find more ticks on poor Brownie’s foreleg!!

Can you spot those blood suckers from the photo above?

A total of five evil ticks just from this angle! I wonder if other parts of
the body had more? 😦

In the end, we decided not to pull out the evil tick and hoped it would, like a leech, drop off after it had its fill. But I couldn’t just leave Brownie behind and decided to move him back to where he should belong.

Tisu Girl to the rescue…wow, Brownie was heavy…As if he understood
my intention, he didn’t struggle πŸ™‚

And back to where he came from, down the valley into the woods…

Also see related post:
> Tick, Twitch and Snap! – Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia Trip #3
> Racing Above Sea Level – Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia Trip #2
> An Escape Into the Mountains – Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia Trip #1


Tick, Twitch and Snap! – Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia Trip #3

July 31, 2008 at 12:14 am | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Birdwatching is an activity where one ‘watches’, or rather, observes birds and their behaviours. There are a few types of birdwatchers. The first type is a ‘Ticker’‘ where one is satisfied just seeing as many birds as possible and putting a tick on his bird list. Often, a Ticker may not be interested to see birds that he has seen before. Many times, Tickers may ‘progress’ into ‘Twitchers‘. ‘Twitching‘ is a British term, meaning the observation of a previously located rare bird. Thus a Twitcher is one that is obsessed with accumulating species on his bird list that he may go all the way to chase or wait for rare birds. Then there are the group of birdwatchers who take photographs or video as record purposes. Birdwatchers learn and appreciate more about the feathered friends. Often, there will be a certain degree of twitching in every birdwatcher in the quest to see more bird species, otherwise we won’t be travelling to places looking for birds liao. Hahaha….

One of the most unlikely places for birdwatching must be this rubbish
tip at Fraser’s, where birders often endured the rotting smells to wait
for a glimpse of the Blyth’s Hawk Eagle. This pile seen here was considered
small and smell ‘mild’ compared to some times back…:p

There are also many jargons in birdwatching. A ‘trash bird’ is a bird that can be commonly seen everywhere. It’s almost guaranteed that you will see these birds. Our local thrash birds include the House Crows, Mynas and Sparrows etc. In Fraser’s Hill, their ‘trash birds’ are far more beautiful…

The Silver-eared Mesia, a commonly seen bird….wow! Their ‘thrash bird’
so colourful! :O

The Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush with its mouthful of worms for brekky…

The cute little Mountain Fulvetta

The less colourful but still elegant Long-tailed Sibia. These birds are
often among the first to arrive in a ‘bird wave’, where flocks of different
species of birds come together to feast on insects

The Lesser Racquet-tailed Drongo, a montane species. This one lost its racquet.
Under good lighting condition and you would be able to see its glossy
blue hues, which otherwise looked dark and dull

One of the happiest moments in birding must be seeing a ‘lifer’, a term used to describe the new bird seen for the first time.

The Blue Nuthatch, one of my lifers for the last trip

Seeing something new is always exciting, but sometimes seeing the whole family together made my day too!

The male Large Niltava with a fat meal for junior…Females have duller
coat of browns

The juvenile Large Niltava resembles mummy but has more spots

If you are lucky, you can find nests. These are the Glossy Swiftlets

This trip might not be our best trip for bird photography, but photo opportunities were abundant in Fraser’s Hill. Besides the many birds, there were also many different species of moths, insects and beautiful flowers. Gibbons were often heard and sometime seen too!

Behind the scene…No lah, Tisu Girl can’t lug this monster around the
mountain, it’s Tisu Boy…hahaha

Also see related post:
> Racing Above Sea Level – Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia Trip #2
> An Escape Into the Mountains – Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia Trip #1

Racing Above Sea Level – Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia Trip #2

July 28, 2008 at 1:32 am | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Our friend timed our visit to Frasers’ Hill last month for a couple of reasons: firstly, it was still within the breeding seasons for our feathered friends and secondly, it coincided with the annual Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race. Not only we could catch up with some fellow birdwatching friends but at the same time, we would have more pairs of eyes looking for rarer birds.

Wow this lady already started to spot birds even before the race began…

So what’s a “Bird Race“? Well, basically it is like the well-known tv show, “The Amazing Race”, where teams race around places. A “Bird Race” is where teams of birdwatchers, or birders, try to spot the most numbers of birds species within a time frame. In Singapore, we also have our annual bird race organised by the Nature Society (Singapore), where teams of at least three in two categories – the Advanced or the Novice, go around Singapore in search of birds within 24 hours and 19 hours respectively. It’s basically a game of strategy and stamina, where birders were tested on their familiarity with the birds’ habits as well as habitats so they could plan their route properly.

The bird race in Frasers’ Hill, organised by the Tourism Board of Pahang, attracted birders from Malaysia as well as overseas and many of our birding friends had joined the race before. In conjunction with the race, booths from different nature related groups and companies were set up.

The town centre was under renovation, so banners had to be hung on
these ugly make shift panels

A carnival-like event where kids were entertained by clowns…Fraser’s
Hill, besides being a favourite haunt for nature lovers, is also
a holiday spot for families. So you get to see kids running around the
bird race booth

Hey, whassup?

The Seasame Street Clown….

I love this hornbill poster! Malaysia has many species of hornbill.
This trip I only managed to see two flying past…

Educational posters like this reptile one were put up at some booth

Snakes of Malaysia

Primates! How many can you recognise?

This year none in our group decided to join the race but to take it easy. But hor, they seemed to be taking things too easy oso leh…:p

Wow lao! My friends here were so engrossed in shopping that we had to
‘gently’ remind them that we were here birdwatching…:p

So off we went to continue looking for birds – for some of us, the agenda was to have more ‘ticks’ on the bird list, while for Itchyfingers, it was to record more beautiful bird species with our cameras. Fraser’s Hill is a wonderful place for birdwatching because of the cool weather and also at different altitude you would find different kinda birds. There were still many that I have not had the chance to see after my many visits. Will share some amazing bird photos in the next post!

Also see related post:
> An Escape Into the Mountains – Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia Trip #1

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