Malaysia:   Into the Jungle    p 1 of 2


25 Oct 2014

There are forests, peaceful green settings for quiet contemplation, and then there are jungles.  Lowland Malaysia is jungle, hot & steamy, with mosquitoes, no-seeums, & leeches waiting just for you. 

And the birds?  At Panti forest, 90 km northeast of Singapore,  a "bird sighting" often consists of a quick look at something dark as it flits from an impenetrable wall of green on one side of the track into an impenetrable wall of green on the other side.  A tiger could be in there and you'd never see it.  Really. 

But the birds can be splendid.  Just look at those photographed by Singapore-based Con Foley (  Con organized and is leading my photo shoot into Malaysia.  The challenge becomes obvious in Panti.   Here it is an achievement just to get a photo of the common Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, a relative of Old World warblers.



Rufous-tailed Tailorbird

Blue-winged Leafbird





Ironically,  the best chances for photos come because roadsides in Panti are lined with an invasive shrub, Clidemia hirta, a melastome from tropical America.  Known affectionately as Koster's Curse here, its dark fruit  is relished by Blue-winged Leafbirds.

Not all tropical birds are dazzling beauties.   In fact, one of the commonest groups of birds here, the bulbuls, are with a few exceptions not very colorul.  Such as this one, the Hairy-backed Bulbul.   Bulbul.jpg (227637 bytes)

Orange-breasted Flowerpecker





26 Oct 2014

The fruit of Koster's Curse is also enjoyed by another frugivore, the tiny, humminbird-sized Orange-breasted Flowerpecker. 

Later:  We're staying at the Rest Inn Hotel in the nearby town of Kota Tinggi.  Evening meals are taken at Chinese restaurants because in Muslim Malaysia, only they serve Tiger beer, without which no day of photographing birds can be reckoned complete.


Some birds, like this Checker-throated Woodpecker, would come down to investigate when Con used his mp3 player and speaker to play their call.  

`Checker-throated Woodpecker
Red-crowned Barbet  

Barbets are found all across Africa and Asia.  Here at Panti we have Brown Barbet and Red-crowned Barbet, which are mostly found in tree canopies where they are heard far more often than seen.   This Red-crowned Barbet came down to feed on fruit, which is failry plentiful here now.

Panti would be bird photography paradise if we could get photos of all the birds seen only at great distance or merely heard:   Banded Pitta, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Green Broadbill, Rail-Babbler, Little Green-pigeon, the list goes on.

But we get what we can, such as Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker feeding on the always-reliable Koster's Curse.

Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker


Barred Eagle-Owl  

27 Oct 2014

On the road northwest to Bukit Tinggi - Le Grandeur Palm Resort in Johor state is a resort that someone built.  This is the resort that has the restaurant that serves the food that fills the waste bins that attract the rats that are eaten by the Barred Eagle-Owls who live here at the resort that someone built. 

The owls have nested in flower boxes on the resort balconies.  Con, along with three other authors, published a paper on their breeding behavior in BirdingAsia, a publication of the Oriental Bird Club.

page 2 >