Easy pickings...
The Penang Birder
by Choy Wai Mun
2M ago
  It is that time of the year again for my annual pilgrimage to the forests of Kedah to witness the natural phenomenon courtesy of the fruiting trees found there. Dozens of forest species congregating on a single tree to feast is an occurrence that I do not think will ever cease to amaze and excite for me. This particular tree is new to me and its position and size is very promising indeed. With their constantly puffed out yellow throats, it was no surprise that the Finsch’s Bulbuls were the first birds to gain my attention. This species is relatively common here but I am not one to di ..read more
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A Manchurian for Christmas
The Penang Birder
by Choy Wai Mun
5M ago
  It is common knowledge that our forests are under threat but the devastation does not end there. Wetland habitats suffer a similar fate. In my home state of Penang, I am running out of wetlands to visit. And for someone with a soft spot for water birds, it is utterly depressing. The marshlands at Batu Kawan would have been my saviour if it has not been slated for development in the near future. At the break dawn, my companions and I plodded along the soft laterite access road cutting through a construction site. It may not sound much like a birding trip but that is what one has to endur ..read more
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Northward bound
The Penang Birder
by Choy Wai Mun
5M ago
  The alarm went off at four in the morning. I do not recall it being this difficult to drag myself out of bed at this hour. Another sign of old age perhaps. By the time I don my usual drab-coloured birding attire, anticipation took over the reins. The tiny but fascinating state of Perlis awaits and this seduced my senses with the possibilities of encountering some far from common species. Up here at the northern tip of the peninsular, the climate is usually dry with sunny blue skies. And the cloud formations further enhanced the appeal of the scrublands surrounding Timah Tasoh Lake. T ..read more
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Compromising is the key to all happiness
The Penang Birder
by Choy Wai Mun
6M ago
  It has been far too long since I last experienced the birding wonders of Fraser’s Hill. When my better half suggested we should do a short getaway from our hectic working lives and each choose a location, mine was an easy decision. Initially, I had my doubts if it was even possible for a birder like yours truly to have a somewhat normal vacation up this hill resort. However, the years have taught me that a happy marriage is all about compromise and compromise I did. It was only a night’s stay and I booked a cozy (and birdy) little bungalow that will hopefully be able to keep both of us ..read more
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Land of the winged giants
The Penang Birder
by Choy Wai Mun
10M ago
  It has been months since my last blog entry. Probably the longest lapse since I started blogging. Heavy work schedules and age are the main contributing factors. Yes, I have reached a point in my life where the heart and mind are as passionate about birding as ever but the body is not. Age catches up with everyone. It is just a matter of time. Midlife crisis aside, I set off to the wild interiors of Kedah state with two companions to look for hornbills in particular and the captivating aura engulfing the locality upon our arrival reminded me just how much I miss my birding adventures ..read more
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The marvel of fruiting trees (chapter 2)
The Penang Birder
by Choy Wai Mun
1y ago
  The draw of the fruiting trees was simply too strong to resist and I found myself back at the same locality exactly one week later. However, I was disappointed to find relatively few birds patronizing the trees despite of the fact that ample fruits were still available. I guess that is birding. One can never truly know what to expect. The arrival of a couple of Cream-vented Bulbul helped to lift my spirit. With wholly white irises, there was nothing suspicious of their identification. I do not come across the Streaked Bulbul all that often but my joy was short lived as this pair wa ..read more
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The marvel of fruiting trees
The Penang Birder
by Choy Wai Mun
1y ago
  When in season, the fruiting trees of the interiors of Kedah state can be phenomenal. More than a dozen of birds can and will congregate to feast. These natural bird magnets do not only attract the birds but birders and photographers as well. For the past two years, the coronavirus kept me from my yearly pilgrimage here to pay homage to this revered occurrence. With the worst of the pandemic finally over (hopefully), I visited the trees with my Singaporean guests and we were not disappointed. Yes, it is trees. Two of them are in season to be exact and located almost next to each other ..read more
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Pied lifers...
The Penang Birder
by Choy Wai Mun
1y ago
  Birders share a common passion which is of course the birds. However, everyone has their own preferences and tastes. For me, it has always been water birds. I find it difficult to explain how a dull water bird is able to complete with a dazzling forest bird but that is how I am built. Anyway, not all water birds are boring. Some are unique and striking like the Pied Avocet. Even before the first Malaysian record was discovered a few years back in Borneo, it has been one of my dream birds. When Peninsular Malaysia’s first Pied Avocet popped up in Batu Kawan, my home state was back in the ..read more
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In search of a rare gull
The Penang Birder
by Choy Wai Mun
1y ago
  The Important Bird Area of the Teluk Air Tawar – Bagan Belat coastline injected a dose of exhilaration into the local Penang birding community by playing host to a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull. It is undoubtedly a rare migrant to our shores and four enthusiastic birders including yours truly decided to try their luck for this would-be lifer. Birding at this locality is now mostly a maritime affair due to current landscape and restricted accessibility to roosting spots. And the local fishermen now have an additional source of income by ferrying birders around. A beautiful sunrise ..read more
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Intriguing Land of Smiles
The Penang Birder
by Choy Wai Mun
1y ago
  It has been more than two years since we last set foot on foreign soil and apart from donning face masks, boarding an plane out of Malaysia is pretty much the same as it used to be. A few hours later, we found ourselves in The Land of Smiles and our vacation in northern Thailand began. This was not a birding trip as I was with my better half and birds that I may encounter during our stay here in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai would be a bonus. This part of the country is quite appealing and some of the views, spectacular. Needless to say, after what everyone has gone through, this little get ..read more
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