Birds at Fraser’s Hill

After butterfly and moth, finally get around writing about the real purpose of the trip to Fraser’s Hill – the birds. This was a birding trip after all.

We reached Fraser’s Hill early in the morning. It was raining and we waited at Punchak Inn for the rain to stop. But that didn’t stop some in the groups from dashing out to take photos when they heard bird calls from around the car park area. Think those were Laughing Thrush and a Green Magpie. After the rain, we made our way to our first birding stop of the trip, the Jeriau Waterfall. Seems like there is a Silver Breasted Broadbill spot in the area. We went all the way in to the end and indeed the guys quickly spotted it. Everybody, including M got a shot of it before it flew off. Everybody except me. [sad] I was looking around for butterfly instead! But as a consolation, I managed to shoot a Slaty backed Forktail while the rest were waiting for the Silver Breasted Broadbill to return. Which it did not. And after a long long futile wait, we finally decided to leave and go on to the next site.

Next site is a road near to Bishop Trail. Apparently the birds here are so used to human that they will just appear. It seems photographers have been feeding them or baiting in the industry lingo and the birds appear whenever human turn up. And boy, did they turn up. A Spectacled Laughing Thrush was the first one to appear. This was followed by a few Ruofus Browed Flycatcher. Cute little bird.

Rufous Browed Flycatcher

Next was a Niltava but I missed that as I was walking around with M, looking for monkeys and butterflies. M spotted a Mountain Bulbul though, a fairly common bird in the area.

Mountain Bulbul

Going back to the main birding area which was actually a drain culvert, I managed to shoot a White tailed Robin. Beautiful blue Robin. At least very different from the very common Magpie Robin.

White Tailed Robin

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Butterfly at Fraser’s Hill

Actually for my first oversea birding trip, I was just as excited that I can get to see butterflies and moths in addition to birds especially after reading posts from Butterfly Circle and others about the varieties there.  But the initial excitement quickly turned into disappointment when I didn’t spot that many butterflies as I thought will be able to.

Our first stop of the day after we reached Fraser’s Hill was the Jeriau Waterfall. I was hoping to see puddling butterflies along the banks but alas there wasn’t any, even though I walked up and down the length of the place many times. Perhaps the heavy dawn rain was the reason? I did see a few butterflies flying around – mainly Yellows and one or 2 Black/Blue butterflies but they were flying too fast for me to take any photos. Eventually we left the place around 11 am after the rest of the group gave up their quest for the Silver Breasted Broadbill. 

After lunch, the group went to a road junction for the Slaty Backed Forktail. And it was here that I finally got my first butterfly. Between trying to make sure I do not miss the birds and the butterfly, I had a hard time doing the balancing act but finally the egg was broken!

I think this is a Magpie Crow butterfly. There were a couple of them flying around near a small shelter and they were very skittish but eventually one landed on the ground just in front of me and I blasted away before it flew off. Incidentally, as this was a birding trip, I had only brought along a long lens certainly not very suitable for butterflies and other insects so all the photos are zoomed in from pretty far and crop to size for display purposes.

After check in, we went to the “Jelai Resort” which looks like a haunted house. But the butterfly hunt was looking up. There were a few flying around and eventually one settled long enough for me to take a decent shot. 

This is a Common 3 Ring if I am not wrong but it looks like the wings are pretty tattered.  I managed to snag another one later but it was in just as bad shape or maybe they are the same butterfly?

So day 1 ended with a big success for birds but not butterfly. The score was better for moths though but that will be for another post.

Next morning, we went back to Jeriau Waterfall. The group didn’t want to give up on the hunt for the Silver Breasted Broadbill and I was still hoping for more butterfly. Unfortunately again no puddling but there were a number of butterflies flying around. I managed some shots of them, most of them not very good photos though before I managed a slightly decent photo of a Grass Yellow.

I saw more of the black blue butterfly which I confirmed later to be Bluebottle but there is this other Black butterfly with a blue patch diagonally on its upper side which stopped briefing on one of the railings before it flew away. It came back later but all I managed to shoot was the lower side which was dull brown.

As far as I can cross reference from the Checklist at Butterfly Circle, this is a Horsfield’s Baron.  

I did see another butterfly. A Sergeant! And it was on the long lens of one of the group member. From where I was, I could only managed this awkward shot. 

And then on our way out, I finally got what I came for. Puddling butterflies! And at the carpark of all the place and not at the river bank. There were at least 4 species of butterfly including the beautiful Bluebottle.

There were also several Yellow coloured butterflies. 

Let me try and ID them: L-R Lesser Gull, Chocolate Albatross and Yellow Glassy Tiger (some expert reading this please correct me if I am wrong). I was so happy that I squat there and shoot and shoot until a car came and drove over the spot where the butterflies were puddling scattering all of them. 

Saturday was a good day for butterfly. After lunch, walking out of the Shahzan Inn, someone spotted a butterfly on a tree and started clicking. All of us joined in and this is a beauty. Remind me of a Discus fish.

I later found out this is a Pallid Faun and usually found up high in the forest and to see one so near and at eye level! I am a very lucky man. And to round off the day, I managed to get a nice shot of a nice Common 3 Ring butterfly. No tattered wings.

And that conclude my haul of butterfly for what is my first official birding trip and unofficial butterfly/moth trip (is there a equivalent term for butterfly similar to birding?). Not alot but still considering that I am a newbie at this and doing it along while the rest shoot birds, I am very satisfied with the results. 

Fraser’s Hill

Went to Fraser’s Hill over the weekend. First time there and not really know what to expect, perhaps something like Cameron Highlands. But no matter what was looking forward to the trip, cause it was to be my first overseas birding trip and secondly to get away from the scorching Singapore heat. Fraser’s Hill didn’t turn out to be what I expected though.

Firstly it is kinda undeveloped despite it being one of the few remaining cool highlands left in Malaysia. There was no 5 stars hotels, no posh restaurant, no tourist markets and no tourists! What was there were some old buildings left over from the colonial days and which has mostly been converted to either guest house or corporate holiday retreats like this place here.

Other buildings are not so well maintained and have been left to fall into disrepair and abandoned in fact.

Even the main accommodation for tourists were some old weary looking buildings with limited facilities like just a restaurant with mediocre food and a small gift shop like the Punchak Inn that we stayed at. 

No giant supermart; no shopping mall and no amusement parks. This could be hell of a boring place for general public which is why there are no hordes of tourists and I love it!

Fraser’s Hill is a place not for sightseeing tourists but for nature lover, the green kind and not the sun, sand and sea type. What Fraser’s Hill lacks, it more than make up for with abundant forests

Various hiking trails

And a mini waterfall

But Fraser’s Hill fame is not the forest or the cool air but the wildlife and more specifically the birds. And birders and other nature lovers come here, to look at all sort of colorful birds, butterflies and even moths. And that is the reason why I was there too but more of that in later posts.