Other Creatures at Fraser’s Hill

Ok absolutely the last post on Fraser’s Hill. Or at least until the next trip there. Beside bird, butterfly and moth, there are many other creatures. What I was hoping for was to see some more monkeys. There was supposed to be a few species of them around the area. On the first day, we saw the usual Long Tailed Macaques just outside our hotel.

The next day while out birding, we were lucky enough to see 2 White Thighed Surili high up on 2 different trees. My 200 mm can only captured one of them from afar.

Here is a close up of it. Looks like a mini Gorilla.

While trekking in one of the trails, the ladies saw this

Can see anything? It a wonder how they managed to spot this little critter on the ground

Photo by Molly Tan

Not only are the birds more colorful in Fraser’s Hill but the insect are much bigger too. Like this Cicada

Can’t tell anything from this photo right? How about this? Almost the length of my fingers!

Photo by Molly Tan

And this giant squirrel. Look at the length of its tail. 

And that concludes this mini-series on Fraser’s Hill. 

Dusky Langur @ Tanjong Tuan, Port Dickson

The first thing we noticed when we alighted from our bus at the PNB Ilham Resort was a monkey on a tree next to the road. Not any monkey but a Dusky Langur! Immediately those with readily available camera started snapping. Unfortunately for me, my gear was still in the bag and not setup and I know by the time I get anything ready, the little creature will be long gone, what with the oooh and haaa that the whole bus was making over it. And true enough, it soon sprung off.

The next with nature photography is that one need to seize every opportunity that comes along because you never know when it will happen again. And I was pretty disappointed that I didn’t manage a shot of it. But with hope eternal, after check in and on our way up to the lighthouse for the raptor watch, I was hopeful that we can spot more of them. But sadly even after doing a unplanned for trek through the reserve, we only saw 2 Long Tailed Macaque. I think M sense my disappointment or she was just as disappointed as me. On our way back to the resort while the rest of the group went back up to the lighthouse or to their room, she suggested going back to the alighting point to see when the langur has returned. And of course no luck.

There was a side road there and we decided to take a walk down to see what was there. Some birds – mainly Oriental Magpie Robin and a couple of Asian Glossy Starlings. And then we saw this tree.

Any by golly, Mother Nature was smiling on us for once! It was crawling with the Dusky Langur. Not one, not two but at least 8 – 9 of them. And I had my photos! Look at them. Aren’t they so so cute!

Further down the road, there were another 3 on a mangrove plant. So we had our fill of the Langur.

The next day some of the others also wanted to come and see the Langur. But sadly the road to the tree was closed and there was a gate. So we were very fortunate that we had stumbled upon them yesterday.

We did spot a couple of the Langur on our way to and from the Light House along the main path. But the lighting there was much poorer and there were too many visitors walking up and down and I didn’t get any usable shots from.

We heard there were 4 types of monkey in this area. The Tailed Macaque; Dusky Langur; Pig Tailed Macaque and Silver Langur. We didn’t get to sight the latter 2 but I happy that at least we got the Dusky Langur.

Snow Monkey

I always wanted to see the snow monkey. The first time I saw them was at the Ueno Zoo and that was a bit of a disappointment because they looked so miserable.

This time round I went to the Iwatayma Monkey Park at Arashiyama. For me, the highlight of the day must be the Japanese Macaques or Snow Monkey. First time seeing these monkeys up close and not in a cage or enclosures. These are “semi-wild” or “semi-tamed” monkeys much like those we have back in Sg. Not afraid of humans and will snatch food from visitors. They hang around the summit of the visitor centre at the Iwatayama Monkey Park on Arashiyama mountain. The monkeys are free to roam around and not confined to the Monkey Park but hey why want to hunt or gather food when there is food aplenty here from gullible tourist who pays to feed them.

Alert

Alert

Dozing

Dozing

Hopeful

Hopeful

Beijing Zoo and Aquarium

I make it a point to visit the major zoo in every country that I visit.  Last year when I was in New Zealand, we wanted to visit the zoo there but was dissuade by our host who told us that no zoo can compare with our Singapore Zoo. But still I wanted to go not to compare the zoos but to see some of the species that are not available in the Singapore Zoo.

So this recent trip to Beijing, we dutifully made a trip to the Beijing Zoo. The hope was to see some more unique animals like the Siberian Tiger and hopefully some other. The zoo had no website or at least one that I can find and the reviews on Trip Advisor was rather bad and so I went with quite a low expectation. It didn’t help that it was drizzling and yet the place was packed. Admission price was rather cheap at only RMB20 which also include admission to the Panda House.

With the rain pouring down, it was a miserable day for not just the visitors but also the animals. Here a poor fox huddled in one corner of its glass enclosure.3-DSC_0956

To avoid the rain, we skipped most of the open exhibits and walked only at those that had some shelters but these were mainly the smaller cage housing birds and small mammals and most of which were hiding indoor.

We then decided to head straight to the aquarium since that has to be indoor and away from the rain. We got a shock when we realize upon reaching the aquarium that there was a separate admission charge and at RMB150 – almost 10 times the admission price of the zoo! And yet it was crowded. We beat a hasty retreat and settle for a lousy lunch but it was still raining after lunch. The rest of the group decided to skip the aquarium but M & me decided to go in since we were there already.

There wasn’t anything much to see. The first part of the aquarium remind me of our old Van Kleef Aquarium with its small tank display of freshwater fish. The usual “giant” fish tank with all the sea water fish such as sharks, rays and bigger ocean going fish were not really that big and spectacular. But the aquarium boast of having Belugas and dolphins, of which the former was something I have never see even on tv. 4-DSC_1064

But sadly the 2 Beluga looks very stressed and pitiful. Throughout the time we were looking at it, they were almost always in an upright position. The aquarium also had 2 dolphins, housed separately in 2 teeny weeny little square tanks. One dolphin was swimming violently round and round and the other was just stationery in an upright position. The other “highlight” was the Chinese Sturgeon. Other than that, there was the usual fish and many many jelly fish.

Back out at the zoo, it was still raining and so we did a quick walk through. Unique animals spotted was the Snub Nosed Monkey, 1-PRP_1673

The Yak5-DSC_1069

And of course the Panda.2-PRP_1684
Overall, the place was a big disappointment. Not only were the animals housed in small enclosures despite the big sprawling site, the enclosures were badly maintained and mostly barren. And information provided were misleading. At the elephant enclosure, the display picture was of an African elephant but all the elephants were actually Asiatic elephants. And because of the rain, we didn’t manage to see the Bison, the Gorilla and Siberian Tiger. The only tiger on display was the more common White Indo China Tiger.

The saving grace for the trip was some beautiful birds in fairly large enclosures and there was a mini walk in shore bird aviary.7-PRP_1654

Channel Billed Toucan

Channel Billed Toucan

PRP_1635

Would I go there again? Definitely not. Would I recommend it as a place to visit when in Beijing? I think there are better place to go than this unless one really has nothing else left to do.

Bukit Batok Nature Park

Heard that the park is a small place but also heard that there are a lot of Laughing Thrush there so decided to make a trip there to look see look see. It started to rain when we neared Bukit Timah but the rain stopped when we reached the park. Unfortunately, there was thunder throughout and for fear of getting my gears wet, I had to do a quick walk through the various trails.

Just barely 5 minutes into the walk, we spotted a bird.  It was flirting from branch to branch and I only managed to pull off 3 shots before it flew off. I think it is a Olive Winged Bulbul.BBN_1550

Less than another 5 minutes later, heard some sound in the bush and a pack of what I came to see, the Laughing Thrush flew down. Managed to take a few shots but the birds were mainly blocked by the branches. BBN_1553Later on after I had packed up the camera and went for a short run, we spotted many many more of them all over the places and out in the open too!

But the catch of the day must be this 2 colugo.  So far the colugo I spotted has always been lying flat on the tree like this brown one.BBN_1582But this time just barely one feet above it was another one – probably a juvenile and it was facing us! What a catch!BBN_1573Of course our nature park will not be complete without the long tail macaque and there were quite a number of them.BBN_1599Other than the birds and animals, the highlight of the small little park is the quarry DSC01428Just how small is this park? After taking the photos, we went for a short run. After criss crossing the park twice and covering all of the side trails, we barely hit 3 km.  In the end, to round it up to 5 km, we had to do 2 sets of staircase at the 2nd entrance.BBN_1616