Sunday, 4 December 2016

Day 1, Peninsular Malaysia...

Welcome to a series of blog posts following my visit to Peninsular Malaysia!

I've just been fortunate enough to accompany tv zoologist, producer, birder and fellow herper, Nigel Marven on a short tour to explore the diverse wildlife of Peninsular (West) Malaysia. Visiting a country that's so ecologically diverse with such esteemed company is a truly awesome experience and a great honour - thanks for the invite Nigel! The posts that follow will cover our week-long trip, starting with one of the oldest rainforests on earth, Taman Negara and finishing on the cooler montane slopes of Bukit Fraser (or Fraser's Hill) to the Northeast of Kuala Lumpur. Both are birding hot-spots and offer a wide variety of other wildlife too.

Malaysia is home to over 700 species of birds (not to mention it's wealth of mammals, plants, insects, reptiles and amphibians), below is a map to outline the area I've been visiting with Nigel. My trip was to Peninsular (West) Malaysia but Malaysia also occupies part of the island of Borneo to the east.

Map of Peninsular Malaysia.
Thailand and Cambodia to the north and Sumatra to the south. It sits in the South China Sea.
The two areas visited in Peninsular
Malaysia - Taman Negara and Fraser's Hill

Day 1: 23/24 November 2016
My journey started with a routine 13-hour flight from London to Kuala Lumpur (KL) with British Airways on one of their new Boeing 787 Dreamliner services, which got me in to KL around 15:50 local time (Malaysia is +8 hours GMT). I transferred to the comfortable surroundings of the Sama Sama Hotel (formerly the Pan Pacific), which is attached to the airport terminal by a glass walkway. I had my first Malaysian bird tick whilst walking through this walkway, a 1st winter Asian Glossy Starling, which appeared to have stunned itself against the glass wall.

1st winter Asian Glossy Starling, Kuala Lumpur. Taken on my smartphone.
It was from the hotel that I met up with Nigel and where we were due to meet our birding guide from Junglewalla Tours the following morning. But for now, it was time to rest and start getting use to the 30° heat and humidity. A bit of late afternoon birding from the window of my room yielded more new birds - a pair of White-throated Kingfishers, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Pacific Swallow and a nice mixed flock of Common and Javan Mynas.

Common Mynas were always a bit distant and not as common as
their Javan cousins.
A very distant White-throated Kingfisher in the hotel garden
 just before dusk
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Javan Myna, cheeky little birds.
Just a taste of what's to come...

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