Hard Birding Taman Negara

HaubenfasanRight at the entrance to the Taman Negara National Park in the middle of Malaysia you have the chance to experience an early bird show. So one morning I was standing with a group of bird watchers near the campsite between construction vehicles and looking into a fruiting tree. Undeterred by the hotel staff and other early risers strolling downstairs, various birds have arrived to munch on fruit.

While the early bird show in the open area is very entertaining, you can of course also experience the rainforest inside by walking through it on boardwalks. Various hiking trails lead from the resort; All are suitable for short walks, some are the starting point for challenging “jungle” hikes. But that’s “hard birding” most of the time.

Probably the best approach is to hike the forest trails at a moderate pace for seven to eight hours a day, stopping when something sings nearby or simply presents itself in front of you and offers itself. Corresponding frustrations can be avoided if birds that appear uncooperative or are hidden high in the canopy are essentially ignored. But then you might miss the special feature. So perhaps you can proceed more slowly and systematically. A more systematic approach means, above all, becoming very familiar with the voices – or having a convincing voice recognition app. When it’s quiet, the beauty of the forest can still keep you going. Likewise, the anticipation that something new could be coming to us just around the next bend in the road. Often enough it is like that.

I really would have had to have tomatoes in my eyes to miss the troop of Malayan Crested Firebacks (Lophura rufa) that I first encountered while walking along the so-called Swamp Loop. The Malayan Crested Firebacks run parallel to the boardwalk through the dense undergrowth; But they can be photographed quite well from time to time. They are powerful birds, about the size of a Turkey or the Bulwer’s Pheasant (Lophura bulweri), which I had already seen in Borneo. The plumage is deep blue, with white tail feathers, bright blue facial skin and a tufted crest on the head that looks like a trendy hairstyle. The Malayan Crested Fireback is an extremely colorful, large pheasant from lowland forests and is endemic to the Thai-Malay Peninsula, where it is believed to have a relatively sparse distribution. After all, Taman Negara is a fairly reliable area. The male, like most pheasants, is striking, in addition to the above, by his generally shiny blue-black plumage and a bright flame-red spot on the back and a bright white tail. The female is, as expected, much less conspicuous, but still has a crest and a large area of blue facial skin – but this time only around the eye. The plumage is also beautiful and still an eye-catcher with its rich orange-maroon feathers.

The entrance to Taman Negara is located on the southeastern edge of the Malaysian National Park, which is simply called Taman Negara – “National Park” – in Malay. With an area of 4,343 square kilometers, the park is really big. The predominant habitat is the rainforest. It is a rainforest that has been described as the oldest on earth. Because of its size, it may have the greatest biological diversity of any rainforest. Taman Negara is said to be home to around 350 species of birds.

The question now arises as to how one can locate and recognize even a fraction of this biodiversity. A suitable bird guide is usually recommended. You can book (shared) tours with a guide at reception, such as a night hike, day hikes or boat trips. I then try to book a private guide at the so-called Activity Desk. This turns out to be more complicated than I thought. Apparently there were no guests who wanted to go birding.

I ask again at the activity desk about private guiding. The man sitting at the activity desk has no idea that I already wanted to book one. To be fair, he also advises me against it. The guide would only be booked on a daily basis anyway; for R700/day. And the guides they would have would have more general knowledge about nature and such. You can really give yourself that as a gift. In any case, I don’t want to join the groups with guides that met me on the way to breakfast.

So what alternatives do you have? One option would be to do the entire tour with Bird Guide. I only have one recommendation here. The guide is called Azmil Pillantong . Azmil grew up exploring the forests of Borneo. He began his career as a tour guide at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum Valley, Borneo and then led tours throughout Sabah. His knowledge of the flora and fauna of Malaysia is very good. Azmil’s ability to imitate bird calls is incredible. I found Azmil to be a great, very competent, attentive, patient and friendly tour guide who not only knows the birds and their voices but also their last whereabouts very well. He can be contacted via azmildanumv@gmail.com, among others.

In order to meet the growing demand for top images of the rarer species of Palaearctic Bird-lens.com has specifically made trips to remote places. Additionally every chance is used, if a rare bird is around the homeground. This to do everything to ensure excellent photos of the Birds of the Western Palearctic . The yield of pictures also of rare Western Palaearctic birds is very good. There are other nice images of birds, that you will find behind the tab “Picture Shop“. Just give a notice if you need a picture of a bird which is not online.

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