Tag Archives: Malay Weasel

Singapore Team “Piculets” Winners of the 28th Fraser’s Hill Bird Race.

Contributed by Alfred Chia. 31 May 2015

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The Winners “Piculets” Team Leader Lim Kim Keang with Tan Ju Lin and Alfred Chia.

The 28th Fraser’s Hill Bird Race took place over the weekend of 23 May to 24 May 2015.
Kim Keang, Ju Lin & I decided to take part after a couple of years absence – in part to rekindle our love of this hill station, its glorious birds & its laid-back atmosphere. We formed a team & called ourselves Piculets, that diminutive & cute woodpecker, represented in Fraser’s Hill by the Speckled Piculet.

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Fraser’s Hill Sunset.                                              Montane Birding at the New Road, so refreshing.

We flew into Kuala Lumpur International Airport on 21 May & picked up our rental car from Europcar – a Proton Persona 1.6 litre. We had the remaining few daylight hours of 21 May & the whole day of 22 May to do some recee birding of sorts to tune us up for the race proper.

image23 May Saturday & after a short opening ceremony, the race was flagged off at 1.20 pm. There were a total of 44 teams participating, in addition to some school teams. The race will end on 24 May Sunday at 12pm: a 23-hour race.
We birded the first few hours on Fraser’s Hill, covering Telekoms Loop first and then driving to Jeriau Waterfalls for the lowland birds.
We did very well on Telekoms Loop, running smack into a couple of good bird waves. We garnered most of the usual montane birds there was to see, even spending some precious time admiring the very vocal Blyth’s Shrike Babbler, calling unabashedly from an exposed perch.

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Streaked Spiderhunter                                          Long-tailed Sibia

The long drive to Jeriau Waterfalls was however not productive as we managed only to add Yellow-vented & Stripe-throated Bulbuls to our list. As it was still bright, we made a quick call to bird down the New Road. This was also a good decision as birds out for their last feed for the day were active at various stretches. We retired for the night on Day 1 with 59 species, a credible score (in our opinion).

Day 2 & day-break, we were ready. The sun rise at Pine Resort (where we stayed) is a sight to behold & we just cannot resist a shot or two, even if it is race day!

We drove down-hill towards the Gap, via the New Road. We met several teams along the way. However, birding was very slow. Birds were few & far between. Many had been seen on Day 1 & cannot be counted.

image_4Blue-winged Leafbird male at Gap Road (Left)

We reached the Gap & turned back up to Fraser’s via the Old Road. Unlike previous races, we were able to drive & stop (at safe lay-bys) along the Old Road. That saved a lot of time & made birding easier.

Bird life at the Old Gap Road has deteriorated through the years. Trees have also grown taller & denser. This made birding difficult too. Birds trickled into our checklist at a painfully slow pace… Along the way, we waited in vain for at least 20 minutes for a calling Banded Broadbill to show itself. A bad miss indeed!

image_5Buff-rumped Woodpecker (Right)

When we reach the top, we made a last ditch attempt at Telekoms Loop again. Past race experiences had told us that the difference between any two teams may hinge on just one bird. We were lucky as we managed to add the last couple of critical species into our list. We were later to find out, after the race results were announced, that the Black-eared Shrike Babbler, our 75th bird, was the clincher for our top position. The runners-up came in with 74 species while the third-placed team finished with 73. How right we were!

Race aside, we also encountered a rarely seen Malay Weasel on Hemmant Trail one morning. This almost yellow-golden animal was a beautiful creature with its elongated body & long fluffy tail. We were ecstatic indeed! The elusive Ferruginous Partridge was also heard on a couple of occasions.

We returned to Singapore on 25 May, tired but happy to have been able to re-connect with our beloved hill station once again. ( All Photos Alfred Chia).

Checklist of the birds seen at the 28th FH Bird Race.

> 1. Little Cuckoo Dove
> 2. Mountain Imperial Pigeon
> 3. Green-billed Malkoha
> 4. Red-billed Malkoha
> 5. Chestnut-breasted Malkoha
> 6. Glossy Swiftlet
> 7. House Swift
> 8. Red-headed Trogon
> 9. Brown Barbet
> 10. Blue-eared Barbet
> 11. Fire-tufted Barbet
> 12. Gold-whiskered Barbet
> 13. Black-browed Barbet
> 14. Speckled Piculet
> 15. Banded Woodpecker
> 16. Lesser Yellownape
> 17. Buff-rumped Woodpecker
> 18. Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike
> 19. Grey-chinned Minivet
> 20. Scarlet Minivet
> 21. Large Cuckooshrike
> 22. Blyth’s Shrike-babbler
> 23. Black-eared Shrike-Babbler
> 24. White-bellied Erpornis
> 25. Black-and-crimson Oriole
> 26. Bronzed Drongo
> 27. Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo
> 28. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
> 29. White-throated Fantail
> 30. Large-billed Crow
> 31. Pacific Swallow
> 32. Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher
> 33. Sultan Tit
> 34. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch
> 35. Blue Nuthatch
> 36. Black-crested Bulbul
> 37. Scaly-breasted Bulbul
> 38. Stripe-throated Bulbul
> 39. Yellow-vented Bulbul
> 40. Ochraceous Bulbul
41. Ashy Bulbul
> 42. Mountain Bulbul
> 43. Yellow-bellied Warbler
> 44. Mountain Tailorbird
> 45. Dark-necked Tailorbird
> 46. Rufescent Prinia
> 47. Everett’s White-Eye
> 48. Pin-striped Tit-Babbler
> 49. Golden Babbler
> 50. Grey-throated Babbler
> 51. Buff-breasted Babbler
> 52. Mountain Fulvetta
> 53. Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush
> 54. Long-tailed Sibia
> 55. Silver-eared Mesia
> 56. Blue-winged Minla
> 57. Asian Fairy Bluebird
> 58. Oriental Magpie Robin
> 59. White-rumped Shama
> 60. Rufous-browed Flycatcher
61. Verditer Flycatcher
> 62. Slaty-backed Forktail
> 63. Little Pied Flycatcher
> 64. Lesser Green Leafbird
> 65. Blue-winged Leafbird
> 66. Orange-bellied Leafbird
> 67. Yellow-vented Flowerpecker
> 68. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
> 69. Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
> 70. Black-throated Sunbird
> 71. Little Spiderhunter
> 72. Purple-naped Spiderhunter
> 73. Streaked Spiderhunter
> 74. White-rumped Munia
> 75. Chestnut Munia

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