Monday, 23 May 2005

Birding at Sg Sedim & Bukit Hijau (20-23 May 05) by Fred Tan

It was the last morning of the trip. and I had planned to take an early morning walk before breakfast. The cool morning air and misty appearance is a pleasant time to do so. Protected from mosquitoes by wearing long pants and long sleeves,and with a pair of binoculars and a digital camera in a bag, I walked away from the chalets. The sight of water gushing over the rocks as I cross a bridge over a clear stream is refreshing. And the calls of birds were music to my ears. For during the past few days the birds seem to be keeping a distance from us, as if to get away from the weekend crowd.

Several birds were seen in flight. A dark medium-sized bird flew overhead in the characteristic way of a bulbul and a bird flying ahead with a flash of blue about two meters above ground indicated a white-throated kingfisher. And there was a bird perched on the shoot of a palm. From a distance it looked like a woodpecker, but without a crest. But it flew away before I got nearer. Then a bird screeched and a bird flew away from the durian tree that I was walking past, in the way a woodpecker does. So far no bird had been identified. Then from the corner of my eye, I saw something was climbing up a dead branch of the durian tree. I could see that it was a woodpecker! Although it was a specie I had seen before at the KL Lake Gardens, I needed to refer to my field guide to say that it is a common flameback.

Along the way back, I took a picture of the canteen building with the brightening sky as background. And then I saw it. A smaller woodpecker with reddish-brown wings and a yellow crest on a tree close by. A quite check with my field guide showed two possibilities; a banded or a checker-throated. As it was only between 10 and 15 feet away, and climbing up branches before hopping down and climbing up again to search for food, I was able to further observe it. Yes it was a banded woodpecker, and this was the first time that I had seen it this close. I felt good walking back towards the chalets for breakfast, arriving on time at 7.30 am. Getting up earlier from bed was worth the effort.