Tuesday, 3 May 2005

Beginner Birders at Frasers: One Course, Two Perspectives (I)

by Diana Sabrina, Form 2 Student at SMK Section 5, Wangsa Maju

The time I spent on the Beginner's Birdwatching Course at Fraser's Hill, from 30th April to 2nd May, was unforgettable. It was amazing to see the jewels of Fraser's Hill and it was frustrating to let go of a few unnamed birds we saw. I have been waiting for the trip and studied some of the birds that I might see there. Before we went up to Fraser's Hill, we stopped by at the Gap and did some birding there. There we saw a pair of Black-crested Bulbuls, a Gold-whiskered Barbet, House Swifts, three Imperial Pigeons flying across the blue sky and a Tiger Shrike. I realized that this is just the beginning of our three-days, two-nights trip.

I had hoped I could see the Silver-eared Mesia immediately when we arrived at Fraser's Hill but we were too late since we went to the Jeriau waterfall and saw the Silver-breasted Broadbill's nest. There I met Auntie Bing, Maffa and Tim. I smiled when I saw the excitement of Uncle David and Aunty Nina when they could just tear up the page of the broadbills family - finally they saw their last Broadbill available in the country!

In the evening we did some birding around the Jelai Resort where we were staying. At night I went for a walk and we managed to see planet Jupiter through the scope. The excitement made it difficult for us to close our eyes or even get into bed!

The next morning was the best part. I saw the Silver-eared Mesia for the first time ever! Lifer, of course. I snapped the pictures of the birds using my digital camera, and I recognized some bird's calls, like the Mesia, Fire-tufted Barbet, Black-browed Barbet, Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush and so on. The calls of the birdies made me write some musical notes of the melody of their precious music.

On Sunday night, it was raining. I had no choice but to get into bed, hoping I could wake up early the next morning, to have a last look at my favorite Mesia. I collected some dead butterflies and moths and we had a corner in our room which we called "The Butterflies Corner". Well at least Aunty Carol had the "Junk Food Corner" in her room as well.
The next morning, right after I took my bath, the water supply at the hotel was cut off. At first I didn't know anything about it until Uncle Lim asked me if I have water in my room that morning. I was like "Yahh, of course. I took my shower this morning!"
He laughed and said I stole all the water! Actually I was just lucky I took my bath earlier than everyone else! And I'm lucky too because I finally whistled that morning! I thanked Maffa who is from Portugal and a few birders who gave me support to learn whistling. I even got a Whistling Certificate from Maffa!

We went to the new road at 7.00 am and we did some birding. We got back to Jelai at 9.45 am and I realized my camera was missing. It was very frustrating to lose the recordings and photos I have taken. But then, I kept thinking that it's not a problem. Although I lost the camera, the memories are in my notebook and my mind!
The last meeting was at 11.00 am which was the moment we received our certificate for the course. I felt so embarrassed to be named as a butterfly-biter when I was about to accept my certificate. The feeling of biting some crunchy butterflies is getting more and more!

When I got back home I felt that the trip was just like a dream! The trip really helped me a lot in birding. I practiced doing birding without the field guide at first and tried to write as many notes as possible. I tried to figure out how I am going to write something about how I felt during the trip. And the story goes on again and again. I really hope I'll see the birders again in future trips.