Templer’s Park is easily accessible from most of the Klang Valley. The signage, unfortunately, is very poor and there were a few stragglers who struggled to find the place! Jasmine’s (your friendly Outings Coordinator) handphone was running hot. However, you know you are close when you see the distinctive shape of the limestone Bukit Takun rising by the highway.
For those who arrived early, the car park provided some lowland forest goodies like a male Grey-and-buff ‘Woody’ Woodpecker with his oversized head and a lovely male Orange-bellied Flowerpecker. Cuckoos were heard all around us and one Plaintive Cuckoo was seen mournfully calling from a high-voltage pylon wire. It’s not called the ‘burung mati anak’ for nothing. Also seen on the wires were groups of Blue-throated bee-eaters and tree-swifts. Some newer birders managed to ‘sapu’ as lifers both the Whiskered and Grey-rumped Tree-Swifts through the ’scopes generously shared.
The large group of 26 adults and 8 children were split up into 3 loose groups, each led by a few Selangor Bird Group Committee members. It was heartening to see many young (and young at heart) birders out early for half a day’s birding. One young member spotted a juvenile Changeable Hawk-Eagle sitting on a pylon.
A few fruiting trees and shrubs provided many bulbuls and a pig-tailed macaque with breakfast and birders with good views. Some lucky ones also managed to get great views of the usually skulking Horsfield’s Babbler and a rufous-backed Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher by the ‘swimming hole’.
A highlight for others was a male Purple-naped Sunbird displaying to a female; quivering its wings and raising its iridescent deep purple nape and back feathers. At another spot, a small group of White-bellied Yuhinas feeding a fledged young high up in the trees gave us all rather sore necks.
Apart from a few overnight campers (woken up by us birders), other members of the public only started to trickle in as we were leaving late that morning. It probably is never really busy and there was no one swimming in the ‘swimming hole’. The early part of the trail is all paved, suitable even for the less agile.
Templer’s Park is past its heyday as the premier picnic spot but can still be a suitable place to bring along non-birding members of the family for a picnic or to swim. I can’t, however, vouch for the cleanliness or otherwise of the swimming hole. Probably no different from any other similar places. Toilet facilities are also available.
All in all almost 50 species were seen or heard for three hours plus of birding. Eight species of bulbuls, 3 species of sunbirds and 2 malkoha species is not bad. Templer’s Park is sure to have many more birding gems to be discovered. An Argus Pheasant has been seen in recent years along the main path by one of our members. And there are many other tracks to explore.
Additionally, this is also the first official Selangor Bird Group outing after the launch of Bird-i-Witness Malaysia (bird sightings database) by MNS recently. For those unsure what this is about, please see: http://www.worldbirds.org/malaysia. The full list of birds recorded for this trip can also be found there.
Text by Smathi Chong
Photos by John Steed (copyright protected)