Langkawi, Kedah, 13-15 December 2013

This was primarily a family holiday, but I was allowed a short time off to pursue birds. The islands have three Peninsular Malaysia endemics – Brown-winged Kingfisher, Black-hooded Oriole and Mountain Hawk-eagle. I’ve seen the kingfisher before,  but failed on the other two despite fairly numerous attempts, so these were my main targets.

BNU (Birds, Nature and Us) member Sofian Zack was a great help, both in finding us good accommodation at a budget price (see below) and in taking me to his best spots for seeing my target birds.Soluna_Langkawi_141213_IMG_0645

We stayed at Soluna Guesthouse (this is the main house; we stayed in the chalets at RM40/night (separate bathroom) and RM50/night (ensuite)).

Langkawi_141213_IMG_0636Some of the locals did not seem to appreciate my interest in them!Pale-legged Leaf Warbler_Langkawi_141213_IMG_8086

I notched up yet another ‘fail’ on both the oriole and the eagle. However, there were consolations, such as a number of Pale-legged Leaf-warblers (this one had just had a bath, and was calling from uncharacteristically high above our heads).

Yellow-browed Warbler_Langkawi_141213_IMG_8185 Yellow-browed Warbler_Langkawi_141213_IMG_8179Three Yellow-browed Warblers flitted around in close association on Gunung Raya.

Arctic Warbler_Langkawi_141213_IMG_8130And just one Arctic Warbler!

Asian House Martin_Langkawi_141213_IMG_8254 Asian House Martin_Langkawi_141213_IMG_8197 Asian House Martin_Langkawi_141213_IMG_8189There was a flock of Asian House Martins up the mountain. Of all the hirundines I’ve tried to photograph, these were the most challenging. They flew extremely rapidly, and never in a straight line for long!

Oriental Honey-buzzard_Langkawi_141213_IMG_8115 Grey-faced Buzzard Langkawi_141213_IMG_8400In our hunt for hawk-eagles (I was also hoping for a wintering Jerdon’s Baza), the best we could manage was a juvenile Oriental Honey-buzzard (top) and several Grey-faced Buzzards, including this adult.

Langkawi_141213_IMG_8386A view looking north from the summit of Gunung Raya in the early evening. Stunning mangroves!

Savanna Nightjar_Langkawi_141213_IMG_8343Sofian pointed me in the direction of some extensive marshlands with exciting possibilities. I could only spend an hour there in the heat of the afternoon, but what I saw made me want to return in the early morning – that will have to wait for another trip. This is one of a small roost of Savanna Nightjars which I disturbed.

So, no success with either oriole or eagle, but what I saw whetted my appetite to come back for some more focused birding time, hopefully before the end of the winter season.

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