Perlis, 18 February 2014

We stayed at the Perlis State Park overnight, and deciding that we had probably exhausted most of Chuping’s charms, headed for Timah-Tasoh lake first thing. We hoped that the drought conditions might have exposed more fringe habitat, beloved by jacanas and rallids. We were disappointed in this respect (has anyone seen a jacana there this season?), but there was enough else to keep us interested.Common Kingfisher_Timah Tasoh_180214_IMG_1531

A Common Kingfisher hunted from one of the boat mooring posts.Ashy Minivet_Timah Tasoh_180214_IMG_3567

There was just a pair of Ashy Minivets, and none of the hoped-for rarer species with them. This is the male. More Thick-billed Warblers tack-ed at us from the undergrowth – they seemd to be everywhere.Orange-breasted Green-pigeon_Timah Tasoh_180214_IMG_1530

We paid special attention to the few green-pigeons which were zipping about, and eventually got reasonable views of this female Orange-breasted Green-pigeon – not a species I see very often. The easiest way to distinguish them from female Pink-necked is the tail pattern – the outer feathers are dark basally but have a broad grey tip, and the central feathers are all grey. Pink-necked has a blackish terminal band. Orange-breasted are bigger and more bulky-looking, and have brighter green plumage (not that you can see that here!).

Orange-breasted Green-pigeon_Timah Tasoh_180214_IMG_1535They also have a subtle greyish cast to the nape area.

Having failed in our efforts to locate another speciality here – Racket-tailed Treepied, we headed for Bukit Jernih Recreational Park to try there.

Bukit Jernih_180214_IMG_1543The distinctively-shaped Bukit Jernih. There are Dusky Crag Martins up there somewhere!

Crow-billed Drongo_Bukit Jernih_180214_IMG_3585No treepie, but a Crow-billed Drongo was a nice find.

Pale-legged Leaf Warbler_Bukit Jernih_180214_IMG_3599There were at least two Pale-legged Leaf Warblers, a bright fresh-plumaged bird, and this mangy-looking individual.

Pale-legged Leaf Warbler_Bukit Jernih_180214_IMG_3767The very pale legs and extensive dark tip to the lower mandible help identify this. Technically, they only identify it as Pale-legged OR Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, since the two are indistinguishable in the field except by song (not call). Many “Pale-legged Leaf Warbler types” have been trapped in spring in the Inner Gulf of Thailand and found, based on measurements, to be Sakhalin Leaf Warblers. This possibly means we are getting some of these too, so I suppose we need to add these to the ignominious group of ‘either/or’ species pairs (like Pale/Sand Martin, Swinhoe’s/Pintail Snipe, swiftlet sp and pond-heron sp.). Frustrating!

Blue Whistling-thrush_Bukit Jernih_180214_IMG_3710Blue Whistling-thrushes were rather tame and showy at this site. From the brown wings and relative lack of irridescent feather edges, this bird must be in first non-breeding plumage.

Blue Whistling-thrush_Bukit Jernih_180214_IMG_3934This is what the adult looks like. This is the crassirostris race, which occurs in Perlis and Langkawi. Compared to the race which occurs elsewhere in the Peninsula – dicrorhynchus – the adult in fresh plumage is bluer and has more irridescent feather edges; and the median coverts have larger whitish spots. Structurally, in all plumages, crassirostris is longer-tailed than dicrorhynchus.

BWT racesDicrorhynchus (left), Ipoh, 13 May 2009, and crassirostris (right), Perlis 18 Feb 2014. Even though the angle isn’t ideal, the longer tail of crassirostris  is visible here.

Blue Whistling-thrush_Bukit Jernih_180214_IMG_3866Several times our attention was drawn to a thrush by the sound of a snail being smashed against a rock – there is obviously a plentiful supply of gastropods in this limestone habitat. It was good to revisit these fascinating birds. I took part in a study of them back in 2009-2010.Forest Wagtail_Perlis State park_180214_IMG_4061

On our way back to the chalet we were entertained by this very confiding Forest Wagtail feeding on the road. These shots were taken from the car; the one above is uncropped.

Forest Wagtail_Perlis State park_180214_IMG_4023There’s nothing ‘normal’ about this bird – it has unique plumage patterns, wags its tail from side to side, and has its own genus. I renamed them Forest Humbugs.

Some night-birding both evening and the following morning netted us very little in the way of birds – a couple of calling Javan/Blyth’s Frogmouths and a Collared Scops-owl. Neither sight nor sound of the latter’s White-fronted cousin sadly.

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