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.
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.
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!).
Having failed in our efforts to locate another speciality here – Racket-tailed Treepied, we headed for Bukit Jernih Recreational Park to try there.
The 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!
This 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.
Several 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.
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.
There’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.