Perlis, 19 February 2014

After another fruitless pre-dawn owling session, we headed down the road leading to Tasik Meranti, a part of the park I hadn’t visited before.

It was a very steep climb up to the reservoir (we didn’t make it to the end), and the heat was intense.

Tasik Meranti trail_180214_IMG_1545Scenery more reminiscent of northern Thailand than northern Malaysia!

There was quite a lot of bird activity, but not a great deal of it was in camera-range.

Asian Drongo Cuckoo_Tasik Meranti trail_190214_IMG_4166This Asian Drongo Cuckoo was foraging around some shelters put up for picnickers. It was clearly fork-tailed rather than square-tailed, but David told me that there appears to be a complete range of intergrades (in all measurements) between two supposedly distinctive forms at either end of the spectrum.

Orange-breasted Trogon_Tasik Meranti trail_190214_IMG_4188Orange-breasted Trogons (at least 3) were vocal and visible along the trail, and this one was particularly resplendent when it sat in the sun.

Orange-breasted Trogon_Tasik Meranti trail_190214_IMG_4186Is there any other bird which has this unexpected but dazzling combination of colours?

Stump-tailed Macaque_Tasik Meranti trail_190214_IMG_4217A few other good birds put in an appearance, but stars of the show were undoubtedly a large troop of Stump-tailed Macaques loitering along the road. This was a lifer for both of us!

Stump-tailed Macaque_Tasik Meranti trail_190214_IMG_4102Males seemed to have foxy red fur…

Stump-tailed Macaque_Tasik Meranti trail_190214_IMG_4112Famels were mainly darker brown, and the young were whitish, getting browner with age apparently.

Stump-tailed Macaque_Tasik Meranti trail_190214_IMG_4122This one was old enough to forage independently.

Stump-tailed Macaque_Tasik Meranti trail_190214_IMG_4114A male in contemplative pose. The reason that I was able to take so many photos is that the troop seemed reluctant to move into the forest till all the stragglers, including young ones, caught up with the main pack.

Stump-tailed Macaque_Tasik Meranti trail_190214_IMG_4210This was the most impressive beast of all. The size and mane suggested it must be a male, but the skin and fur colour were more consistent with it being a female, so – not sure.

Grey-and-buff Woodpecker_Mata Ayer FR_190214_IMG_4234Later on, we walked the Wangmu FR trail from Kampung Kaki Bukit, and I was able to take my best photo yet of my former bogey bird – Grey-and-buff Woodpecker – apparently one of the most primitive of all woodpeckers.

Red-rumped Swallow_Mata Ayer FR_190214_IMG_4250 Red-rumped Swallow_Mata Ayer FR_190214_IMG_4279This is one of the most reliable places to see Red-rumped Swallows on the wires at the right time of year, and they did not disappoint.

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