Malay: Peninsula February 2022

Our birding tour to the Malay Peninsula offers a superb introduction to the amazing birdlife of southeast Asia. Taking in three of the country’s top birding sites, we begin at Shah Alam and the coastal mangroves of Kuala Selangor. The botanical gardens at Shah Alam are home to some special winter migrants, including the exquisite Hooded and Blue-winged Pittas and we enjoyed superb views of both species here on two of our recent tours.

Not far away, the coastal mudflats and mangroves at Kuala Selangor provide a gentle introduction to some of the commoner southeast Asian birds but this bird-rich area is also home to several localised species including Buffy Fish Owl, Mangrove Whistler and Mangrove Blue Flycatcher.

 

As the coastal humidity begins to rise, we will move inland to the cooler hill-forests of Fraser’s Hill, one of Malaysia’s attractive old ‘hill stations’. Here, we shall search for some of the peninsula’s most enticing birds, from shy endemics like Malayan Laughingthrush and Malayan Whistling Thrush to upland specialities such as Mountain Scops Owl, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Mountain Bulbul, Blue Nuthatch, Red-bearded Bee-eater and Fire-tufted Barbet.

 

Introduced to our itinerary for the first time in 2019, we will again enjoy an early morning at Bukit Tinggi, where we have a great chance of seeing the sought-after Mountain Peacock-Pheasant and the richly coloured Ferruginous Partridge. This is currently regarded as the best site to see these two species and, with patience and a little luck, we hope to get superb views.

 

Our tour then continues with a four-night stay at the heart of one of southeast Asia’s finest national parks: Taman Negara. Set within a vast tract of pristine lowland rainforest, our splendid lodgings give access to a network of forest trails and waterways, which offer a wealth of fabulous bird and wildlife experiences.

 

Although shy and elusive, it is at Taman Negara that we can hope to see some spectacular pheasants including the gorgeous Crested Fireback. The Great Argus is another amazing pheasant and, as we search for them, many more of Malaysia’s forest jewels will hopefully come our way: Malayan Banded and Garnet Pittas, Raffles’s Malkoha, plus up to four species of trogon, five broadbills and seven huge and impressive hornbills.

 

From time to time, a surge of excited calls signals the approach of a ‘bird wave’ and we will suddenly find ourselves surrounded by a frenzy of avian activity. With luck, we might even encounter the peculiar Rail-babbler, while a host of shy forest mammals and exotic butterflies, among them the spectacular Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing, contrive to distract us. At the end of each day, we can relax in the comfort of our air-conditioned rooms, with welcoming showers and a delicious evening meal to look forward to.

 

Lee Kok Chung is our resident local expert in Malaysia, a talented and very experienced bird tour leader, who has led this tour since 2016. His eyesight and hearing are astounding, as is his knowledge of good local restaurants and you will find he is also great fun. ‘Mr Lee’ leads all of our tours to Malaysia and Borneo in conjunction with Limosa’s own expert guide Colin Bushell, who is also highly experienced in SE Asian birds.

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