Sunday, 18 August 2019

pre BORNEO 2019: Bukit Tinggi (17-18 August 2019)

Saturday 17 August. Nick Preston and I flew with Malindo Air from Bali to Kuala Lumpur, a pleasant three hour flight. We were meeting Paul Noakes and saw his KLM flight from Norwich and Amsterdam had just landed so we made our way to the EuropeCar desk to meet him, except he wasn't there. EuropeCar had his booking but hadn't seen him and directed us to their garage below the terminal. He wasn't there either and I was about to start worrying when he phoned to say he'd been directed to the wrong terminal and was on his way back. EuropeCar had helpfully moved his car to Terminal 1 as that was where his flight came in but had omitted to tell him. We drove to the Genting Highlands arriving, thanks to the car hire delay, at dusk. We checked into Colma Tropicale, a weird French themed resort like a cross between Mont St. Michael and Disneyland. We walked up the mountain for about a km past the locked gate finding a superb Blyth's Frogmouth above the resort before returning for a pizza.

Sunday 18 August. We left the hotel at 05:30 and arranged for one of their staff to unlock the gate and drove up to where we'd seen the Blyth's Frogmouth the previous evening. The frogmouth soon responded and gave even better views and I managed some half decent photos. A Collared Scops Owl had been calling but stopped just as we were going to try for it. We continued up the mountain and parked near the Botanical Gardens and followed our directions to the peacock-pheasant feeding area. We were on site sitting behind some netting at 07:15, Paul having put down some crushed corn. The male cane in at 07:44, 4 minutes later than we'd been told to expect him! Initially feeding head on then turned side on before slowly walking right past us and off at 07:53. Not as long as we'd expected and the light wasn't great but a superb bird I'd wanted to see, but never really expected to, since Colin Winyard and I were sceptical that a Dave Mills claim when we were in the Cameron Highliands in January 1982 didn't rule out lizard! We waited to 09:15 hoping it might return or the Ferruginous Partridge that had been coming in regularly up until a few weeks ago appear but neither did although a nearby Black and Yellow Broadbill was nice. We walked back to the car seeing Red-bearded Bee-eater and Gold-whiskered and Yellow-crowned Barbets and returned for breakfast at 10:15 just before it was cleared away. We checked out and left at 11:30, spent half an hour birding the road above the hotel but it was now very hot with little bird activity other than an excellent Orange-breasted Trogon. It took just under two hours to drive back to KLIA, despite a delay joining the ring road due to a minor accident. Our Air Asia flight to Kota Kinabalu was half an hour late departing but made up some time. The vehicle Paul had arranged through Yeo Siew Teck's Cat City Tours was waiting for us. Lori Szucs had arrived earlier and we picked him up from a nearby hotel. His route (Sydney-Brisbane-Singapore-Kota Kinabalu) hadn't been much easier than ours. We found a very cheap local restaurant getting a meal for £2 each before driving to the Gem Hotel in Beaufort.

Blyth's Frogmouth at Bukit Tinggi

Mountain Peacock-Pheasant at Bukit Tinggi

juvenile White-rumped Shama at Bukit Tinggi
Raffle's Malkoha at Bukit Tinggi
Colma Tropicale from afar
Colma Tropicale main entrance
one of the strangest places I've stayed on a birding trip (or anytime)
Orange-breasted Trogon at Bukit Tinggi

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