What a morning – birds young and birds new, birds followed and birds blue…

It was my birthday recently and for that birthday, my darling spoiled me rotten. I got a whole load of new bird photograph equipment and whilst I knew about some of it, the rest was a TOTAL surprise.

8D3A9192 - Version 2I had the chance to pick up this surprise equipment (video head for my tripod and camera body / lens stabilisation railing system) from a Malaysian based bird and landscape photography guide, photographer and online retailer – Liew WK.  Great guy and over the course of a few days had a great time with him. I am happy to now call him a friend and seriously respect what he does and the passion he has for it.

I was invited to join an informal group on a trip to Genting Highlands in Malaysia, just for a few hours,  to ‘put my new gear to the test’ and at the same time shoot some mountain bird species I had never seen before, let alone photographed before. Great people in this group and made more new friends… Happy Days :).

I followed the group to the place we were going to be shooting and had some excitement (my first time to not only try out the gear but also to shoot mountain birds in Malaysia – the chances were that most every species I’d see, would be a first for me – a ‘lifer’). I set the equipment up in a position I was advised would give good visibility and shooting opportunities. And I didn’t have to wait long before birds started to arrive…

A39T4144-imp
Very pretty – this one shot at distance… the others were almost under my nose!

Firstly, within 3 feet of me  came the prettiest little bird, and it was at eye level, in bushes to my left. I just smiled. The lens I had was as you see above, ‘not exactly a short telephoto lens’ – and I could have shot this little bird with a 70mm lens very easily, it was that close. A 500mm prime lens was a little over the top for this job :).

1
You can see why this birds’ “AKA Name” is the Spectacled Laughing Thrush

Next came, according to the other birders there, “predictably”, the laughing thrushes. I’d seen a couple of those species before, in Singapore and also in Central Vietnam. But these were a first for me.

3So whilst others may have thought that this bird was less than interesting, I merrily snapped away, enjoying seeing these for the first time.   Yehey!AND, I was getting to give my new gear a ‘workout’ too, so all was well :).

LN2Next came one of the bluest birds I have ever seen in my life. It was stunning. Not rare. Just STUNNING.

A whole family of these beauties showed up. On the left here is the male, AKA “Dad”. I was thrilled to be able to shoot this bird up close, and then his mate came…

LN3She was less vibrantly coloured, as if often the case in the  world of birds, but nonetheless she was pretty.

She was a little slighter than the male, as is to be expected.

LN5After around 5 or so minutes, a merry chirping led my ears and then my eyes to see the youngster in this group.

Looks like a male and with the “full blue” regalia yet to be complete, this mottling of browns with such rich blue is very beautiful indeed. I think the juvenile is probably the prettiest of them all, and that’s very unusual as juvenile birds rarely can compete with adults when it comes to plumage and colour.

LTS2I was as “happy as Larry” with these species so far. What a treat for me! Then a bird I had seen earlier, which despite its’size had been displaying much agility to feast on moths, showed up on a perch. Nice! And to make sure the moment was enjoyed fully, another of the same species, a Long Tailed Sibia planted itself on the same perch. How accommodating! 🙂

The other birders in the group left to go to other places, but I thought I’d hang around for a while.  I didn’t shoot any more species in this place, but i still enjoyed seeing ones I had seen already, and I happily clicked to my heart’s content.

Later that day, we descended from the mountain heights; still within the hills, but not as high. What we saw there was very special… but that’s for another post, on another day.

So new equipment was tested and much appreciated. New friendships were commenced, And new species had been seen, and photographed, in an extremely nice place. I’ll go back there in the future, I’m sure. After all, I know of more exotic species that can be shot there, if you’re lucky. And if I’m really lucky, maybe some of my new friends will be going too.

Happy Days 🙂

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