Posts Tagged ‘Malaysia’

Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia, 10-12 August 2012

Posted on: August 23rd, 2012 by lesday | No Comments

I spent a long week-end at Fraser’ Hill (FH), in Malaysia, with friends from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Fraser’s Hill is famous as a bird watcher’s paradise, though it was originally built as a hill station by British colonialists in the early 1900’s, as a cooling summer retreat from the hot and humid towns in the lowlands. It stands at approximately 1500m above sea level. As its name suggests, the terrain is generally very hilly, making treking in the area quite arduous.

Both on the way there, and back, we stopped at a small riverbank near the reservoir at Chilling. Puddling butterflies were plentiful, and if I ever see another Chocolate Albatross (Appias lyncida), I will scream, they were everywhere, disturbing shots I wanted to take of other species. Despite their constant intrusions, I was delighted to get an upperwing shot of the Jewel Nawab (Polyura delphis concha), as I already had underside shots of that species.

Polyura delphis concha

One rarity I came across there was Amathusia perakana perakana. This is very much like the very common PalmKing, which can be found anywhere there are coconuts, and its identification was only confirmed after my return home.

Amathusia perakana perakana

Owing to the altitude of FH, I was hopeful of seeing some of the more montane species to be found in Malaysia, especially  some Delias. I was not disappointed getting three Delias species into my camera, together with a few other montane species which were new to me.

Delias baracasa dives

Delias descombesi eranthos

Abisara neophron chelina

Stiboges nymphidia nymphidia

Poritia phama rajata

Rapala nissa pahangana

On the way back, after the Chilling stop, we also stopped at Sungei Tua Nature Reserve, and found a couple of interesting species, but only one was condescending enough to act as a good model.

Dacalana vidura azyada

To be perfectly honest, FH does not have many attractions except for nature lovers, and more than a couple of days stay there may not be appropriate if travelling with a young family as there is little to do there, apart from playing on the oldest golf course in Malaysia, and very few shops except restaurants for tourists.

To see all the Malaysian species found during my travels, go to the West Malaysia section of ‘Expeditions’.

 

Taman Negara, West Malaysia – August 2011

Posted on: September 7th, 2011 by lesday | No Comments

On 26 August 2011, my good friend, L C Goh, from Kuala Lumpur, and I travelled to Taman Negara, in Central West Malaysia.

This park was first national park in Malaysia, is the largest and has purportedly, the oldest rainforest in the world. It is, quite correctly, promoted by the Malaysian Government as the flagship park. Unfortunately, for me, this means that it is very busy, and it is very difficult to find places where you will not get interruped by a train of guided tourists on a jungle walk. PLEASE NOTE that this is not a complaint. I have been thoroughly spoilt on my previous tropical rainforest experiences. The park is a perfect introduction to this habitat for anyone not used to it, and it is also a safe and great place for a family.

Despite this regular distraction, and the fact that the weather was not entirely kind to us, we were able to find over 120 species, many of which were new to me.  This first species to come to our attention was this female Arhopala, which has since been identified as Arhopala kurzi.

Female Arhopala kurzi

Arhopala kurzi (female)

This species was found on the track to Lubok Simpon. This area is where the locals come to have picnics and swim, and it gets very busy from mid-day onwards. This is a shame, for a butterfly photographer at least, as it would be the perfect place to find puddling species. The only species of worth that we came across there was this Polyura delphis concha, a beautiful large species, which although not considered rare, was a new species for me.

Polyura delphis concha

Polyura delphis concha

By far, the most interesting species were to be found in the dense forest. This meant an interesting walk, not always as easy as I would like. There are short stretches where you need to climb, or lower yourself down on ropes as the track can be very steep and, if it has rained, slippery. The effort is worth it, and below, are some of the rarer species we found.

Erites elegans distincta

Erites elegans distincta

Hasora lizetta hadria

Hasora lizetta hadria

Mycalesis maianeas maianeas

Mycalesis maianeas maianeas

Isma bononia bononia

Isma bononia bononia

By far the most unexpected find was the very rare Chestnut Rajah (Charaxes durnfordi durnfordi). This is a much prized species in collections, and certainly took our breath away as it flew around us, attracted to our sweat rucksacks and camera.

Charaxes durnfordi durnfordi

Charaxes durnfordi durnfordi

As long as the weather has been good, I would strongly recommend a boat trip up to Lata Berkoh. The trip takes you through real rainforest, with huge trees towering over you, and leads to an area where you can swim. However, if it has been raining, this is not allowed, as was the case with us (see photo of location, below)

River trip to Lata Berkoh

River trip to Lata Berkoh

Swimming area!

Swimming area! Not today, after rains.

Many people think that rainforests are teeming with animals for them to see. This is not the case. Yes, they are there, but, very wisely, most of them try to keep a distance between themselves and us. However, we were very lucky to have a visitor to our chalet, an endagered Malay Tapir. This is not a good photo, as it was dark, and my camera seemed to object. Hopefully you can get a good idea of what the species is like from this. I know LC got much better photos (he is a much better photographer than I am).

Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus)

Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus)

On the way back to KL, we stopped at an interesting looking spot around Genting.  It did  not disappoint. It is always a delight to see Malaysia’s national butterfly, the Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing (Trogonoptera brookiana), but more than this, I was able to rectify an ommission from my previous trip to Maliau Basin, when a couple of the group managed to photograph the Glorious Begum (Agatasa calydonia calydonia). It was a  great surprise to find it here, and an opportunity I was not going to miss this time.

Trogonoptera brookiana albescens

Trogonoptera brookiana albescens

Agatasa calydonia calydonia

Agatasa calydonia calydonia