“A winding jeep track of at least 72 hairpin corners boasted by veteran jeep drivers at Bukit Larut, Taiping would send daily trippers in Land Rovers on a half- hour whiz, ascend to peak at1045 meters asl.
“This ex-British, colonial hill station formally known as Maxwell’s Hill has been one of the few favourite haunts for birders and bird-photographers to enjoy sub-montane bird species in the Malaysian tropics but… not for very long as a cable car project to boost ecotourism is at hand.
“Very often heard but seldom seen, the evenly spaced signature calls of the Golden Babblers (Stachyris chrysaea) ‘tu-tu-tu-tu-tu…’ is a cool reminder to bird observers along those jeep trails, they are in sub-montane bird territory.
“A small bird wave appeared after a heavy shower of rain. Amongst a mixed flock of birds that took speedy flights into the middle undergrowth of trees, the noisy chirping of a small flock of 10-12cm yellow-olive looking, tiny birds caught my attention. With bright yellow foreheads and underparts, they also wore a black face with dark streaks on their crowns. There were no less than four I observed.
“I directed my field scope to the direction of call and darkness of undergrowth to witness an uncommon sighting. Through my field scope, the flock was negotiating over a rain filled hollow, tree stump.
“As there was room only for one bird at a time, they took turns in pecking order for a good dip in the hollowed bath while others stood guard, queued or preened themselves.
AVIAN WRITER DAISY O’NEILL PENANG MALAYSIA
© Communal Bath BY Golden Babblers
All images by digiscopy technique.
Optics used: Field scope ED82+30x+Coolpix P4