Excellent sub montane forests at the foothills of Janda Baik.
Those who drive up to Bukit Tinggi and Genting Highlands along the Karak Highway will be familiar with the turnoff at Genting Sempah to Janda Baik. The foothills along this stretch are dotted with resorts, rest houses and a large private estate of Tanarimba, rising up to 2,000 ft asl. A largely Chinese community is clustered at the Kg. Baru Bukit Tinggi where a few very good Malaysian style Zichar and Seafood restaurants served up great dishes at a fraction of the prices here. For me the must eat is the honey jackfruit from the corner restaurant. It is grown from their own farm and not available elsewhere. The numerous fruit stalls by the roadside sells fruits that are plucked ripened. Both the papayas and longangs we bought were very sweet and fresh.
My grandson enrolled in a weekend eco camp at Radiant Retreats nestled in a matured durian plantation. I followed them there to explore the birdlife around the foothills. I was quite surprised that the forests were in excellent condition. Gibbons can be heard almost daily. Though the density was not great but the diversity is much higher than Bukit Tinggi side. The presence of a pair of Rhinoceros Hornbills at a fruiting fig indicates a good forest. The developers have been sensitive not to destroy the habitat. No highrise were allowed and the bungalows are well spread out. Most owners tried to retain if not improve on the greenery.
Birding from the car was easy, stopping at spots where mini bird waves and calls were seen or heard. The cooler and less humid weather makes it even more comfortable. These are some of the birds that I managed to photograph during the few days when I was there.
The more energetic can go for the one hour trek to the waterfall at Lata Carok. The water from the falls turned into a stream for rubber tubing at Santai Riverside. It was here that I photographed this beautiful Green Metalwing and Grey Sprite. The former is believed to be extinct in Singapore while the latter is uncommon, found only in a few locations.
Moths were everywhere at night but I was fascinated with this as it used the floor of our villa to camouflage itself. Appreciate ID from anyone.
I have not been to Genting Highlands for more than a decade and was keen to see what the place and birdlife was like. I was disappointed. It was a concrete jungle up there. It seems that they want to build a metropolis up at the top. The road up to the the telecom towers was quiet. I had to drive down to the Temple and Awana area to get to see some of the familiar montane species. I was quite happy with the birding at the compound of the temple. Some of the common species seen (below). A calling Whistling Thrush refused to show itself.
If you are tired of birding at Bukit Tinggi, this would be a good place to spend a day or two if you have nothing better to do. There are enough out door attractions for the rest of the family to do while you bird.