5th March 2013, 10:47 AM
I got a few request for tips. And since I was the beneficiary of the wonderful tips I got from a friend, I am hence writing this in the hope that some folks will find it useful.
Please refer to the map I have drawn below. Also, refer to the site: Berjaya Hills Resort - Japanese and Botanical Garden ~ Malaysia Asia for photos of the various places mentioned below.
First getting up there. I suggest you stay at least 1 night at Colmar Tropicale. There is also a Le Chateau just in front of Colmar but it is more expensive. The main reason is that it will give you more quality birding time. If you are staying at the Colmar, you get a free ticket to the gardens at the summit. Otherwise, it will cost you RM12 per person at the first entrance to Berjaya Hills (just off the exit of the Karak Highway).
From Colmar, there is a shuttle bus up to the summit. But watch for the bus schedule. I think the last bus is 6pm. If you missed it, very siong to make your way from the summit to Colmar! If you drive, you will be asked to park at the car park where the bus stop is. At the car park is a flight of stairs that will bring you up to the road (after the barrier). A 5-minutes walk will get you to the Souvenir Shop at the summit. Distance is not long but it is quite a siong climb up. I would rate it as equivalent to a 5-8 floor walk up a flight of stairs (with your gear). If you drive up there before 7am (i.e., before the security guard gets to work), you can go all the way to the summit carpark. Although it is marked for staff, I parked there the whole morning without any problem.
Here is my suggested itinerary:
From about 8am-10+am do area 1 and 2. Area 1 (the nursery) is the real happening area. Watch for the botak tree to the right of the nursery. Do not get too close. Let the birds come, get comfy then you move a little closer. There are benches there so you can sit comfortably and wait. However, I suggest you station yourself on the benches towards the center part of the nursery and wait for the birds to come. Expect broadbills, shama, tiger shrike (constantly posing) and many more.
For the rest of the day, explore areas 3, 4 and 6. Bulbuls, broadbills, etc. The star of Bukit Tinggi, the Silver-breasted broadbill is active pretty much the entire day. You will see them everywhere.
Area 5 inside the Japanese garden (the path overlooking a mini rapid) is the place to be for the 4-5pm bird wave.
I spent the entire day hanging around the summit till I got chased out by the security when they were closing.
Equipment wise: For the nursery (Area 1), you need a 300mm with a short minimum focusing distance. The birds can come very close. Area 5 is tougher and a longer reach would help. I find the flash a must pretty much throughout the day due to the constant cloud (and mist) moving in and out as well as the dark tree covers. Some of my better shots were taken with flash (at low power). That's just me. May be with a better cam + lens setup you can do without flash.
That's all I have. Good luck! Old birds please feel free to add.
NOTE: Watch out for leeches. I was lucky but my wife kena one siong one.
Last edited by UncleFai; 11th March 2013 at 11:05 PM.
15th March 2014, 11:15 PM
Re: Birding at Berjaya Hills, Bukit Tinggi, Malaysia
Thank you so much for posting this... my wife and i followed your instructions to the letter and they were invaluable.
I really appreciate that you took time to put together these instructions. Many Thanks