Recent posts have explored the island of Langkawi, located off the western coast of Malaysia near the Thai border.
After a week on Langkawi, the next stop was Kuala Lumpur.
While seascapes dominated the Langkawi posts, this post provides a complete change of genre and features birds – the birds of KL Bird Park to be precise.
The bird park is centrally located in Kuala Lumpur and is a roughly ten minute taxi ride from the city centre’s tourist hotels. Buses and the local commuter trains also get you close to the park. The park is very well set up and I would have to say is a ‘must-do’ for visitors to Kuala Lumpur.
Set in 20+ acres of landscaped gardens, the park features large aviaries through which visitors can roam yet provide birds with a natural free flight environment. The majority of the park’s 3 000 or so birds live in these large aviaries. Many of the birds are native to Malaysia, although there are a few ring-ins like the park’s collection of flightless birds – African ostriches and Australian cassowaries and emus.
So, let’s get going…
No bird park would be complete without a few peacocks strutting about, and KL Bird Park was no exception.
Ever wondered what a peachick looks like? This one was wandering along an aviary path with its mother. Look closely and you can just see its crest starting to grow.
Oriental Pied Hornbill
Smaller and nowhere near as attractive is this bushy-crested hornbill.
The rainbow lorikeets and red lories live in an aviary section set up for bird feeding, as demonstrated by my somewhat tame bird wrangler.
Pesquet’s parrot, also known as the vulturine parrot. The bare face is believed to be an adaptation to prevent head feathers from being gummed up by the bird’s diet of sticky fruits.
Barred eagle owl. Impressive ear tuffs.
Peahen and pigeons helping themselves at a feeding station. The big blue-gray lump on the top level is a Crowned Pigeon, the world’s largest pigeon species. It dwarfs the regular sized Pied Imperial Pigeons.
Close look at a crowned pigeon which better shows the species’ impressive head plumage. There are three crowned pigeon species, all to be found only in New Guinea. This is one is a Victoria crowned pigeon.
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I enjoy your photography but this series is particularly good! Wow, are those bird shots great.
Thanks Tim for the encouragement. I was under pressure on the day as my two boys really didn’t want to be there at the bird park and it was increasingly hot and humid as well, so it was snatch a shot here and there and then find I was left behind by the family anyway. We got completely separated at the end for about 20 frustrating minutes.
The DA 55-300 lens I think is better at the long end than many on the Pentax Forum site give it credit. Ok, not quite as sharp at 300mm as less than 250mm, but I suspect far better than most 10x type zooms that attempt to get to 250mm plus. I think in part due to the limited depths of field at longer focal lengths you really do need to calibrate the autofocus adjustment as a little out at long focal lengths really does affect the result. I suspect many commentators on the lens don’t do this. Also technique at long focal lengths becomes mandatory, not optional. When I first used the 55-300 at the long end, I was quite shocked to realise how far my technique fell short, and made me realise I really had to lift my game.
The birds at the KL bird park were pretty relaxed with humans so you could get quite close which helped a lot. Whether they were well positioned in relation to the light, presence of distracting elements, bills up their backsides preening (yes flamingos I’m talking about you!!), etc was another matter all together. And of course, there is always a proportion of dud shots with birds under almost any situation. Shooting through wire on the smaller enclosures also eliminated a number of images. Overall, I was happy I bagged what I did. A couple of serious sessions at the KL bird park without distractions should, I think, be capable of yielding a good portfolio of bird photos.
Since July I’ve been mucking about with my M*300 F4 and after removing an old UV filter where the gel layer was deteriorating and destroying sharpness and contrast, discovered what an incredibly sharp lens this is. Then went out and bought a M 400 F5.6 off EBay. Not as sharp as the 300 but the magnification gain is material. Finally at 400mm have the sort of magnification to make bird photography a realistic proposition. It’s another step shift up in technique over the 300 though! This focal length really demands patience to get the technique right. Manual focus at 400mm means a bird MUST stay still for a while while focus is dialled in. Depth of field is four fifths of bugger all.
I plan to post a few of my local telephoto images once I finish the Asia travel series. Saving what I think are the best images of Asia to last!
Very interesting. A friend of mine has an F*300 that is just amazing in is compactness and sharpness. Last year I picked up an old Tamron Adaptall 300 f2.8 (the 360 model not the 60). It huge and weighs a ton but it’s really sharp and had a matched 2x extender. It’s a very good lens just not something I’d want to hand hold much. Then this year in response to a low sale price I have a acquired a Sigma son of Bigma the 150-500 beast (with HSM and OS). I had rented on last year and really liked it.I think my quest for a big long lens is finally over.
Wonderful photos! Thanks for sharing!!
And thank you for your calling past. Have a great day.