Malaysian Photographs Stunning Birds & They're Just In His Neighbourhood

He's captured owls, storks, and more. :O

Cover image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

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Sometimes, we just need a reminder to not hustle all the time, and to pause and live in the moment

It's easy to get caught up with our busy schedules, running around checking off lists and doing errands. 

One Malaysian, however, recently reminded us that life can be full of surprises if we take a moment to notice the little things around us.  

Roy See.

Image via Provided to SAYS

Roy See, who has been living in Bangsar since 2001, has captured beautiful shots of not-commonly-seen birds around his neighbourhood

He read an article during the Movement Control Order (MCO) that challenged photographers to continue to take photos with what they have access to.

Feeling inspired, the 36-year-old began to pace his garden to see if he could find any interesting insects to photograph.

It wasn't long before he started to notice 'exotic' birds flying overhead and perching in nearby trees.

Crimson winged woodpecker.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Common Flameback (both female).

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Painted stork.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

When the MCO rules were relaxed a little, he explained that he made it a point to document as many species as possible around Bangsar, taking advantage of the reduced road traffic that might have had an effect in coaxing these normally shy birds out from thick foliage and into the open.

"The lockdown made me realise that most of the time we are just 'too busy' to notice so many of these beautiful birds that are sharing the same space that we live in," See shared with SAYS.

Banded woodpecker.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Amur paradise flycatcher (male).

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Blue-tailed bee-eater.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

"With this newfound awareness, I have started to notice birds on garden plants, on roadside trees, lamp posts, telephone wires, house gates, etc, just about anything — all around Bangsar neighbourhood"

"I once spotted (and photographed) a family of raptors, frolicking on a tree next to Bangsar Shopping Centre. One night, I also spotted a stoic owl on a telephone pole. There is a resident Oriental Pied Hornbill in Bangsar, seen by many, but I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting it."

Buffy fish owl.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

White-breasted kingfisher.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Asian brown flycatcher.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Brahminy kite.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

After noticing such birds coming out into the open, all See needed was luck and perseverance to capture these beautiful shots

"I love to see the reactions from my family, friends, and neighbours when I show them photos of these interesting and not-so-commonly seen birds; and when they inevitably ask where I took them, it is always fun to reply with just 'Bangsar'", he shared.

Coppersmith barbet.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Asian glossy starling.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

White-breasted waterhen.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

It's one thing to be able to observe birds with your naked eye, but to be able to capture the perfect shot isn't always the easiest task

He shared one memorable moment when he convinced his wife to sit with him in one of the neighbourhood parks at night, as he was trying to photograph a resident Buffy fish owl.

"Drenched in a cocktail of mosquito repellent and our own sweat, we sat there for hours; at one point even hiding from a police patrol to save ourselves the hassle of having to explain to the cops what we were doing there," he revealed.

"The owl was a no-show that night."

Daurian starling.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Black-naped oriole.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Regardless, See has managed to spot many other beautiful, unique birds that one might never expect to see in the wild. Not in the city, at least.

He started off by driving around Bangsar area with his windows down, listening for bird calls and constantly scanning the sky.

"Sometimes the birds lead me to the outside of people's houses; I can imagine it must be terrifying for Bangsar folk to see a stranger's car parked outside their homes with a long lens sticking out the window. I've stopped this practice on the account that is very unsafe, creepy, and also not very productive," he shared.

Pink-necked pigeon with hatchling.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

"Now I either walk around the neighbourhood, into the various trails scattered around Federal Hill, or just stand in my garden with my camera when I have just a little downtime."

If you live or frequent the Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Mont Kiara areas, See shared that it's probably easier to bird-watch at the recreational parks there, due to the "park's close proximity to Bukit Kiara's sizeable greenery".

Eurasian kingfisher.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Red-throated sunbird.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Crested goshawk.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Common tailorbird.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Hill myna.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Purple heron.

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Asian koel (male).

Image via Roy See (Provided to SAYS)

Treating photography as just a hobby, See emphasised that he's no expert in birds, but simply wants to share the beauty of the natural world through his captures

His love for photography started underwater when he borrowed his scuba instructor's camera to take a photo of a lion fish. Since then, he'd always wanted his own camera but realised it was too costly to get one exclusively for diving. So he made a promise to himself that he needs to use the gear not only for underwater, but for everything else as well.

"So far I have kept my own promise — using the camera to its fullest. Aside from underwater and bird photography, I have subsequently developed an interest in photographing a wide variety of things, including food photography, product, portrait, astrophotography, and street photography."

"Although I occasionally take photos for work purposes, I don't have the intention to make it my profession... I don't study birds academically; I only learn just enough from books and online to be able to identify the species for captioning purposes.

"For the photos that I really like, I print, frame and gift them to friends and family."

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