On 29 December, I did some birdwatching at the old Gombak Road (Jalan Gombak Lama) that leads to Genting Highlands, Bentong and the east coast of Malaysia.
This is not my first time here as I have visited this place a few times, and I find birding here quite interesting because of the species of birds that can be spotted.
Birdwatching at Old Gombak Road
Usually, I will come with either the MNS Bird Group or with some birding friends, and I will park along an open area of this road. I will start walking along the old road to look for birds.
However, one must be extra careful because there are a lot of cars, vans and lorries speeding up and down from time to time. So, usually, we will start clear from the road.
On my last trip here on 28 December 2022, construction is now ongoing at several sections of the Old Gombak Road, and when I looked at the signboards, it was the ECRL development. ECRL is the East Coast Rail Line project which has been on and off.
Now that a new government has formed in late 2022, the ECRL project is back on. Therefore, there are several sections under construction. This place will probably get tarnished from a peaceful and lonely old road.
Once you start to explore this area, you may see pristine primary rainforest, which I think is secondary forest now and recently, in 2022, many sites have been cleared for the construction of the ECRL railway line.
But when you explore closely, you may chance upon fruiting trees with small berries that attract many barbets, bulbuls and thrushes. The best are the fruiting macaranga trees, which attract more bulbuls, white-eyes and flycatchers, including the rare blue-and-white flycatcher in Selangor, which is my lifer.
The best time to visit Old Gombak Road is also in the morning at around 7.30 AM, and you can spend about 3-4 hours birding here. Usually, I will leave by noon and head back to the city.
Birds at Old Gombak Road
So, over the few times that I have come here, there have been only good experiences as there are exciting birds spotted, and even lifers for me. Below is my bird list, which I also uploaded to my eBird checklist for the Old Gombak Road.
- Raffles’s Malkoha
- Black-bellied Malkoha
- Silver-rumped Needletail
- Plume-toed Swiftlet
- Whiskered Treeswift
- Changeable Hawk-Eagle
- Rufous-bellied Eagle
- Rhinoceros Hornbill
- Bushy-crested Hornbill
- Blue-eared Barbet (Black-eared)
- Red-throated Barbet
- Yellow-crowned Barbet
- Gold-whiskered Barbet
- Gray-and-buff Woodpecker
- Buff-necked Woodpecker
- Buff-rumped Woodpecker
- Crimson-winged Woodpecker
- Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot
- Black-and-yellow Broadbill
- Lesser Cuckooshrike
- Large-billed Crow
- Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher
- Common Tailorbird
- Rufous-tailed Tailorbird
- Black-headed Bulbul
- Spectacled Bulbul
- Scaly-breasted Bulbul
- Black-crested Bulbul
- Stripe-throated Bulbul
- Yellow-vented Bulbul
- Red-eyed Bulbul
- Hairy-backed Bulbul
- Arctic Warbler
- Hume’s White-eye
- Velvet-fronted Nuthatch
- Siberian Thrush
- Orange-headed Thrush
- Asian Brown Flycatcher
- Oriental Magpie-Robin
- Blue-and-white Flycatcher (Lifer)
- Mugimaki Flycatcher
- Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
- Red-throated Sunbird
- Long-billed Spiderhunter
- Little Spiderhunter
- Yellow-eared Spiderhunter
- Spectacled Spiderhunter
- Grey-breasted Spiderhunter
- Asian Fairy-bluebird
- Lesser Green Leafbird
- White-rumped Munia
- Gray Wagtail
- Snakes – Here are some tips for birders and bird photographers; because this is a secondary forest, you should always be cautious when going into the bush areas. Some parts have trails, and keep an eye out for snakes.
- Dogs/Rain – If it rains, there will be leeches, so take precautions if you plan to go to the river area or the trails. Also, the place can be slippery so take care when exploring the area. Sometimes there are wild dogs around, but these are usually the Orang Asli dogs, mostly harmless.
- Monkeys – There are many long-tailed macaques that I have seen in the area, so if you carry food, be cautious when you eat. Avoid eating around these macaques, as they can be pretty aggressive for food. Other than that, I would not walk into a group of them if they were in front of me.
- Safety – There have been secluded cases of robbers here by petty thieves; therefore, it is not recommended to visit alone. If you plan to go, at least go in a small group, a minimum of two people.
Old Gombak Road (Jalan Gombak Lama)
- Address: Jalan Gombak, Federal Route 68, Selangor
- Search for: Gombak Aborigines Hospital on Waze or Google Maps
- Directions: From the Hospital, drive another 3-4 miles further
- Parking: By a safe and open area of the road
Conclusion to Birdwatching at Old Gombak Road
The location is relatively easy; you need to use Waze or Google Maps to locate the Sri Maha Vanna Muniswarar Alayam Temple and head along that road. The best locations to look for birds are after Batu 14 (Mile 14), usually at Batu 15 and 16 (Mile 15 & 16) near the Ulu Gombak Field Study Centre.
This is a reminder that if you go, there are no public toilets or F&B facilities, so you must come prepared. Also, there are a lot of cyclists that use this road regularly, so keep a lookout for them. Happy birdwatching along Jalan Gombak Lama!