Sunday, December 25, 2016

A breeding pair of Tiong

The female is checking the nest while the male scours the neighbourhood.
Location: Licuala Hill, Zone I
The Kambatik Park, Bintulu.

 This morning I saw a breeding pair of the Hill Myna bird, locally known as 'Tiong' close by their nest.  I was there around 9 in the morning and it seemed they have just said hello to the world.  They could have called it a lazy day as it rained heavily the previous night with a little  shower in the early part of the morning.  They were not really bothered with my presence and that allowed me to take more shots of them.  After spending a couple of minutes at their nesting tree they flew a short distance (50 - 60 meters)  to another tall tree to preen themselves.
The female bird shows how to enter the nest.

The male bird busy preening itself.

The female makes an early morning call.

A photo rendition of the scene.

Three in one encounter

Banded Woodpecker (Picus miniaceus) as seen through the jungles leaves and branches
Location: Licuala Hill, Kambatik Park, Bintulu.

When I heard a piercing short call over the park this morning I kept telling myself that the sound was most unfamiliar. So I started to collect my gear and ready for any encounter. I first rushed up the Cempedak Hill where the call kept pushing me moving uphill but cautiously. I didn't want the bird to see me too soon. The call was repeated again while I was just below the masses of leaves and branches of the Cempedak tree. In between the leaves I glimpsed of a bird somewhat holding on tightly to a branch in an upright position. The moment I held the camera to have a good shot the bird instantly took off. Hard luck. About half an hour later, I heard the call coming from the Licuala Hill area. Quickly I set foot ready for another attempt. Upon reaching Licuala Hill the very piercing call which sounded like a baby cry or a cat's scream was not heard again. So I thought I must have lost the bird and started to look around for other interesting objects. At Licuala Hill I stumbled upon a beautiful jungle tree in flowering. For the record this tree is not as mature as the one at Botanic Island One. But the flowers are the same. For many years now I have not been able to identify this jungle species. While kept busy admiring the yellow jungle flowers, the call broke the silence of the jungle and this time I thought it came from just above me. I moved position and took a few shots through the trees. I then moved slowly out of the jungle into the open in order to have a better view of the bird. There it was perching on one of the tallest dead tree of the neighborhood. I took several aims hoping one or two hit the target. Back on the computer desk I anxiously transferred the pictures and 'Yahoo!!' let the pictures do the talking. Shared below are the results of my Xmas morning birding session. It is a three in one Xmas gift. The Banded Woodpecker at the very top and below a pair of Brown Barbet.

Three in one capture - Banded Woodpecker at the top, and a pair of Brown Barbet below.

Brown Barbet (Calorhamphus fulinginosus)
Male of the species is above with black bill while female is below with pale grey or purple bill.

Banded Woodpecker at the tip of one of the tallest dead tree in the park, making a piercing call over the neighbourhood.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A colourful Trogon and what a lifer!

Scarlet-rumped Trogon or "Kesumba Puteri" (Malay)
 Today has been  most auspicious.  This morning was the first time in my life I encountered a Trogon.  It is really an amazing bird, very colourful and quite playful.. It was seen above me (about 3 meters)  at Provinsi Rattan, Zone I .   In the cool morning atmosphere I heard an unfamiliar call.  It sounded like Kir- rrrr. Within seconds I saw something orange moved infront  of me.  I remained still and the bird did not seem to be bothered with me.  Slowly I took the camera out of the bag and started to aim, before the bird took flight.  But no.  Surprisingly the bird wanted to 'play' with me.  It was moving about the branches above me and that afforded me many angles to shoot the bird.  It was gazing at me behind its shoulders and on one occassion turned around facing me straight with its sharp eyes.  Trogons are brighly coloured with a short, broad bill.  The tails look like as if  the feathers were square-cut. It has brown iris, with eyelid of cobalt blue.  I noticed its bill was blue.  Its head black with a nice orangish red breast.  It is a rare bird and is the first time for about more than 10 years staying at the park that I encountered it. What a lifer!.

The orangish red rump...or 'scarlet-rumped' is plainly seen just as well as the square-cut tail.  The bird was seen gazing curiously at me over its shoulders.

Harpactes duvaucelii ( Scarlet-rumped Trogon)
Seen at Kambatik Park, Bintulu..
Looking straight at me.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Lovely pigeons anyone?

Enjoying the seeds in the early morning air.

 The Pink-Necked Pigeon is an extremely attractive bird mainly for its colours, its stout body and strong wings.  It seems that every where I go they accompany me. Whether it is in the wildlife sanctuary that I have built in Bintulu, or the Kambatik Garden in Kuching these birds seem to accustom themselves building nests and breeding close to where I stay and live.  For this I am greatly honoured and indeed blessed by their presence.  They are a direct link to feeling the greatness of living nature and  an eco-friendly environment.  Today the pigeons  gave me a another rare opportunity to come close to them for a good morning photoshoot session in the garden.  The Shrubby Dillenia became their focus.  A small flock of them (about seven in numbers) were busy in the early morning air eating the numerous  juicy red seeds of the Shrubby Dillenia plant.  Back in the 80's these birds were commonly sold in town for their meat, but very seldom today due to stringent laws that protect these birds in Sarawak.

Pink-necked Pigeon - female of the species

The male Pink-necked Pigeon

Monday, October 31, 2016

Black Hornbill at abandoned coconut plantation

An abandoned coconut plantation with tall mature trees.
The hornbill is seen at the left of the picture, perching on the coconut frond.
Location : Setipuk, Jepak- Kuala Tatau Road.
A mature Black Hornbill with a white huge bill and typical 'casque' (i.e. horny excrescence at the top of the bill)

I have found a new birding place at Setipuk near Kpg. Jepak.  The Setipuk site is sandwiched to the north by the open South China Sea (which I think by now should be called the Asean sea) and a mixed forested area to the south.  On the borders of the site is a road that links Kampung Jepak to Kuala Tatau, the latter being a remote fishing village in Bintulu. On 30th October, while doing some oral history research in the area, I chanced upon a Black Hornbill perching on a coconut frond in an abandoned coconut plantation.  It was the brays and brunts of the hornbill that helped focused my attention and then the camera lens of a simple Samsung handphone (Note 2) to the subject.  It was a good record to start with.  I guess the abandoned coconut plantation could be its nesting ground.  I hope to re-visit the area often in future to gather more close up pictures of the bird.  It is believed that hornbills naturally build holes in trees  and these nest would be used by the breeding pairs for years onwards.

Ripe fruits for morning breakfast at Limbang

Philippines Glossy Starling

Weeping Fig ( Ficus benjamina)
 On a recent trip to Limbang (26 Oct'16)  I was attracted to a huge Weeping Fig tree or Waringin (Malay) that was heavily fruiting.  It was early in the morning when a small group of us were having breakfast at a coffee shop close by the river. The tree was located about five meters from the corner shop.  It was a fine morning and flocks of the Philippines Glossy Starling came to enjoy the ripe fruits oblivious of the people around.  I took the opportunity to gather some close-up shots of the birds consuming the juicy fruits for their morning breakfast.    
Enjoying the juicy ripe fruits of the ficus tree

View of Limbang town, 26 Oct'16.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A lifer sighted at the park - Rufous Woodpecker

Rufous Woodpecker (Coleus brachyurus)

 Today (4 Sept'16) has got to be a very special day for birding at the park.  This is because I was ready to meet the Rufous Woodpecker.  The rains that drizzled since dawn was not yet over by noon, and made me decide to just trek the jungle for any interesting subjects with the camera ready.My ears were thrilled by the calls of a bird not yet familiar to me as I approached Botanic Island Two. The sounds moved to another location still retaining it clear loud calls.  I walked on quietly and spared my steps so as not to be obviously seen or make undue disturbing noise to the birds.  The loud calls attracted my eyes to a small durian tree and then came the moment of truth.  I spotted a brown bird clinging on to the durian tree in an upright position.  In an instant I snapped as many pictures as I could from a distance of about 30 meters.  The pictures tell it all.  It was a Rufous Woodpecker and a lifer at that.  The sighting today was auspicious because it is the first time that I could enter the word 'woodpecker' in the labels list of this blog.  Lucky me.
The Rufous Woodpecker is seen in the middle of the picture, clinging on the durian tree branch.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Capturing the Little Spiderhunter

Little Spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra)

 I have been on the hunt for the Little Spiderhunter for a period of a week from 22 - 31 August'16.  It is a very cheerful and lively bird.  In order to get close to the bird I had built a small hideout close to the Yellow Ixora bush which it visited daily over the last week, (and I guess many more weeks to come).  I believe this bird is a permanent resident of the park.  Other plants that naturally attract it are the various Heliconia species, the Shrubby Dillenia, Chinese Hat plant and Red Hibiscus to mention but a few.  I noticed that the bird comes a calling at the Yellow Ixora bush on almost every hour of the day, starting as early as 7.00 am till around 5.30 pm.  Here are some better images that I have managed to capture for the week 22 - 31 August'16.
Sipping the nectar from the Yellow Ixora flowers
Zone C

At the Chinese Hat plant (Holmskioldia sanguinea)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cherish the moment seeing the Black-bellied Malkoha

Black-bellied Malkoha at Botanic Island Two

Just the other day, I spent an hour or so birding in between two botanic islands in the park. At Botanic Island Two I encountered a small party of Black Magpie. Unnoticed at first, I was pleasantly surprised later to watch at a nearby tree what seemed to be a malkoha among the leaves and branches. Its greenish and glossy back attracted my attention as it moved quietly among the branches of the tall trees. Once I got a good angle, free from obstacles I just simply click on my camera to get some images. It was early morning and the light conditions were far from perfect. When I uploaded the images in the computer I was amazed at the image because it was not the familiar Chestnut-breasted Malkoha which are a frequent visitor to the park. The Black-bellied Malkoha is a lifer for me. What attracted me was its grey neck and breast. Its tails have white tipped feathers. Iris are of pale blue with a red skin patch around the eyes. It is interesting to note that according to the literature, this bird is uncommonly seen in the lowland areas of Sarawak or Borneo for that matter. My encounter with this bird is therefore a rare moment to be cherished.
A moment to be cherished upon seeing this uncommon bird.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Striking early in morning light

Long-tailed Shrike with an earthworm as its early morning catch

Kambatik Garden, Kuching
 It was still early in the morning with the sun shining its soft light on the garden floor.  The shadows are soft and and the air somewhat still.  Nothing seemed to be amiss except for a peculiar shrieking call and a little movement at the garden perimeter fence.  The Long-tailed Shrike has landed with its prey intact between its strong beak.  Upon close-up I was extremely amazed to see an earthworm was its morning target prey.  The Long-tailed Shrike and the Pied Triller has been my favourite birds that I would normally look out first whenever I am at our home garden in Kuching.  Surely today the shrike did not disappoint me at all.  Today's picture was exceptional in that I was able to capture it in the early morning light with its prey, an interesting observation for the record.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A lovely Orange-bellied Flowerpecker couple

A pair of the Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
It was the moment of truth today.  I was hoping the other day (in a previous posting) that the male would bring along its female counterpart to enjoy the Jackfruit.  My wish was answered today, 30 July'16, when both sexes of the species dropped by the  Jackfruit tree, thereby giving me plenty of opportunities to gather stock photographs of the bird in close range. Unlike the bulbuls, the flowerpecker seemed to be less disturbed to see me.  Indeed the sweet fleshy pulp of the fruit was a major attraction attracting not only the flowerpeckers but also bulbul.  They were too focused on eating the fruit that quite oblivious of my presence.   I noticed that after the squirrels bit off the thick fruit skin the birds would come next enjoying the exposed pulp.  There seemed to be a mutually helpful co-existence between the birds and the squirrels.

( Note: This is a re-posting from this link...>>>> )
Date of posting : 30 July'16.