Monday, August 31, 2015

A rainy Sunday

It's raining at the park
Zone B
Bamboo orchid
It has been raining on and off yesterday, a Sunday (30/8/15).    Even though I normally work on Sunday, it was just good that I called yesterday a holiday due to the rains. My holiday is once a week, a Friday.  Life is too short to have too many free days off in a week.  Life in the park is always occupied everyday, if not to see the plants and wildlife, it is about getting yourself up and kicking everyday and the older you get, the greater the need to be alive.  And the rains, they make you feel  even more energetic.  To capture what happens when it rains and what is the view after the rains.  A Bamboo orchid ( Arundina graminifolia) caught my eyes as I moved about the park in the rain.  The one hour heavy rains brought in a brief flash floods, a subject I love to photograph.  The light conditions are also good for photography.  
Stream overflowing after the heavy rain
Zone F

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Black Hornbill

Black Hornbill, Zone B.
It was sighted  about two days ago and today I stumbled upon it again.  It is the Black Hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus) distinguished by its black plummage.  The bill is pale yellow in the male.  The other day I saw it moving about the tall trees nearby the Kruak wetlands.  It is my fervent hope that it will stay here for a little while to build its nest.  Hopefully.  Sarawak is well-known for its hornbill birds.  In fact the state is often called 'Land of the Hornbills'.  Hornbills are large birds with exotic bills and prefer to live in the hollow of trees.  The park is now very attractive for these birds because they are many fruiting trees at the moment.  Just before sunset time, the hornbill flew away and I hope it will be seen again tomorrow.
Today's sunset as viewed from Zone B

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A historical interlude

A pair of Little Green Pigeon seen early in the morning
Location: Cempedak Hill, Zone G.

First flowering bud of the Malay Apple
or Jambu Bol (Malay) seen early today.
These days I am pretty busy writing a historical piece.  In between walks in the park, physical aerobic i.e. intense harvesting work, gardening, photography and a host of other  miscellaneous activities, I have to squeeze whatever time available to do a simple historical piece about Penang Free School.  I managed. Today I completed the project which stretched over two weeks.  The historical piece is in the form of a blog so that I can add or enhance it as time goes on.  Furthermore, the subject will be able to be accessed by just googling'Penang Free School'.  The time when I do the marketing for the work will be next year.  This is because the subject is about the Penang Free School which is the first English school in Malaysia which opened its doors on 21st October ,1816.  Thus next year it will celebrate its 200 years of existence.  It would be a very auspicious occasion and I felt good to be part of the celebration next year, even though I am not a student or graduate of the school.  It is more a passion for history.
Watercolour painting by Charles Andrew Dyce (1816-1853)
showing Georgetown and Fort Cornwallis, Penang in 1846.
Painting  354 x514 mm
Crdeits: Irene Lim (2003) Sketches in the Straits,NUS, Singapore.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wild and beautiful Rambutan

The Rambutan fruit
This tree is about 70 years old but is standing tall, next to the stream at Zone F.  The Rambutan tree belongs to an age-old variety.  It isn't a hybrid. Its high stature is shared with the Balem tree nearby and both claiming to be one of the earliest species planted by predecessors  on this little green spot of our tiny blue planet.   It is precisely on this matter that  I have deep respect for both trees for their "will" to survive.  When I see it producing an abundance of fruits this year, the best in its fruiting history so far, I feel blessed to have its presence in the park. Talk about the taste - well, this is an age-old species or wild species as you might call it, and it tastes sweet and sour.  More sweet when it is very ripe than sour.  So there you have it, a wild species that still thrive  the vagaries of nature, wild and strong, wild and healthy, wild and productive, wild and beautiful.

Note the size and height of the Rambutan tree trunk.
Location : Zone F

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Highlights today at the park - 16 August'15

Chestnut Munia -  - Pipit Rawa (Malay)

Ong Lumok (Bintulu Melanau) - Artocarpus odoratissimus
Tooth brush orchid - Dendrobium secundum

Rambutan (Malay) - Nephelium lappaceum

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A female Blue-eared Kingfisher

Blue-eared Kingfisher - female of the species
Location : Zone F

The Blue-eared Kingfisher looking attentively at the stream below for small fishes
Location : Zone F

I saw it perching first on the Ong Lumok branch then it flew a short distance away, resting on a Pong-Pong tree branch.  It was the Blue-eared Kingfisher and a female for one.   The resemblance of this bird to the Common Kingfisher is close, but the Blue-eared is much more richly coloured.  The female's  feet is orange or scarlet and the upper mandible bill is black and lower is red.  The brownish band at the side of the neck is peculiarly present in the female of the species.  In the male counterpart,  the band is blue.  The ear coverts of the female is brown, while the male is blue.  This Blue-eared is seen more often at the park because it is more of a forest bird.  On many occasions I have seen it perching on this Lumok tree branch for a bird's eye view of the small fishes below.  On at least one occasion it was seen diving and successfully grabbing a small fish as prized prey.

Having a brief rest at the Pong-Pong branch
Location : Zone F

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Highlights today at the park - 12 August'15

A Punai company

Male Pink-necked Pigeon
Cempedak Hill, Zone G.

A pair of Punai Gading (Malay)
 It's early in the morning.  The sun has hardly risen.  Up on the Cempedak tree at Zone G, I noticed a small company of Punai birds having an early morning gathering.  It was a small company of five - two male and three females.  This team of Pink-necked Green Pigeon have not been seen for quite a while.  I was exceeding thrilled to see this small team back at the park. Could have it been that the birds were born here?  My speculation is that there is a possibility that many of the Punai birds were born here because on many occasions I encountered these birds nesting at various locations in the park.  Well, their presence is an assurance that the park is home to these lovely birds.
A small company of Pink-necked Pigeon (Treron vernans)
Cempedak Hill, Zone G

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The tooth brush orchid

Dendrobium secundum - in light purple tones.  Known also as 'tooth brush' orchid.
Note the orange lip
Grown on oil palm frond's cut bases

The Dendrobium species called 'Dendrobium secundum' is found in many South East Asian countries, from Myanmar to Indonesia. Dendrobium comes from the Greek words, dendron and bios to mean "tree" and "life" respectively.  The name recalls the epiphytic nature of the orchid - living on a tree.  What I have done here is to place it conveniently on the trunk of the oil palm tree.  The frond's cut bases are ideal places for growing orchids with no care.  Shade is provided by the oil palm leaves, the cut bases are home to moisture, organic matter etc. which provide food for the orchid plants.  The variety that is flowering now has light purple petals and orange lip.  The inflorescence is terminal, conical and densely packed with the flowers, arranged in rows, all facing in one direction.  It is a cute, beautiful and unique species of orchid.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Just google "Ong Lumok"

 The Ong Lumok is my kind of fruit.  It is pulpy sweet.  Very sweet indeed that I can finish three big fruits in one session.  I have written a fair bit on this fruit and to prove it just google "Ong Lumok" and you'll see most of the pictures and write-up on this fruit online  is from the Kambatik Park.  It is a seasonal fruit, known by Malays as "Terap" but the Bintulu Melanaus call it "Ong Lumok" or fruit of the Lumok tree.  "Ong" in Bintulu Melanau means fruit.  The Ong Lumok is a basic tree that is well-integrated into the agro-forestry practice at Kambatik Park.  The reason is obvious.  The fruits are edible to humans and wildlife and their seasonal fruiting makes the park an added attraction to all sorts of wildlife, birds, insects, butterflies and a myriad variety of flies.  Count the Ong Lumok as one fruit you must taste before you die!!  Long live the Ong Lumok.
Ong Lumok (Bintulu Melanau) - Terap (Malay)
Artocarpus odoratissimus
Location: Zone C