Friday, January 29, 2016

The Great Eggfly butterfly

Great Eggfly ( Hypolimnas bolina)
Location : Zone C

View of underside 
 Been watching the Great Eggfly (Hypplimnas bolina) and managed to get a few good shots of it.  It was seen at the Blood banana tree (Musa sumatrana) at Zone C sipping nectar from its flowers.  It was seen visiting the flowers in the morning and since it was busy enjoying the nectar it was quite oblivious to being photographed.  The upperside is very colourful and the underside no less attractive with its lace-like patterns.  On many occasions it flew to the ground and settled on the grasses.  A rare coincidence occurred when a mate appeared on the scene and after many attempts the pair finally came together in unison.
Sipping nectar from the banana flowers

Settling on the lawn

The Great Eggfly in copulation

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Little brown black darling

Chestnut Munia or "Pipit Rawa" - Malay
Zone C

 She comes to town in chocolaty dress with a dark face, like she is wearing a black 'hijab'.  Often she is seen in a small party foraging for seeds especially grass seeds. She and friends would cling to the long grasses and normally inch towards the end of the grass stems to get close to the seeds.  In so doing they gently bend the grass stems and skid towards the end of the stems  in playful acrobatic style.   Her skinny feet and steady legs are grey. What is striking about her when compared to her cousins is her silvery grey beak.  Today she is busy collecting all sorts of dried grasses and other plant materials to make a nest.  The nest called home is deep in the middle of the bamboo clump.
Having an interlude in between nest making at the bamboo clump

Friday, January 22, 2016

Training early in acquired taste

Training early to love red juicy seeds of  'Simpoh Air' 

Baby Bulbul
You would imagine that acquired taste is among the rich and famous, eating anything bizarre with out of this world pricey tag.  Mother bulbul teaches otherwise.  It entails getting out early, very early in the morning to hunt for seeds to feed its young.  A little too late is much too late because by then other ferocious birds like the black glossy starlings would dominate the scene and chase the Mother bulbul away.  The baby bulbul need to be trained early to love the juicy red seeds of the 'Simpoh Air' or Shrubby dillenia.  There are hundreds over the neighbourhood to be picked everyday but not all fruits open up  its seeds at the right time and place.  It is a bird's life, flying around to gather them, and then with sublime touch insert the seeds into the eager mouth of baby bulbul. Little bulbul needs to be trained early to love the dillenia seeds. Other types of exotic diet will come next...ants? maggots? bees?.  If only man keep to his promise of ecological biodiversity our world would be a prosperous place lamented Mother Bulbul.
Ready to lift off with priceless seed

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Brown-throated Sunbirds enjoying banana nectar

Brown-throated Sunbird, male top left,female bottom right
Zone C
 You will not be mistaken that these two birds are a couple because they are often seen together hunting for food.  It is confirmed. The colourful of the species is the male while the female has dull coloration i.e. olive-green upperparts, pale yellow around the eye and yellow underparts.  The male comes to town in gorgeous metallic blue upperparts,  bright yellow breast and dark brown wings.   The Brown-throated Sunbird loves to sip the nectar from the banana flowers even though it means doing it upside down. Once they have caught sight of  a  banana inflorescence they will make many return trips to the flowers throughout the day. That means you need to get ready at the banana tree to catch up with this lovely couple in order to get a good glimpse of the birds in action.  Patience and passion plays their part.

Sipping the nectar from the banana flowers

Waste not a seed

The female of the Brown-throated Sunbird searches for the few remaining red juicy seeds of the 'Simpoh Air' (Dillenia suffructicosa)  before  other  bigger birds enter the scene for their share.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A mother's care

A young Yellow-vented Bulbul is being fed by its mother with the red juicy seeds of the 'Simpoh Air' ( Dillenia suffructicosa)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Red-billed Malkoha sighted for the first time

Red-billed Malkoha ( Zanclostomus javanicus) - "Cenok Api" - Malay
Under-tails are bluish grey, interspersed with white tips of graduated inner-tail feather.
Location : Botanic Island One, Zone D

The Red-billed Malkoha is the second rarest malkoha in Borneo, after the Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus sumatranus)
Location : Botanic Island One
This is a lifer for 2016.  The Red-billed Malkoha was heard uttering some distinctive sounds from Botanic Island One.  The calls sounded like a muted "oak, oak, oak, oak ,oak", repeated many times.  I wasn't sure what bird produces the repetitive calls though my best guess was a malkoha.  But surprise! it was a Red-billed Malkoha.  In 2013 and 2014 the Chestnut-breasted Malkoha have occasioned the park many times. This year it is another malkoha species and is the second rarest malkoha on this big island of Borneo.  What is appealing about the bird is its red bill and its rufous lores, chin, throat and breast.  The orangish colour is in striking contrast with the greenery of the jungle. Its long tail is dark bluish green.  All in all it is a lovely bird and I wish it will come to the park more often. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Prinia's nest

Prinia flaviventris - the only prinia on Borneo

Yellow-bellied Prinia
 Just the other day I was given a good pose by the Yellow-bellied Prinia (Prinia flaviventris).  This bird loves to build nest close to the ground.  I did not realise the presence of the nest until I was overcome by curiosity.  Why did the pair hang out at that particular place?  On closer look I chanced upon a nest nearby where the two birds were seen.  The nest is erected on two stems, a grass stem and the stem of a small 'Senduduk' plant (Melastoma malabathricum).  The materials that comprise the nest are obtained from the immediate surrounding, chiefly dried grass blades.
The prinia's nest.  The entrance of the nest faces a north-south orientation.
Location : Zone C

A good bird watching morning

Black Magpie
Location : Licuala Hill

The early morning hours when the birds are out looking for food and prey is a sure bet to catch a glimpse of many birds common to this area.  This morning starting at 7.30 am I chanced upon three species.  The Black Magpie ( Platysmurus leucopterus) was braving itself to come closer to me.  Previously this bird could only be photographed from a distance and even so hidden  among the leaves and branches.  When I heard its voice which is similar to the crow and mixed with imitative sounds of the Hill Myna I climbed the Licuala Hill to find its whereabouts.  I was handsomely rewarded with a vantage view of the bird. It showed its characteristic habit of bowing its head while perching on the branch.  The Black Magpie likes to imitate sounds of other birds.  It is in the list of large-sized birds at the park.  Next in line came one of the tiny birds at the park - the Yellow-bellied Prinia (Prinia flaviventris).  They are born here.   Despite its size the bubbling calls emitted are loud and cheerful. It prefers to hunt among the long grasses making it difficult to have a good shot.   Today, however it came out  pleased to offer me a good pose.
Not to disappoint  me,  a threesome of  the smallest raptor in the world  the falconet showed themselves at their favourite perch.  The Bornean Falconet  (Microhierax latifrons) is a regular visitor probably enjoying the abundance of insects here.  They are skillful in catching their prey, grasping them in dashing flight or sorties from the tallest spot in the neighbourhood.  I took extra trouble this morning to come closer to them by moving close to the tree where they perched.  From below I could only see a glimpse of one of the falconet through the maze of leaves and branches.
Overall, it has been a good morning for bird watching.
Yellow-bellied Prinia among the grasses
Three Borneon Falconets taken from a distance of about 100 meters.
Location : Licuala Hill

Closer view of the falconet through the leaves and branches
Bornean Falconet

Sunset viewing is soul satisfying

( Note: All views are taken from Sunset point at Licuala Hill)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Green umbrella and practice green

Big enough for a 'Practice Green'
Zone B
Zone B - 'rough area'
 It has been a wonderful day to work under cloudy sky, gentle breeze and Sunday - which is a normal day at the park.  I take a day off only on Friday.  Today I enjoy the beauty of the light and shade under the green umbrella of oil palm fronds.  At Zone B is one of my favourite 'golf green' spaces.  The central lawn area is big enough for a practice green.  There are at least five locations in the park with  'practice green' spaces done as a function to relax the eyes in the fixed grid of oil palm planting layout and also acting as a recreational ground and wildlife 'flight air space'.
Shade and light under the green umbrella of oil palm fronds
Zone B

Shades of green

Provinsi Carpentaria
Zone F

Provinsi Rumbia
Zone F

Provinsi Lady Palm
Zone C

Botanic Island One
Zone D