Sunday, July 31, 2016

Its harvesting time

Its harvesting time.

Average weight of ffb is 15 kilos
 The fortnightly schedule for  harvesting the oil palm bunches has started this morning.  I look forward to this activity because it provides an excellent physical workout that is at the same time rewarding.  I wish I could continue the activity after lunch but due to heavy rains I had to cancel my afternoon workout.  The average weight of the fresh fruit bunches (ffb) is 15 kg.  Of course there are those that are in the range of 20 - 30 kilos and are harder to lift and carry on the wheelbarrow.  But that is merely part of the occupational hazard.  For those trees that are between 7 - 8 years old the degree of difficulty increases when you need a much longer pruning pole to cut the fruit stalk.  For trees that are 3 - 6 years old a sharp harvesting chisel will do fine as the cutting operation is done at human height.  Below is shown the cutting operation of the leaf bases before finally cutting the fruit stalk.
Two leaf bases below the fruit bunch are  cut first

The pruning pole's cutting blade is fixed at the fruit stalk and with a little pull will remove the bunch from the trunk.

Done. The fruit bunch has been removed and other fruit bunches will be pruned once the fruits  show signs of ripening.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A lovely Orange-bellied Flowerpecker couple

A pair of Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, the male is more colourful than the female.
Location : Zone C

 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,
the birds at play

A rare chance to see both male and female in a single frame, making my day.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sequence 5 - grass cutting along feeder paths

Feeder paths leading to Zone I

Feeder paths at Botanic Island One
 Feeder paths are an extension of access from the main road to nearby oil palm trees that cannot be reach by pick-up vehicles.  From feeder paths, fresh fruit bunches are collected and placed along the main road for loading and transportation, usually by wheelbarrow.
Some of the feeder paths pass through jungle areas, slopes and valleys.  This is because in the design and planning of the park, the original topography was retained as much as possible to enable the preservation of habitats that can sustain wildlife.

Feeder path through Botanic Island One

Feeder paths through Botanic Island Two

Feeder path connecting Zone I to Zone E

View of sunset from Licuala Hill

View of the sunset taken from Licuala Hill, 28 July'16

Attracted to the Jackfruit

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker at the Jackfruit tree

Male Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
 The over-ripe Jackfruit has been attracting many birds and small animals.  Chief among them were the Plantain Squirrel and the Skink.  Not to miss the fun today was the Orange-bellied Flowerpecker too.   Though the Yellow-vented Bulbul  did try to come close to it, my presence alerted it and off it flew.  The quirrel seemed to be really enjoying the flesh of the fruit but not the seed, which it simply drop onto the ground below.
The attraction of the Jackfruit will last for a few more days in which I would be eagerly waiting to see if the male brings along its female counterpart for a photosession.
Plantain Squirrel holding seed of the Jackfruit
Zone C

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Highlights today at the park - 26 July'16

Yellow-vented Bulbul at the Jackfruit tree

It's flooding time

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker enjoying the Jackfruit 

Hill Myna bird shows up again at Licuala Hill

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sequence 4 - grass cutting on plains and open spaces

Plains and open spaces areas on both sides of the stream at it meanders through Zone F

Zone F
 Retaining much of the original topography, the park is well served by a stream that meanders through the land for about 500 meters long.  The plains and open spaces on both sides of the stream needs to be regularly cut for many reasons and can be done once a month.  Once the grasses are neatly trimmed, the areas afford a 'park-like' view of the landscape making walking in the park and along the stream a pleasant experience.
Below are more pictures at various zones showing the plains and open spaces areas.
Zone F

Zone F

Zone F

Zone F

Zone E
Zone B

Sequence 3 - grass cutting between trees

Zone E - some areas are undulating, others relatively flat

Zone A
 An important area to do grass cutting are those spaces in between trees.  Some areas are easy to work on especially those at low lying and flat areas.  However, areas on undulating slopes and hills are  quite problematic especially after the rains making the areas wet and slippery.  In such circumstances, after every heavy rains it would be more advisable to undertake grass cutting on relatively flat areas for safety purpose and ease of working.  In areas where the trees are mature and tall (about 6-8 years) grass cutting can be done once a month as the areas are under heavy shade and grasses tend to re-grow slowly under such conditions.  Below are more pictures of the areas that are regularly cut once a month to make the park look neat, clean and beautiful.
Zone B

Zone E

Zone E

Friday, July 22, 2016

The beauty of flash floods

The Kambatik stream in flash floods

 Today the rains poured heavily for about an hour from 11 am.  All the downriver sections of the stream starting at Zone B encountered flash floods.  But as usual the flash floods would disappear the moment the rains stopped.  Flash floods is a normal matter for the park and is treated as a good thing.  It helps to do spring cleaning of the stream and its banks or plains by the stream.  The floods bring in loads of new soil and deposit them on both sides of the stream and surrounding plains.  Flash floods can be useful for games and recreation e.g. kayaking or canoeing.  Its a great time for photography, too.  Below are more pictures taken today to show the 'beauty of flash floods'.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

No black hood yet

An adult Chestnut Munia with black head (at left) and a junvenile bird at right
Zone F

Juvenile are all over earthy-brown.
The head remain tinged brown'
 I have been watching for a couple of days now at a flock of Chestnut Munia ( Lochura malacca).  What excites me is the presence of young birds that are part of the flock and producing the most happy of sounds.  In Malay the bird is called 'Pipit Rawa' and characteristically utters the 'pit, pit' call.   I have read that the young birds are earthy-brown all over and later change colour to something like the adult plumage, specifically the head still remain a tinged brown.  After the third change of plumage will the bird exhibit the chestnut plumage and the black head.
A young bird perching on the oil palm leaf
Zone F