Wednesday, September 28, 2016

After the cutting

View of Zone E , looking south

Zone F, looking west
 The grass cutting operation is regularly done to help change the perception that an oil palm plantation need not look like an uninhabited place, unkempt, dangerous to walk around and of no beauty.  The proceeds from sales of the ffb (fresh fruit bunches) have been instrumental in providing the means to undertake grass cutting works at the park.  This is because the grasses here are never applied with weedicide since day one.  Based on the Kambatik landscape design philosophy and aesthetics, it is indeed a pleasure to work and walk around the park.  After about ten years of development, the natural environment is flourishing well as evidenced by the return of wildlife to the park, chiefly the birds, butterflies and bees.   Here are some photos showing areas of the park taken just after the grass cutting operation at Zone C, E and F.
View of Zone C, near Butterfly Garden, looking east.

View of Zone E, looking north

View of Zone F, looking south

View of Zone E, looking north

View of Zone E, looking west.

View of Zone E, looking south

Highlights today at the park (28 Sept'16)

Yellow-vented Bulbul
Location : Cempedak Hill

Travellers Palm ( Ravenala madagascariensis)
Location : Zone C

Blue-throated Bee-eaters after the bees in mid-air battle  and battering them onto the branches, before consuming their prey.
Location : Zone E

A unique Shield Bug seen at Licuala Hill
Location : Licuala Hill, Zone I

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Breakfast on wings

In between flights the birds takes a breather while battering the bees on the branch to a knock-out before devouring them
Location : Botanic Island Two

Malay : Berek-berek Tadah Hujan
Blue-throated Bee-eater
(Merops viridis)
 At around 7.00 am,  I took an early morning walk in the park before the sun has risen over the horizon.  The greenery and cool morning air was invigorating.  On nearing Botanic Island Two the atmosphere above the canopy sounded noisy with cluttering sounds, somewhat familiar.  It has been a while since swarms of bees get blown to the park.  This morning was another occasion of this much awaited phenomena.  There were hundreds of the Blue-throated Bee-eaters circling and making sallies as they grab the bees with their beaks in mid-air.  The lighting conditions for photography were not so ideal but nevertheless the opportunity of seeing with my own eyes some fierce battle in the air was an amazing experience.  These birds pass by the park everyday in a north-south direction but seldom do pay a pit-stop unless swarms of bees are present like this morning. Well, they had an early breakfast on wings at the park.  Thank you for dropping by and come again soon whens the lights are better.
The bees taking a breather while battering their prey to a knock-out
Location : Zone C

Battering the bees on branches

Monday, September 26, 2016

Fields of Miding

View of 'fields of Miding' at Pipit Wetlands
Location: In middle of Zones G, H and A
I have a loving weakness for Miding.  These freely obtainable and freshly plucked ferns are my favourite vegetables.  My love affair with this  no maintenance, healthy and wild growing fern seems to find no end.  The two areas at the park that have been reserved for the 'cultivation' of these ferns are quite established now.  One field of Miding is situated at the Keruak Wetlands and the other at the Pipit Wetlands.  The Miding is one of the most expensive vegetable sold at the 'tamu' or jungle produce market in Bintulu town.  The price ranges from RM 8 - RM 10 per kilo. At the park however these delicious ferns are free for the taking. Believe me some things are really free in life, 'Miding' included.  Just take a little effort to grow them naturally so as to enjoy Nature's free gift daily.

Field of  Miding at Keruak Wetlands
Location : Between Zone B and C

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Morning rain and a happy bird

View of Zone F, looking west - the stream overflows

Shrubby Dillenia flower
in the rain
 The park received a light shower this morning which lasted till noon.  The light rains have caused the stream to be filled to the brim and in some locations have overflowed to surrounding plains.  Today's rain is hugely welcomed because the park has been experiencing  a dry and hot weather stretch since 10 days ago. I had to use an umbrella to check out the extent of the flash floods and other interesting things for the record.
Much to my pleasure I stumbled upon a lone Spiderhunter happily absorbed at siphoning the nectar from the flowers of the Yellow Ixora.  The Spiderhunter had to do some acrobatic moves while in flight to pull out the needle-like style which contains the sweet -tasting nectar.  For this reason Malays call this flower 'Bunga Jarum' whereby 'jarum' means needle.
Little Spiderhunter hoovering at the  Yellow Ixora flower
Location : Zone C 

Note the needle-like style caught in between the beak.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Ladies, this plant is for you.

The centre oil palm tree (above)
 is where the Lipstick plant grows
 I had a pleasant surprise upon seeing the Lipstick vine ( Aeschynanthus spp) that hugs the oil palm trunk at Zone B (see inset) producing flowers.  For a couple of days I have been watching the moment when the flower will reveal its full blooming glory. The Lisptick vine is a native plant in Sarawak or Borneo Island for that matter where it naturally grows on trees close to rivers and streams.  The flowers look like a red lipstick poking out of a deep red holder.  The leaves are waxy and succulent . This plant does fine on a hanging basket.
Near blooming stage
The flower starting to full bloom.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

White flushes of a jungle tree

White flushes or young leaves of a jungle tree
Botanic Island Two

 I have noticing for about four days in a row a jungle tree that exhibits white flushes or young leaves.  There are many native plants species that possess this leafing phenomena at the park, with some showing different colour flushes.  In our humid tropical rainforest environment, the greenery does not follow the predictable annual cycles like in the temperate climates with their springs  and autumns.  At the park, trees grow continuously by producing new leaves.  However for some trees, the leaf exchange can result in flush accumulation with new leaves showing contrasting colours.  Today, I checked again the jungle tree which produces white flushes at Botanic Island Two.  I see a good potential for this tree as a landscape tree for its white flushes.