Thursday, November 23, 2017

November in the park

View of Zone E facing north. Taken in the early morning light.

 Early November was a transitional period of the yearly monsoon season.  Soon, perhaps towards the middle of the month, the real North-east monsoon will arrive Bintulu's shores. From what I see so far, this end of year monsoon is arriving according to textbook timing, though its real impact and true story is yet to be unfolded in the coming days and months. All over the park the red ants (Kerengga) are seen busy building nests and after a light rain, I walked around the park to stumble upon the 'Kulat Jelutong' which is edible. I look forward to more rains in November and December.
Red ants (Kerengga - Malay) building nest at the 'Miding' fern

Edible "Kulat Jelutong" growing on a rotting 'Pong-Pong stump.
"Kulat Jelutong"

Friday, July 28, 2017

Stingless bees colonies at the park

A hollow tree trunk at Botanic Island Two serves  well for a stingless bee hive.

Stingless bee collecting pollen from 'Sepenuh'
(Eurycycles amboirensis)
 I have more time to study wild bees population at the park now.  Its one of the advantages of having conserve the wilderness in the park.  I am on my new journey to find out more about  these interesting insects.  My focus is on the stingless bees (melipones), which are naturally  plenty in the park, are not harmful and can be kept as pets.  They come in various sizes and so far I have managed to keep three species for propagation purposes.  I am considering also to add more species by getting them from outside origins and introducing them to the park.  As starters and teasers here's some pics I took recently.
A stingless bee hive built on the leaf base of the 'Travellers palm' ( Ravenala madagascariensis)

Young juveniles

Sipping stingless bee honey which has a sweet and sour taste directly from its honey pots.

Busy like a bee. Stingless bees moving house, finding a new man-made home.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Physalis are a plenty

Ripe fruits of Physalis minima or 'Letup-Letup' in Malay.

There are plenty of ripe berries of the Physalis minima at the park right now.  This plant though imported a few of years ago to the park seems to like the environment here and are 'self-propagating' naturally through its ripe seeds.  It requires very little maintenance though a good dose of fertiliser would surely make the stems stout and more fruit-bearing.  When available the berries make good menu for vegetable  salad for they taste very much like tomatoes (see below). 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A beautiful Papillionidae species - Arisbe antiphates

 I am somewhat flattered with the arrival of the Arisbe antiphates butterfly here.  It was a memorable occasion for me as I watched this slow flying butterfly resting and then flying off over many places in the garden, especially the Butterfly garden area where I first sighted it.  This is the first time on record that this butterfly is seen by me after staying for about 11 years at the park.  It's a beautiful specimen that crossed my path on the 7th of June'17.
Papillionidae - Arisbe antiphates
4 June '17

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Chestnut -breasted Malkoha pays a visit

It was another thrilling encounter this morning when I stumbled upon the Chestnut-breasted Malkoha ( Phaenicophaeus curvirostris)   I could sense its presence about 20 meters away by its peculiar low call when I was approaching Botanic Island One.  After a while of looking its whereabout and keeping still beneath the tall trees and dense canopy, my eyes were suddenly attracted to a dark moving figure among the leaves and branches.  My patience was rewarded when the Malkoha came out more in the open.  Here are a few shots on this morning encounter.
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha ( Phaenicophaeus curvirostris

One up for the park- a juvenile long-tailed Nightjar

Early April the Long-tailed Nightjar was seen frequenting the open ground near the Cempedak Hill and I was hoping that the adult bird will produce an offspring.  Today, after a lapse of a few weeks I decided to catch up with the bird.  To my greatest surprise I saw a young Nightjar chick at the spot where the adult frequented before.  I did not have the chance to see the eggs since I was away in Kuching.  Nevertheless, the presence of the juvenile Nightjar  is one up for the park as a wildlife sanctuary.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Large-tailed Nightjar in plain sight

3 April'17

3 April'17

6 April'17
Large-tailed Nightjar nesting on open ground, Cempedak Hill, Zone G.
I have been tracking the presence of a Large-tailed Nightjar near the tall Cempedak tree at Zone G.  She is of course a perfect camouflage.  You cannot actually recognise it immediately because its body and feathers resemble the colours of dead leaves, vegetative matter, wood, stones or just earth. Furthermore it does not utter any sound or call.  Whether the bird is going to lay eggs, time will tell.  But I'm on the watchout from now on.

The Dollar in sight

Dollar bird perches on a tall dead tree branch at Licuala Hill, Zone I

 Today I'm extremely lucky to have another shot of the Dollar bird, belonging to the Roller family.  From my experience so far, I have only seen this bird coming to town solo.  Its red beak and bluish body is very attractive.  From far, I couldn't specifically recognise this bird because the shot was taken from about 100 meters.  After zooming in on the image then it's confirmed.  This Dollar bird is known to build nest in a hole of the coconut tree.Apparently on this sighting it did not utter any call or sound.
In the background is the Dollar bird, abut 100 meters away. Note the colourful red flushes of a jungle treelet at the foreground.
View from Botanic Island Two, Zone I, looking north.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Catching up with the park

View of the park, looking south from Rusa Hill.

' But-But' (Malay) - Centropus sinensis.
 Before the month ends I thought I would walk around the park this morning to observe nature here core intimately.  The jungle green is everywhere with plenty of colours added.  The shape, texture and size of leaves are so diverse I feel it a joy just to observe and touch them.  Mind you its's just a walk in the par.  Surprises are common.  The sighting of the 'Burung-But-But ( Centropus sinensis) as Malays call this quite large bird makes me mindful of the need to preserve nature and its habitat at the park.  Then I stumbled upon the very interesting Tree Shrew with its very dominant round eyes.  It was seen eating something from the oil palm fruit bunch, not insects but some vegetative matter.  The Tree Shrew is a small mammal that pride itself among the trees but have nest or homes in burrows below. The Tree Shrew below is still a juvenile but seems to enjoy the park very much.

Leaves and colour at Botanic Island Two.