Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Mangrove Pittas!

Back in early May of this year, a pair of Mangrove Pittas decided to build their nest just next to the car park of Air Hitam Dalam Recreational Forest in Penang. The nest is located at the bottom of a clump of Nibung Palms right at the edge of the swamp forest.

Initially, there was only handful of us that knew about the nest but the word of the nest soon got out and birders from as far as Singapore flocked to this locality for a chance to observe and capture images of this enigmatic species. It so happened that I am quite caught up with work at that time that I only made short visits to the nest on week days before I start my working day. I heard that on weekends, you have to practically queue up for a chance to observe or photograph the birds as the car park is just crawling with birders!

Anyway, both parents shared the responsibility of building the nest. The birds are quite tolerant of human presence and even more so if you remain in your vehicle. Using my car as a mobile hide, the birds will come rather close to my vehicle as they as they move about collecting nesting materials.

By the end of May, there was 3 eggs in the nest...

About a week later, the parents started to bring food back to the nest. Again, it is a shared responsibility. Luckily despite all the commotion and the presence of countless birders, the birds are successful in bringing up the family. It has been more than a week since I first noticed the feeding and the chicks are growing up just fine.

Observing this wonderful bird at such a close distance was an awesome experience. In fact, it may be one of my best birding experience so far. This confiding pair provided amazing shots like these...

I have had great observations and photographs of this species at this locality before but this past 2 months, has been truly magical. Never have I ever imagine that I will have a Mangrove Pitta hopping less than 10 feet away from my vehicle. In fact, I never thought I will be able to see a Mangrove Pitta from my vehicle let alone taking photographs. And it is all because of this loving couple. Thanks guys...

During my regular visits to the nest, I have been keeping an eye (and an ear) out for another dazzling resident, the Ruddy Kingfisher. I came close to capturing its image on a couple of occasions but somehow, it managed to slip past my camera. My frustrations were finally over on one of my visits when it alighted on branch long enough for me to capture a few shots.

3 comments:

zzlaloq said...

must be a wonderful experience seeing this pittas

yen said...

Singaporeans! Sigh.

AMIT said...

This bird is so lovely.

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