Wednesday 10 April 2013

Soaked to the bone (04/04/2013)

It was drizzling when I dragged myself out of bed. The cold air was making me sluggish but to miss yet another birding trip was unforgivable. As Choo Eng and I were making our way across the Penang Bridge, it really started to pour and we had to consider carefully where our destination would be on this dark and damp morning. At the time, we had no idea that the rain will eventually cause Penang Island's worst flash flood in 5 years and luckily by the time we got back home, the flood had subsided.  

Anyway, we were car-birding along the eastern side of Kedah state when Choo Eng spotted a couple of Barred Eagle-owls roosting on a huge Rain Tree. Although I feel sorry for the owls, braving tropical downpours with hardly any shelter is something that is very much a part of their lives. Birds and animals are more than prepared to face anything that is thrown at them by Mother Nature. Sadly, evolution simply did not have time to make them withstand the destructive nature of man as well.

Eventually, we found ourselves at Tengas - a locality which basically consists of plantations and secondary forests. I have not visited this area for many years now and naturally, quite a substantial area of the forest has been replaced with plantations. With the birds laying low and no signs of the weather improving, we were back on the move again sooner than anticipated. 

Our final destination was the scrublands of Penanti in mainland Penang. Here, the Red Junglefowl is a relatively common sight. And I thought the cold weather today will make this skittish species a little more tolerant. I guess I was wrong…

Even from a far distance, this gamebird is not willing to take any chances with approaching humans.

The rain also brought out hoards of flying termites - much to the delight of the birds found here. The termites are like a never-ending food supply and a feasting was inevitable. One of the birds of benefited from this natural occurrence was the White-throated Kingfisher.