Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The children are our future (15/03/2015)

It is always good to see the young children developing a love and interest in nature. My latest guest from Singapore, Nigel, has an eleven-year old son, Lucas, who is quite interested in animals. What impressed me the most was he was able to identify some of the commoner birds and is eager to learn and find out more about the wonders of nature. On the first day of their tour, I took them and Nigel's brother, Jimmy, to the swamp forest of Air Hitam Dalam in Penang. This small area of birding delight is the best choice to suit their needs as they are still relatively new to the world of birding.

As soon as we got down from the car, we were greeted by the resident pair of Mangrove Blue Flycatchers. It has been months since my last visit and I am delighted to see that the world's friendliest Mangrove Blue Flycatchers are still upholding the reputation they created for themselves. 

Just so that I will not doubt them again, the male bird put on a memorable performance and it was one that left quite an impression on my guests. Heck, sometimes I myself cannot believe how confiding these flycatchers have become.

The other celebrity flycatcher of this locality, the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, is getting ready for the coming breeding season. He showed off his partial breeding plumage and it will not be long now before he undertakes the journey back north. Safe journey, bud. I hope to see you back here again in winter.

A few Abbott’s Babblers came surprisingly close to the elevated boardwalk as they foraged for food. However, the lighting conditions and active nature of the birds made photography rather challenging.

The resident Olive-winged Bulbuls were in full chorus throughout most of the morning. This individual was more confiding than usual. I guess the anticipation of the breeding season does that to you sometimes.

Another resident that looks set for the breeding season is the resident pair of Crested Serpent-eagles. One of them was enjoying the morning sun on an exposed perch and provided a prolonged and close encounter.

This female Common Iora was also soaking up the rays of the morning sun from the cover of the canopy. She looks rather content except for the occasional glance to see what these humans were up to.

I am a little disappointed with how this shot of the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo turned out. It was a shame because the drongo was foraging so close and at eye level. I even had to reduce my zoom in order to fit it into frame. I guess I underestimated the influence of the dim lighting condition.

I was a little surprise to see this Forest Wagtail foraging nearby the main access road. Most of the time, I see it among the undergrowth of the swamp forest or within the rear car park area. Despite being out in the open, the wagtail was still a difficult subject for photography as it never stops moving.

The bird of the trip was undoubtedly the Spotted Wood-owl. This was my guests’ first wild owl and needless to say, we all know how it felt. Mysterious and beautiful, owls are truly fascinating creatures. It was a good experience for them especially for little Lucas. This is my third posting in a row that ends with owls wrapping things up but you will not hear me complaining.


John Kooistra said...

A top notch introduction to you neck of the woods Wai Mun. Well done!

John Holmes said...

Great - what an owl species for young Lucas to start with !

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, guys! Yes, it was a good experience for them.

obleng said...

Lovely read. Have never visited the place. Nice introduction for a novice. Thanks.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Obleng.