Thursday, 24 December 2015

A partridge on a pear tree

All partridges are elusive, shy and have the uncanny ability to hide well especially from birders. The Chestnut-necklaced Partridge is one of the rarest species that occur here in Peninsular Malaysia. You are more likely to see Santa in his open sleigh cruising in the skies above. However, unexpected things do happen in birding and encountering a Chestnut-necklaced Partridge so close to the edge of a forest is certainly one of them. The call of this elusive game bird was the first sign of its presence during one of our birding excursions and at such close distance, it was deafening.




The partridge was on no pear tree but we were so adamant in obtaining better images that leeches, ticks, snakes and God knows what else momentarily do not exist on our forest floor. We tried to remain as silent and still as possible while praying for a better view but that was easier said than done. And to make matters worse, I was quivering with excitement. But Christmas came early this year and the partridge tolerated our presence and gradually showed us more of its true beauty. This is one of the best and most exciting resident lifers we ever had. Terrestrial forest birds are notoriously difficult to observe in the wild. It takes as much luck as it takes field craft to see one well. And today, we were probably the luckiest birders in the world.



The partridge foraged, preened, rested and was totally at ease during our observation. The soft chuckling notes it made while foraging melted my heart away. If I was not seated on the forest floor, my knees would have given way. Things got even more interesting when it started establishing its territory again with those prolonged bursts of loud and wavering calls. I found out from my wife the morning after I was whistling the partridge’s call, which is now embedded deep in my subconscious mind as well, in my sleep. Now, that is what I call a lasting impression.




By the way, we did end up with multiple leech and tick wounds after the encounter. But what are a few bites for a lifer that I am willing to risk a limb to get. We hauled ourselves out of the forest muddy, bloody and sweaty but with a wide grin and a distinct bounce in our stride. This encounter with the partridge was simply electrifying. Being so close to it evoked some feelings that I had not felt for a very long time. It was certainly an experience that is up there among the best. 

12 comments:

Bob Kaufman said...

Wow, what a Christmas gift that was!

Jack Leong said...

Another exciting excursion and a diamond find. Congratulations !!!Merry Christmas too!!!

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thank you, Bob and Jack! Christmas came real early for me this year.

frodo said...

Congrats.Such an attractive partridge.I tried for it in THailand and almost came close to seeing it. But not that easy as you said.Will be trying again sometime next year.
ATiah

Wilma said...

Now that is a nice Christmas present. Wonderful photos and text; I could feel your excitement.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thank you, Aun Tiah and Wilma for your comments and compliments.

Folkert said...

Fantastic pictures! I'm nearly drooling :-) Must have been a great experience. Happy holidays, Folkert

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thank you, Folkert. Same to you.

mike birder said...

Congrats bro

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks, Mike!

John Holmes said...

Glorious partridge shots !

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thank you, John