Friday, 27 October 2017

When life throws you curve balls

I found myself at the wild lands of Pedu Lake again and this time with a couple of Australian guests. Birding was relatively good today but photographic opportunities remained scarce. As we walked along the access road, we came across a number of forest species and some were brought into view by birdwaves which is a natural phenomenon in any birding excursion.

The biggest of the forest denizens today were the striking malkohas and the tiniest, would undoubtedly be the brilliant flowerpeckers. One of them was gracious enough to allow its image to be taken and it was a handsome male Orange-bellied Flowerpecker. It is one of the commoner species but with such vivid and intense colourations, this flowerpecker is never short of admirers.

Flocks of Green Ioras foraging along the canopy levels is a regular feature here in Pedu Lake. The birds’ lifestyle makes it rather difficult for birders to appreciate their true splendour. However on this occasion, something attracted a flock to venture lower than usual and provided a visual treat rarely enjoyed by birders. The male is a splendid creature and just like the previous species, are true jewels of the forest.

The Osprey was back at what seems to be its favourite perch that overlooks the scenic Pedu Lake. A stroke of good luck brought me closer to this elegant raptor than ever before. Life, however, threw me another curve ball and the Osprey was back lighted by the harsh midday sun.

One of the most recognizable bird calls of the forest here belong to an enigmatic species – the Red-bearded Bee-eater. The call consisting of a combination of croaks and resonant notes was the first thing to give away the bird’s presence – as usual. A tedious search among the dense foliage of the rainforest revealed a male bird resting on an open perch but the distance prevented me from capturing his true splendour.

As we were making our way out of Pedu Lake to head to our next destination, a confiding juvenile Changeable Hawk-Eagle hunting by the road was too exciting to forgo. This individual seemed more slender than usual. Perhaps life here is not all sunshine and rainbows after all. Anyways, it was a memorable performance by this common raptor.

Once we were done with the eagle, we returned to my vehicle only to find that the starter has died and I could ignite my vehicle. I have a history of automobile fails here at Pedu Lake and this is by far the worse. My birding usually takes me to wilder side of the country. And now, I am stuck with a couple of foreign guests along an isolated road in the middle of nowhere. I was thankful that my I could still call for help and my mates had my back again. In between Choo Eng and Hor Kee, we managed to send my guests back to the hotel safe and sound and my vehicle towed to the nearest town for repairs. I always do my best to ensure my guests get the best out of every excursion but I guess some curve balls can really put you to the test. So instead of enjoying the companionship of pittas and babblers at the mangroves of Sungai Batu with my guests, I was stuck at a car workshop in a small town for the rest of day.

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