Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Number 282 bird of Borneo - Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago

This is my number 282 bird of my humble project to photodocument the birds of Borneo, Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago. Like all snipe, a cryptically plumaged bird that camouflage well within its surrounding.
Common Snipe
Common Snipe
 Common Snipe
According the Quentin Phillips, the Common Snipe is probably the least common of the three  common snipe in Borneo, the other being Pintail and Swinhoe's  Snipes.

Key ID features are; a very long straight bill; a longish tail; the brown loral stripe broaden towards the bill base, where it is wider than the supercilium. Two broad creamy-buff line edge the mantle and upper-scapular feathers, the lower scapular fringes are wider at the lower edge, the dark tertial bars are wider than the pale ones.

Happy birding.

Phillipps, Q & Phillipps, K. (2009) Phillipps' field guide to the birds of Borneo, Oxford, UK: John Beaufoy Publishing Ltd. 

Message, S & Taylor, D. (2005) Field Guide To The Waders of Europe, Asia and North America, London,UK:Christopher Helm

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pitcher Plants

Pitcher plants are carnivorous plants whose prey-trapping mechanism features a deep cavity filled with liquid known as a pitfall trap. It has been widely assumed that the various sorts of pitfall trap evolved from rolled leaves, with selection pressure favouring  more deeply cupped leaves over evolutionary  time. However, some pitcher plant genera (such as Nepenthes) are placed within clades consisting mostly of flypaper traps: this indicates that this view may be too simplistic, and some pitchers may have evolved from flypaper traps by loss of mucilage.

The sides of the pitcher are slippery and may be grooved in such a way so as to ensure that the insects cannot climb out. The small bodies of liquid contained within the pitcher traps are called phytotelmataWhatever their evolutionary origins, foraging, flying or crawling insects such as flies are attracted to the cavity formed by the cupped leaf, often by visual lures such as anthocyanin pigments, and nectar . They drown the insect, and the body of it is gradually dissolved. This may occur by bacterial action (the bacteria being washed into the pitcher by rainfall) or by enzymes secreted by the plant itself. Furthermore, some pitcher plants contain mutualistic insect larvae, which feed on trapped prey, and whose excreta the plant absorbs. Whatever the mechanism of digestion, the prey items are converted into a solution of amino acids, peptides, phosphates, ammonium and urea, from which the plant obtains its mineral nutrition (particularly nitrogen and phosphorus). Like all carnivorous plants, they occur in locations where the soil is too poor in minerals and/or too acidic for most plants to be able to grow. (Wikipedia)

If you are interested in Pitcher Plants, and you happen to pass by Gunung Alab, you can see a variety of Pitcher Plants at Crocker Range Park at Gunung Alab Sub-station. Here is a collection of the images. I am not into Pitcher Plants and I apologize for no ID.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Makassar Myna - New Bird for Sabah

Edited on 1 May 2018 text with green backgound.

Further to my post here on the Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus (now Makassar Myna Acridotheres cinereus) in Tawau, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia. We photographed them again on 24th October 2009 at the same vicinity of the area that we captured them on camera before, on 13th May 2007 and 12th June 2008 respectively. We saw four birds this time, two on a high wire, looking gorgeous, clean and healthy, and two on an old coconut tree stump far away, apparently just after a shower, and were seen occasionally  quarreling with the Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis who are using the coconut tree stump as nest. 

Happy birding.

MacKinnon, J. and Phillipps, K. (1993) A field Guide to the birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mann, C.F. (2008) The birds of Borneo, an annotated Checklist. Peterbourough, UK: British Ornithologists' Union.

Myers S. (2009) A field Guide to the birds of Borneo. London, UK: New Holland Publishers.

Phillipps, Q & Phillipps, K. (2009) Phillipps' field guide to the birds of Borneo, Oxford, UK: John Beaufoy Publishing Ltd.

Sheldon, F.H., Moyle, R.G. and Kennard, J. (2001) Ornithology of Sabah: History, Gazetteer, Annotated Checklist, and Bibliography. Washington D.C.:The American Ornithologists' Union.

Smythies, B.E. and Davison, G.W.H. (1999) The birds of Borneo. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia: Natural History Publications (Borneo) Sdn. Bhd. and the Sabah Society.

Monday, November 2, 2009

31st August. Poring to Tawau

Edited on 1 May 2018 text with green backgound.

The next morning, 31st August, Malaysia National day, on our way back to Tawau, we made a detour to Poring, having heard and seen many reports of desirable birds from there. However, Poring Hotspring was not productive on that day as there was no fruiting tree at this time of the year. We walked the trail to Kipungit Waterfall,  and no Pitta call was heard, we did not attempt to climb to the Bat Cave and Langganan Waterfall as I was carrying my 600 mm rig with me at that time.

Nevertheless, this Barbet was seen feeding on a high brunch, it looks like a juvenile Blue-eared Barbet Megalaima auatralis (Now Psilopogon australis). This could also remotely be a juvenile Golden-naped Barbet Megalaima pulcherrima (Now Psilopogon pulcherrimus) as they have been recorded to descend down to this altitude level. The Yellow-crowned Barbet would have shown some red on the nape.

Juvenile Blue-eared Barbet
Juvenile Blue-eared Barbet

This is the Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati, also foraging on a high branch against the brightly lit sky, resulting in a horrible looking record shot.
Greater Green Leafbird

This Draco sp. flying Lizard flew in to feed on ants on this tree trunk, after it left, a Rufous Piculet Sasia abnormis also flew in for a few seconds, there was no no time to take a pciture.

This Grey-cheeked Bulbul Criniger bres (Now Alophoixus tephrogenys) was feeding next to the entrance of the Canopy Walk. Opposite it was the endemic White-crowned Shama Copsychus stricklandii.

Grey-cheeked Bulbul
White-crowned Shama

There are a number of stalls across the road selling handicrafts and stones laced with mineral  and crystals deposits to tourists.

On the way we stopped at Nunuk Ragang. Nunuk Ragang is a legendary red banyan tree traditionally located at the intersection of the left (Liwagu Kegibangan) and right (Liwagu Kawananan) branches of the Liwagu River to the east of Ranau and Tambunan in Sabah. The word "Nunuk" is a Dusun word for the Banyan tree, and "Ragang" comes from "aragang", the Dusun word for red. It was under this giant banyan tree that the village of Nunuk Ragang was founded and flourished. Tradition places this village as the original settlement grounds of the Dusun people who inhabit most of central Borneo. In 2004, the quasi-government group Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) set up a memorial near Tampias at the site of what they believe is the original village. The memorial, which was built in the form of a huge fig tree, contrasts with the surrounding modern palm oil plantations. The association conducts annual pilgrimages to the site, timed to coincide with the inauguration of its paramount chief, the Huguon Siou (Wikipedia).

This is how Nunuk Ragang looks like.
Nunuk Ragang

We found this snake on the road there. Our friend, Mr. Ku Kok On was so excited and went to capture it to play play.
Mr Ku holding the snake
Close up of the snake

Saw House Swift Apus nipalensis and Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica flying above the river and open plain in front of Nunuk Ragang.
House Swift
As there was no activity, we left after stopping for a while to take some picture.

Happy birding.