Monday, June 17, 2013

Some recent lifers from Tawau Hills Park

When you reach a sufficient number in your photographed bird list, it gets harder and harder to get a lifer, as the  commoner and easier birds have all been photographed, the harder birds are either too far away,  too remote or simply too difficult to approach.

I have photographed 385 species of wild Bornean birds so far, mainly from Tawau and nearby areas. Lately, we have not been able to produce any new bird from our usual bird photography playgrounds anymore.

We have no choice but to try out more difficult places for lifers, the nearest place in Tawau and relatively underbirded by us is Tawau Hills Park (THP). For reason stated here, we consider THP not very productive, but under these circumstances, THP seems to be the only logical choice if I want to up the number in my photographed bird list.

My first lifer for 2013, Blue-banded Kingfisher, was photographed in THP.

Male Bornean Blue Flycatcher Cyornis superbus, which has a song that is quite close to the later species is quite often seen, this one just refused to pose side way for me to take a profile shot. It can be quite indifferent to you while you take its photos. Its field identification mark is the lack of dark chin.
Male Bornean Blue Flycatcher

The male Large-billed Blue Flycatcher Cyornis caerulatus, which is a very similar looking and sounding bird to the preceding species, can be found here co-inhabiting the same habitat. It is distinguished from Bornean Blue Flycatcher by its dark chin, however, care must be taken not to confuse this with the male of Mangrove Blue Flycatcher Cyornis rufigastra, which also has a dark chin and happens to occur in THP as well.

Male Large-billed Blue Flycatcher

Striped Wren Babbler Kenopia striata, a rare and vocal skulker, a tough bird to photograph. I have to track 6 kms going up over 600 meters in THP's trail to Mt. Lucia to take an image which is just sufficient to positively put an ID tag on this elusive bird. Hope to go back there to take better shots in time to come.
Striped Wren-babbler

These three new birds make my photographed bird list go up to 388.

Happy birding.

Photodocument of Wild Birds of Borneo.

Standard References for my blog.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Who is sleeping with who?

It is a common sight at night in towns of Sabah that flocks up to thousands of Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis will congregate to roost on trees in parks and road side.

This inevitably occurs at dusk when it is hard to clearly see and identify the individual bird, all you can see is the feverish and hectic activities of birds flying in to choose a perch and hear the accompanying  noise. While this is happening, and if you have not witness one, you can be assured that it is a messy affair, passers-by will normally move away for fear of being 'bombed' by their droppings.

Here is a video I took on the evening of 5th June 2013, showing activities on an Ironwood Tree Mesua ferrea, in Tawau. I suggest you watch this video in Youtube for a better rendition.

The Asian Glossy Starling  is unmistakable as they can been easily identified while flying in to roost. However, to my astonishment, they is another species totally unrelated to the Asian Glossy Starling both in habitat and behavior choose to roost with them in the same trees as seen in the above video.

The species is Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora, which are the paler and smaller birds in the above video, I saw hundreds of them, flying-in in flocks.

During the day, Java Sparrow scatters in the outskirt bushes feeding on grass seed, they are hardly seen as they are normally away from roads, I have not seen them feeding inside Tawau town, it is surprising they choose to share roost in town with the Starling.

Java Sparrow is an introduced bird in Borneo, and it is evidently doing well here.

Here are some still images I took in the fast failing light.
 Java Sparrow with two Glossy Starlings psrtly hidden.
 This is one of the sharper images, a Starling is at the top left.

There is a flying Java Sparrow and some of both species.

Happy birding.

Photodocument of Wild Birds of Borneo.

Standard References for my blog.