Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Busy Time for the Mamas and the Papas

Jops and I were able to join a guided trip last Saturday and do a bit more birding after the official activity ended. We didn't get to see any new birds but the observations we got that day were pretty amazing.

As dark rain clouds rolled in, we began the birding activity and how lucky we were! Our group was standing just beneath a nest of some Olive-backed Sunbirds.

The group was standing under some trees and...
some busy sunbirds!

We saw a pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds and the first-time birders were treated to seeing the female sunbird tending its nest and even sitting in it! How's that for a first birding experience =)

The mama sunbird tended the nest and chicks
She then sat in the nest for a while before flying off again.
A big chunk of the nest seemed to be falling apart
at the bottom...

We saw most of the usual suspects in the area but the Long-tailed Shrikes that frequent the campus were mysteriously absent! We heard a couple of them but saw none that morning.

Jops and I continued our Saturday with a bit more birding and saw that the sunbird parents weren't the only one's busy tending to their young.

We saw lots of Lowland White-eyes that day and spotted one nest. I remembered the first time I saw a Lowland White-eye nest and marveled at its construction. The delicate cup-shape nest is perfectly rounded at the bottom and anchored on thin branches.

The parent bird would sit on the nest, leave, then come back to sit again.
Can you see it?

We also saw a very active Ashy Thrush plucking some earthworms from the ground before hopping away into the trees, most probably to feed its nestlings.



We also got a few surprise observations as we saw a Hooded Pitta with a mouthful of worms too! It stayed still with the worms wriggling in its beak before flying off with its catch. We would see it back in the same area again, digging for more worms.

A slightly wet pitta with some worms in its beak.
It was a such a dark, gloomy, drizzly afternoon!

We then had an encounter with a pair of Mangrove Blue Flycatchers perched together on a leafless tree. The mama soon flew off but the papa stayed behind. It would come back to the same area with food in its mouth, ready to be delivered to its nestlings.

The papa Mangrove Blue came back with spiders and worms!

The weather didn't improve much so Jops and I decided to call it a day. We just got a handful of birds on our list but we got great observations of bird behavior.

It is always so much more interesting and rewarding when we get to see the birds' natural behavior. Behavior that is not manipulated in any way using any supplements or reinforcements. There is a different kind of joy in this kind of experience, knowing we were exactly at the right place at the right time with the birds =)