Today, Folkert and Kolbjorn joined Angus and me and we visited a sand ridge where the kerangas forest had been burnt in the El Nina year of 1998. We had hoped to get into the swamp forest there, but were told that it was too swampy, so confined ourselves to the cleared area.
First up were these amazing pitcher plants. They were hard to miss. The first sign that you were near one was a bat suddenly flying out of the undergrowth! The extraordinary thing about these pitcher plants (Nepenthes hemsleyana) is that Hardwicke’s Woolly Bat roosts in them! You MUST read this link, which explains that the pitcher is so perfectly designed to be an exact fit for the bats that they don’t even need to hold on with their feet! And, if you want to see what the bat looks like, check out this mind-blowing photo by Ch’ien Lee.
We didn’t get a good view of the Woolly Bats, but we did see a day-flying Large Flying Fox – presumably late getting back to roost after a night out boozing on fruit.
Relatively mundane by comparison, the dead trees in the cleared area were attractive to green pigeons in the early morning.
This is a female Cinnamon-headed Green-pigeon, a species I’ve yet to see in the Peninsula, but locally common here. It is distinctively small-billed compared to otherwise similar female green pigeons, and to help further, the bill base is red. The underparts seem more uniformly green than other female green-pigeons.
Below an adult male, a subadult male Cinnamon-headed shows an interesting colour combination. This and the next couple of pics were taken using my Canon S95 hand-held through Kolbjorn’s scope. Thanks for that Kolbjorn!
While scrutinizing the pigeons, Folkert alerted us to the fact that a male Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker was sitting in a dead tree nearby. Pigeons were quickly forgotten! Sadly, the bird’s stay was momentary, and we were not able to relocate it.
It was getting rather hot out in the open, and Folkert and Kolbjorn were keen to visit the trail we scored heavily on yesterday, so we went back to the peat swamp forest.
In three years, they’ve never seen Hook-billed Bulbul from the roadside. Yet, almost as soon as we got into closed canopy, a small group of birds showed up. It seems that, to see this species, you need to get into the forest. They were much more obliging than the previous day’s individuals, and I managed to get a few shots.
None of the field guide illustrations do justice to these birds, probably because they were done with only skins to refer to. The bill colour needs altering from black to pale blue for a start! The hook at the bill tip is quite pronounced, and the whole bill shape reminded me of a slim broadbill, if that’s not a contradiction in terms!
At night we had another go at photographing Bonaparte’s Nightjar, with similar (lack of) success.
We did however, witness a Colugo make an astonishing glide of over 100 metres across the road, to land with perfect precision on a tree trunk on the other side.
We were even more amazed when it landed to notice that it was carrying a baby as well! Folkert has a much better shot of this and his own account of the same day here.