Monday, May 31, 2010

Puff-throated Babbler

I reckon Puff-throated Babblers as my friendliest birds at Cerok Tokun so far. Since they are often seen hopping in the undergrowth along my hiking trail, we are always so close in proximity to each other.

I have built a terrific friendship with one of them in last year. It intended to lead me to its home for a cup of coffee. Unfortunately the plan was spoiled by a passer-by.

This Babbler was quite noisy this morning. And because of the sound, I was able to trace its whereabouts. It blended into the environment so well that nobody could find except me. It then replaced sound with actions once I was seen holding a camera; it knew that I could not record video with my DSLR.

It continued puffing its throat out in order to tell me its name is right, or because of the name, it had to keep puffing. It did so much without knowing its image may be at risk. A Babbler is supposed to be a beautiful bird.

We may sometimes fall into a similar trap. But if this can make other happier, what is wrong being a joker sometimes?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Jungle Story

I am always very playful, especially with my camera. I do believe this will always end with some unexpected discoveries, or in my term, pots of gold. What if I continue to be more playful, can I be as successful as Thomas Edison?

I saw this dead tree which looked nothing special while walking in the huge jungle, and its picture never tell me a fantastic story. But then,

I saw a flying eagle up in the blue sky. An eagle is a big bird, it did look like a little butterfly. Do you prefer to be a big eagle or a little butterfly?

This monkey seemed to think like Aristotle, our great philosopher: " Why do you call it an eagle who actually is a butterfly?"

"Liars when they speak the truth are not believed. "

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Last Episode

I have posted many pictures on baby birds, they are all contributed indirectly by the adult Tailorbirds, so, how can I ignore the effort of the later during wrapping up this long series?

The adults are normally 13cm long, but always look smaller when their tail is in upright position; on the other way, my excitement definitely lasted more than this length; it traveled along the globe, en route from Malaysia, via Asia, took a turn to Asia Pacific, then a brief stop over in United Stated and Europe before coming back to Malaysia. How long do you think it is?

These birds certainly shared my excitement, and being a mama and papa, they must be even more excited than me.

"When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever", by the way, me and my guests have at least left some sweet memories behind. When we happen to see each other in future, they may know me, but I do not think I shall be able to recognize them.

Don't be sad. Bye-bye.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Guests, A Tailor bird Family (Part VI)

It was Saturday, May 15, 7:30 morning, the next day after the last baby bird had been escorted to the nest.

It was found leaving its home again and perched silently between the leaves. Yes, silently; both mama and papa must have gone “outstation” to prepare for the weekend feast. I did not stay too long this time. I’ll come back after my hiking at Cerok Tokun.

It was 12:30pm. I did not see the baby bird anymore. A few questions were in my mind immediately. Firstly, was the bird up in the sky now? Secondly, had it been a victim of my neighbors’ cats? Thirdly, was it still somewhere in my garden? Me and my son started combing the garden.

Ha-ha, here it was. Knowing it was safe, we went inside, peeked through the windows, and hoped to witness the fledgling process, and at the same time, to keep a close eye on those cats.

The parent came back with food for most of the time, and guided the baby for the first flight after that. Learning is a difficult process. The chick was seen climbing, hopping and falling while chasing after its parent.

A green worm enriched with protein was needed before going for another attempt.

The chick climbed up a chilly tree, adjusted its body for a comfortable position, took a deep breath, and here came the final moment. On your marks, get set, and a few flaps of its wings, the bird was gone. It never return.

There's no point now for the cats to squat at the rooftop waiting for their chances; there's no point for them to sniff around again.

And I am most happy to be relieved of the heavy and important responsibility.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Guests, A Tailor bird Family (Part V)

I just could not wait to come back from work after knowing one baby Tailorbird had left in the morning.

It was now 7:30PM, fourteenth of May. The nest was found empty. They had left me, and my story would be ended right at this point of time.

But to my surprise, one of them was found perching on a piece of leaf below the nest. They had at least one representative staying back to greet me with good-bye.

It tried to tell me some stories about the past events: how brave its siblings were to perform their first flight, yet on the other way round, how funny they were to dive down instead of going up during the initial trial.

"Really? They had to keep hopping and diving for the whole afternoon before making their successful maiden flight."

"Ha-ha, you will have yours too."

The good thing about the parent leaving the nest at night was that I enjoyed a dialogue with the baby without any disturbance, but who were going to take care of this little one for the whole night? Many of my neighbours' cats were wandering around. They never catch rats, but might fool around with this little one.

So I decided to bring it back to the nest. Though refused to go inside, it was at least safer at this height.

The next day would be my rest day. See you in the early morning. Just wait for me. Good night.

Friday, May 21, 2010

My Guests, A Tailor bird Family (Part IV)

It was 7:33AM, fourteenth of May, six days after the baby birds were first seen eagerly asking for food.

They were fully feathered and resembled a rat from the back, they were "ratty" by now. Though still opened their mouth and kept asking for food, they were ready for their first flight; from an egg, to a tiny nest, and now their world would be sky high.

"Come on, why are you looking at me like that? Am I wrong?"

But then using my simple mathematics, no matter which way I looked, I realised I could count only two. One had already gone flying in the wild, the eye of that baby bird should have told me. The day before must have recorded the end of my day with one of the baby Tailorbirds.

And both of them might disappear at anytime before I returned home from work.

What would happen to any one of them during the next few hours?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Guests, A Tailor bird Family (Part III)

This high pitch calling of the tailorbird which had already lingered for more than two weeks was so obvious to me now, so much so that I could tell where they were the moment I woke up. And because of the calling, I did not have any problem to spot them wherever they were, the only problem was to put them into pictures because they were sometimes too far away from me.

I was at my car porch when the tailorbird was calling in my neighbor’s garden. Both of us struggled. It struggled because I was assumed to be a threat on its way to the nest. I struggled as whether to leave it alone or not.

Then came the male who could not help to break the deadlock too; though both sexes are very identical, the male Tailorbird has a long central tail feather which I had a hard time to identify, but I strongly believed that it was a male. And
Ann, I am sure the male tailorbird is never like some of us: go gallivanting when he is needed at home. He does take turn to feed the baby birds.

The chicks enjoyed a variety of food that includes caterpillars, grasshoppers, bugs and so on. I do not know whether to feel proud about this: my neighbourhood is full of all these.

“Please go away”.

“Yes, I am done. I am leaving now”.

“See you.”

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Guests, A Tailor bird Family (Part II)

When I was surprised in the morning of 09-May, I then knew this incubation period is equal to about 14 days. Two weeks may be short, but it is enough to transform the eggs with a golden-heart into something that talk, that fly, and that have passion.


The Tailorbird was always too cautious, and the quick "cheup, cheup, cheup" was loud and sharp to drop the preys in the beak repeatedly. I thus decided to hide myself behind my car for our mutual benefits: it could feed the chicks and I could take pictures.

Every time it came back, it took time to keep a lookout from a distance, and then got nearer, and nearer, before perching in front of the nest. The feeding was as fast as one to two seconds, and the cycle repeated.

The chicks might think that I could provide them some food, instead it was they who provided me with more excitement. They raised their mouth so high until the tiny neck was fully stretched. Their eyes were opened so big as to start learning who was good and who was bad at this very first moment.

The hatching success rate was three out of four, and the young birds would be in full-fledged in about 14 days. They would not check-out or return any key to me. I merely needed to pay more attention to every single progress daily.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Guests, A Tailor bird Family (Part I)

Shhhh..... How joyful they must be when a tailor bird family thought a free stay at my house was guaranteed. This happened when we were not at home for one week during the end of April. They then built a nest on my 4 feet tall Lucky Bamboo tree. I am always a good guy who shall never order a court summons. But we are then being disturbed by each other, and this made my life a little bit busier, busy at observing them.


When we were home the first day, four little green eggs have been laid in the nest. It is a 12cm deep, and 5cm diameter cup-shaped nest. The narrow opening somehow means to keep most of their secret inside. I think they have done it for most of the time.

Tailor birds, by their name, are very good tailor. Leaves are pierced and fibre are drawn through them, just like how we do our stitching. Though someone had noted that the birds made knots, however no knots have been observed by me.

The female alone was found to incubate the eggs. The nest is so small and the mother had to squeeze herself and bent her tail upwards. I first thought the father had left since I had never seen him around, but I was wrong.

By the way, I am generous to offer them a free stay, and they offer me some interesting days in return.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It is Wednesday today

I thought of talking less in the mid of a hectic week, but these sprouting mushrooms invited me to talk and that I could not refuse.
I actually got myself closer to observe the big one only then I discovered the smaller mushrooms emerging from the wood. I needed to greet them a very good and fantastic day. They had gone through a very hard way; just imagine how impossible to push your head into the wood, but they had done it.

Can you see them? They were such a little charming creature wearing a deep orange shirt. Very sporty and energetic.

I needed hours to reply if each of these mushrooms talked to me. I needed lines to record down their names, but I was willing to do so. I always wish to hike after rainy nights in order to meet these beautiful little things.

I found no reason to talk less. It is Wednesday today and the blue Monday was long over.

Let’s say hi, and your single greeting to all of them is enough.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Night Earlier

I hiked this morning after a rainy night. I managed to have a record of the happening in the past few hours as time had shed an evidence behind.

The flying ants were all gone, back to where they were supposed to be.

Whatever have been done, there are always some traces we have left behind. I better watch out and talk less.

It is then a very short post for today, the first day of the week.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Tortoise

I had a quite strange morning today. I am not trying to exaggerate the actual happening, but it was really weird to see a tortoise walking (this is my term, it might be running) at Cerok Tokun. And don't tell me it raced all the way from the foot of Cerok Tokun, this is not a matter of a few hours; and where was the hare?

A stranger like this tortoise had not attracted the attention of many passers-by. It was alone when I spotted it far away. And it was still alone when I got nearer. It might be leaving one mountain and went searching for another.

"Hello, where do you stay?" It shrunk everything into the hard shell. By the way, I don't think it is fair to consider this as a timid response or being frightened before a danger? It must be too late to be a courageous person afterward when danger is at the tip of your nose.

And nonsense aside; It might be the awaken "sleeping turtle", and this must be a headline in the newspaper. How could I not be the first one to have discovered this? This made me running up the slope without much effort in order to confirm my hypothesis.

Sigh! It was still there sound asleep. I missed to be a hero. But it might come back faster than I was since it had the mysterious power. Didn't it?

Footnote: It is a Burmese Mountain Tortoise which is native to the mountainous regions of Southeast Asia. They are found in Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatera and Borneo.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Spider Story

Love them or hate them, spiders are no doubt some pretty impressive creatures that use the silk they produce in a number of different fantastic applications.

I saw two interesting spiders nearby a creek this morning. I actually thought of just sitting beside the creek, listening to the soothing calling of flowing water, and that’s all. I was then distracted again when the reflection of morning light from a cob web caught my attention.

Through viewfinder, I happened to see a spider drawing sticky silk with its leg while moving in a straight line manner. Nothing came into my mind at first. I was a bit cleverer later with the help of Google. This spider was either strengthening the thin thread until it was strong enough to support the rest of the web, or just like a mountain climber, it was building a safety line on which it could quickly backtrack if it got in trouble.

And.... did this spider fly, or walk down and up to bring the first thread to the other side? This had not been thought before, and I bet you are not much better than me. Does the question sound interesting? The simple fact is that a spider releases a sticky thread that is blown away with the wind. Wherever the silken line goes, the first bridge is formed.

Then, how was the second spider? Not far away from the hard working spider, the later seemed to live in a different world. Just like a hammock, this spider was lying on the web doing something that I had been doing. If I could magnify the picture further, you can see it was far more better than me: wearing a pair of sunglasses, putting on headphones and shaking its head and body while enjoying “We Will Rock You” by Queen. How cool it is to have done this on top of a creek.

Aren't lives in the wild full of fun and excitement?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Me and a Common Iora

I whistled, I jumped and I even waved my hand, but it never bothered to show me its full portrait. Birds are always as funny as us; sometimes they were too cautious and disappeared on the spot, but they treated me as though I was transparent at another time.

I was at the most twelve feet away from this Common Iora, and looking at my size it certainly believed this distance was very safe. No, no, I am wrong; it had never looked at me, it glimpsed at me.

I simply lost my ego in front of this small bird. Thinking of you my friends, I was still negotiating for a full portrait. My ego was then kept aside. But this would not help; as time was ticking away, I was still what I was: a silly dumbhead.

I whistled and waved good-bye while I was making my move, but I never looked back. It might not tease me because it was so cool. In the end we have to content ourselves with these few pictures.

Later part of the story:
Yen told in his blog that spider silks were used by this Common Iora in order to reinforce the structure of their nest.