Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When the angels come trumpeting in

Flower buds of the Angel's Trumpet (Randia macrantha)
Family : Rubiaceae - Coffee family

 Last night the angels came trumpeting in.  There was music and perfume in the air as they open up their pure white petals.  This morning I saw at least ten more flower buds that are ready to bloom.  But patience.  It is fashionable among the angels to reveal themselves around midnight when the air is still and fresh.  That will be the best time for them to exude their romantic fragrance.  Guess I'll be waiting for the angels tonight!
Sometimes referred to as Euclinia longiflora - the Angel's Trumpet
Location : Zone C

( Note: There is another flowering shrub that is also commonly called Angel's Trumpet i.e. Datura suaveolens but belongs to the Solanaceae family - Tomato family)

Beautiful butterflies

Palm King

Blue Glassy Tiger

Common Cruiser

Lime Butterfly
The above are the butterflies seen around the park during the last five days (25 Oct- 29Oct).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Early to walk, eager to work

Plantain squirrel scavenging for insects

Nimbled by squirrel
 Went about the park early.  The morning seemed cloudy and hopefully there'll be no rain, not before the harvesting of the fresh fruit bunches are done with.  A Plantain squirrel was busily hunting for insects at the very end of the branches.  On ground level some ripe fruits of the oil palm bore marks of being eaten by the squirrel.  The main produce of the park that helps to sustain its operation are these oil palm fruits.  Today is harvesting day and the ffb will need to be exported to the wholesale buyers or middlemen buyers later in the day.  At ramp price (i.e. the collecting/buying center) the price per ton is about RM 300 currently.  Before starting work  I stumbled upon a Blue Glassy Tiger when walking through the Botanic Island One....The day is gonna be a fruitful one...hopefully.
Close-up of the oil palm fruit

Blue Glassy Tiger

Walk in Botanic Island One

Oil palm fresh fruit bunches (ffb)

Butterfly in the park - Common Cruiser (Vindula erota)

Common Cruiser - Vindula erota

Photoshoot session with the Little Spiderhunter

Photoshoot session on 28 Oct'14
Model : little Spiderhunter
Location : Zone B, Kambatik Park, Bintulu.
Camera -  Nikon D5100

Pick of the park - Candlestick Cassia

Candlestick Cassia - Cassia alata
Syn : Senna alata
Location : Provinsi Carpentaria, Zone F

 This plant does not need maintenance at all.  Preferring to survive on damp areas.  For that reason I grow them along the stream and flood prone areas of the park especially at Zone F, near Provinsi Carpentaria. The flowers are yellow and before they see the sun are enclosed in orange bracts.  This plant can be easily grown by seeds and the germination rate is almost 90%.  Best grown in a mixed border arrangement but make sure to provide shirting of lower shrubs or other cover plants  to avoid showing the leggy lower parts of its stem.  The leaves are used in traditional medicine as cure for ringworm and other skin diseases.
Candlestick Cassia or 'Serugan' in Iban  - Cassia alata
Family : Leguminosae - Bean family

Monday, October 27, 2014

Photoshooting the Eastern Crimson Sunbird

Eastern Crimson Sunbird - Kelicap Sepah Raja (Malay) at the Chinese Hat Plant (Holmskioldia sanguinea)

 The Eastern Crimson Sunbird lives in the forest area of the park.  Everyday it would come out of the forest cover to the open garden areas of the park.  Searching for nectar at the Chinese Hat Plant (Holmskioldia sanguinea) and the many varieties of Heliconias seems to be its hobby.  Today it decided to hangout at the Chinese Hat Plant giving me an exclusive photoshoot session.  On close-up its interesting to note its dark-blue forehead and forecrown.  The most colourful part of the bird is the red colour of its head to back.  As is practically known it is the male of the species that has the crimson colour.

Note the dark metallic blue of its upper tail feathers.
Location : Zone C

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Rainy days and wet months ahead

 For the last three days, there has been occasional rain lasting for hours and hours on end.  Today (Sunday 26 Oct) it rained the whole day and evening.  I am more or less convinced that today's continuous rain marks the start of the monsoon season.  The park climate is typically equatorial with the heaviest rains and wettest months towards the end of the year.  This season of rains is called the "Landas" in Sarawak.  This phenomena is due to the North-East Monsoon winds (October to March)  that pick up the moisture and clouds from the open seas of the South China Sea and bring forth the heaviest rainfall between November to February to the coastal areas of Sarawak and Bintulu is not spared.  On top of it all, the forest cover at the park will make the nights even more colder and chilling to the bones during the above months.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bee-eater, flowerpeckers and a beautiful butterfly

 The Blue-throated Bee-eaters started their day early.  A small company of three dropped by at the Sunset point birding spot, near Licuala Hill (Zone I).   Battering the bees onto the branches before devouring them has been a familiar routine act.  Nearby the perch, among the dense lower storey foliage I saw a pair of Orange-bellied Flowerpecker flirting about the branches .  I managed to zoom in to the female of the species.  Going down the Licuala Hill slopes I encountered a brown Palm King butterfly.   The morning seemed fine and I thought I'm truly blessed with nature around me.

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker - female of the species
A beautiful brownish butterfly - Palm King ( Amathusia phidippus phiduppus)

View of the park, looking west from Zone A

Friday, October 24, 2014

Highlights today at the park - 24 Oct'14

Lime Butterfly at Yellow Ixora shrub
Zone C

Dark-sided Flycatcher
Zone B

Cream-vented Bulbul
Zone C

View of Provinsi Carpentaria
Zone F

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Habitually yours....

The Tiong at bottom of tree is in its nest.  Another Tiong above scouts the horizon...

Hill Myna
 Speak to me.  And they did.  Telling me to protect their environment.  I woke up early to witness the Tiongs starting to bring materials to their nest.  A long grass blade tugged safely in its beak.  One of the Tiongs (Hill Myna) started the morning chores while another broadcast their familiar whistle over the neighbourhood.  It's gonna be a good day and off they went to hunt for food further away their nest.  The Dark-sided Flycatcher  waited for me as if our early morning appointment was not to be missed.  She was again at her favourite spot the first time I stumbled upon her.  These feathered friends of the park gave me so much inspiration and impetus to make the park a sanctuary for wildlife.  I look forward to what the rest of the day will hold.....
The faithful Dark-sided Flycatcher
Zone B

Butterfly garden....hoping to see more butterflies from today onwards since the Eugenia oleina trees are starting to flower all over the park.
Location : Zone C

Bee-eaters beat them hard

A Blue-throated Bee-eater soaring high to snatch a bee in mid air, while others take moments of rest.
Location : Licuala Hill, Zone I
 It was a morning of bee-eaters.  A small group of them were seen perching at one of the tallest trees at Licuala Hill.  From this commanding perch they make short flights and return with bees in their beak.  They took brief moments of rest before going for another killer hunt.  At a nearby tree a Cuckoo shrike was also actively involved in hawking the bees.  Like the bee-eaters the solo Cuckoo shrike dived in mid air and then swiftly returned for safe landing on  the perch only to batter its prey.  After about 30 minutes of air show the small flock of bee-eaters flew away towards a southerly direction.
View of park from Licuala Hill, looking south
Blue-throated Bee-eater with prized catch of the morning

A Cuckoo-shrike morning breakfast of bees
Location : Licuala Hill, Zone I

Eugenia oleina trees are beginning to flower at the park..view from Licuala Hill