I took Andy Adcock to Ulu Paip today in search of kingfishers - particularly Rufous-collared and Blue-banded.
The Rufous-collared was a no-show, but a female Blue-banded put in an appearance sitting on a rock in midstream.
Here's one I prepared earlier - A female Blue-banded Kingfisher at Ulu Paip in 2006.
Also at the stream we saw a very attractive lizard, which I think may be Great Anglehead Lizard (Gonocephalus grandis). This pic was also taken in 2006. Correction or confirmation appreciated!
Moving on from the forest to the nearby orchards, we heard at least 4 Blue-winged Pittas calling, 2 of which we saw.
Not quite a partridge in a pear tree - more a pitta in a mango tree!
A brief sortie to the Little Buttonquail site was thwarted by the heavens opening, so we moved to a pratincole breeding colony near Penanti. The pratincoles seem to have finished breeding, but several pairs of Blue-throated Bee-eaters seemed to be prospecting potential nesting holes.
By the dirt on the end of this one's bill, I'd say it has been excavating!
As we drove across to the pratincole area, we came across this Clouded Monitor right out in the open. We wondered if it was scouting for pratincole chicks. The long pink tongue (as opposed to grey) is one way to distinguish this species from the commoner Water Monitor.
Check out those fearsome claws! From the dirt on its face, it looks as though this has been digging too.
At this point Andy had a brainstorm and decided he would like to catch this beast! We cornered it in a crevice, where, after much tail-lashing, hissing and attempts to bite us, the animal was finally secured by throwing a bit of sacking over it.
Andy with his prize!
At this point, the monitor changed tactics and decided to play dead. Even after we released it, it lay limp and apparently lifeless.
This enabled me to get some close-ups of the other distinguishing feature - the slit-shaped nostril located halfway between the eye and tip of the snout.
Later on it miraculously recovered and went on its way none the worse for its experience, presumably feeling smug about having fooled us into leaving it alone.
Later on we came across a number of Butterfly Lizards. With Andy still in 'Brady Barr' mode, this one wisely decided not to stray far from its burrow! This was turning into a good reptile day!
A couple of birds to finish off with.
A shot of a Paddyfield Pipit, just to show that they don't always look buffy on the flanks or have dark lores. This bird called just like a typical Paddyfield.
And this one is just begging for a caption! "I really put my foot in it!" perhaps?