Monday, October 27, 2008

23rd October 2008, Poring Hot Springs, Sabah

I made the 45 minutes or so drive from the Park HQ down to Poring Hot Springs, arriving at first light, in the hope of seeing the Blue-banded Pitta that had been seen the previous day by Jason Bugay Reyes and Troy Shortell.

At first light, a few Waterfall Swifts were flying over the car park, but my camera steamed up because of the change in humidity and temperature from higher up the mountain, so I wasn't able to get any pictures, and they cleared off as soon as it became properly light.

This enormous beetle was lying dead at the entrance; not sure what species it is.

I took the trail to the Langanan Waterfall, encountering a good selection of forest species as I did so. White-tailed Flycatchers seemed to be singing everywhere, but were extremely difficult to see.

At the ridge above the bat caves I heard two pittas calling, so sat down and tried to whistle them in. After about 45 minutes, I was rewarded by the sight of both birds hopping onto the trail in the ravine below me.

This could be the worst ever picture of Blue-banded Pitta, but perhaps the only one ever taken of two birds together! A better idea of what they look like can be found here.

While waiting for the pittas, this juv Dark-throated Oriole came to check me out.

Just above the ridge where I'd seen the Blue-banded Pittas, a Banded Pitta - the distinctive Bornean race - hopped up the trail in front of me.

A fruiting tree produced this Gold-whiskered Barbet - much brighter than Peninsular birds - but sadly, no sign of Hose's Broadbill.

On my way down the trail, I stopped to wait for the pittas again, but they were calling distantly and did not respond. Their absence was partly made up for by the presence of an extremely confiding female Rufous-collared Kingfisher.

The bird was clearly conscious of my presence, but appeared not to see me as a threat. I watched it for 2 hours at distances down to 10 feet!

I've managed to photograph males several times before, but this is the first time I've had chance to photograph the female. I think the scales on her back make her more attractive than the male.

Her strike rate wasn't that impressive. In two hours I saw her catch just two prey items - this caterpillar and a centipede.

I noticed that she herself was being 'preyed on' - by flies that appeared to be feeding on her eyes - yuck!

I wondered if she might have a go at this lizard, but in the end, she didn't see it.

Having such a long time to observe the bird, I experimented with different focal lengths. This was at 100mm, and I quite like the effect.

Time for a bit of a preen.

This was her reaction when a Crested Serpent Eagle was calling overhead. It reminded me of this

A final portrait of the Lovely Lady of Poring!

1 comment:

Jason Bugay Reyes said...

hahaha nice series dave hope we can get better pictures of the blue-banded pitta next time :)