Friday, September 01, 2006

Mae Hia - 1st. September

Returnees and bird nesting (or not) at Mae Hia

Asian Barred Owlet - by Yurie Ball

I still get a good feeling when I spot my first returnee of a migrant species. This morning (1st. September) it was the turn of the Little-ringed Plover (6) and the Stonechat (1) to give me that feeling. There has also been a greater influx of the Chinese Pond-Heron, fifteen of them rose from a rice paddy as I blundered by, blundered because last night the heavens had opened up and I was up to my ankles in mud and water. I wasn’t even in the flooded fields the water had just overflowed from those fields into the surrounding area. Another returnee spotted the other day was a Forest Wagtail. This one is a passage migrant and only passes through this area to winter farther south. Although it’s called a wagtail it is obviously not happy with the limitations of its name, it wags its whole body, not up and down but from side to side, quite comical.

I really think that the Baya Weavers have abandoned all those ten finished and half finished nests I mentioned before, there has been no sign of activity for the last five days. The other nest I mentioned of the Olive-backed Sunbird that also seems to have gone the same way. I don’t know what the failure rate in nest building is but I have seen nests of the Common Tailorbird where the tailoring was not so good. Sometimes the ‘sewing’ of the leaves together has succeeded right up till the last moment and then the weight of the material inside has proven too heavy and has fallen out of the bottom. That seems to happen more when the tailorbird sews two leaves together, the success rate is higher when they fold one leaf over.

At the moment there are three young Asian Barred Owlets that sit in the same tree every morning as I pass by. If they are not there all I have to do is give a bad imitation of their hooting call and they all come out onto a bare branch and give me a thorough scrutiny. They jerk their heads forward, eyes big and wide, sometimes they bob or push their heads from side to side. A most amusing performance and then when we have had enough they fly back into the safety of the leaves and I go on to my next spot. (If you want to see a nastier side of me visit my other blogsite


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