Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Nesting - above and below water

Ashy Wood-Swallows nesting

(April 2nd HTT) A cool start to the morning for this time of the year at 19c but it soon warmed up. The density of the smog has declined which is very welcome but a large plume of smoke was seen erupting from the top of Doi Suthep, someone’s not listening!
The Common Ioras are getting excited and their downy white rump feathers were in full display. It seems that they were all doing it so both male and females get excited.
Heard the fruity/fluty whistle of the Black-throated Laughingthrush, this must be one of the best songsters, if it can be called that, I have heard, it’s variety and richness is amazing.
Got a good view of the Large Hawk-Cuckoo, it really does look like a hawk in flight.
Six different Chinese Francolins heard calling from all points of the compass, it’s a harsh and grating ‘ti tat taak ta taa>’ . If you get close to this bird you might also hear a softer buk haw haw between the main call.

(April 3rd HTT) Again a cold morning for this time of year at 19c. The smog which seemed to have cleared yesterday came back with a vengeance today.
A Violet Cuckoo presented itself this morning, quite tame no skulking for this bird. It showed as much interest in us as it did in feeding, later on I heard its distinctive shee wiz call.
Two Little Herons, again, were seen sitting on tree stumps in the lake , in close proximity, both were leaning down and were prepared to dive if a fish strayed into their immediate area. Unfortunately no fish came within their reach so I didn’t actually see them dive. While they were waiting a Little Egret flew slowly overhead.
Two Ashy Wood-Swallows (Artamus fuscus) were watched as they built a rather flimsy nest, they each kept diving on me as the other continued building the nest. The ‘Swallow’ in the name is misleading as they are not swallows at all, not even related. They are of the family Artamidae as opposed to the true swallows Hirundinidae. I could write a book on bird misnomers!

Fish nesting
This next item is not about birds but it is about nests. These were fish nests and they were made by sucking the sand and spitting it out at the perimeter of the nest. They then dug smaller holes within the larger one, the photo shows the result. Today I saw one that had produced young and, boy, had they produced young, there were literally hundreds of them, each little bigger than a grain of sand. The two parent fish, one on either side of this cloud, kept other would-be diners away.


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