Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's hard to swallow



(December 11th. HTT) Weather-wise things have warmed up a little, this morning it was 14c at 7am. Bird-wise things were also pretty good with 56 species seen and 10 identified by call.
We always have a few Wire-tailed Swallows in the area and there are usually two that seem to like the octagonal’Sala’ that sticks out into the lake. Their problem is that every year they fly under the sala, with mud in their beaks, to build a nest and yet I have watched them, year after year, give up before the nest is built or at least before any young are produced. Today two were sitting on the wooden pier and then one at a time they would make an exploratory flight under the sala. ‘The Book’ says thet they breed between January and November and I have watched them throughout December at least making these exploratory flights, so let’s assume that they nest all year round and they need to if those two are any example. (photo above was taken with a digital camera through the lense of my telescope)
The large fruiting tree that I mentioned last time was full of Coppersmith Barbets (20+), plus 2 Lineated Barbets and as we arrived 15+ Thick-billed Pigeons flew out, a very pleasant surprise!
The Red-wattled Lapwings that had remained hidden in the growing rice for the last few months had their concealment harvested away and there were 30 or so left standing stock-still in the stubble trying to act as if they weren’t there. They did a pretty good job of it because, at first glance the field appeared to be empty, then I picked out one and eventually realised the field was full of them.
A small flock of Blue Magpies drew my attention as they churred and chattered away, it was their alarm call. They took no notice of me and continued to flutter from branch to branch in a fairly big tree. Suddenly a big ginger tom cat sprang from the lower branches and sprinted off into the undergrowth.
Another favourite tree of mine is what I call my ‘Breakfast Tree’, I sit there sipping my cream of something soup and just wait. Today it produced a flock of Japanese White-eyes, 2 Golden-fronted Leafbirds, a Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, a Grey-headed Flycatcher making itself obvious with its aerial a acrobatices, usually from the lower branches of the tree and an assortment of Bulbuls.

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