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Sunday, 5 August 2012

Sunday morning, Badas

A new colleague, Kolbjorn, arrived recently in Brunei. Kolbjorn is a seasoned birdwatcher and so I invited him along on one of my weekend morning trips. The morning started of very promising; as soon as I was up I heard a brown boobook calling from somewhere near our garden. I picked up Kolbjorn at 06:10 and 20 minutes later we arrived at Badas. Badas is really nothing more than a pumping station that supplies water from the Belait river to treatment facilities in Seria and Sungai Liang. The area consists primarily of peat swamp forest.

KB road on a Sunday morning is typically the spot to be for many bird-cagers. In contrast Badas was nice and quiet this morning with not another human being in sight. Long-tailed parakeets were numerous as were the always present dollarbirds. No cinnamon-headed green pigeons this time, but we did see the usual little green pigeons and a lone female thick-billed. In total we recorded over 30 species. Nothing out of the ordinary, but a fair introduction to lowland birdwatching in Brunei.

A female blue-crowned hanging parrot allowed some good views. I even managed to get a little closer for a better picture. With a big tripod across your shoulder there is really no such thing as creeping closer, it is more a matter of crossing your fingers and hoping that the bird doesn't object to your presence. I did notice some grain-like particles hanging below the beak and eye. Stuck plant material or can these be parasites? Wondering if anyone has seen this before.

Female blue-crowned hanging parrot (Loriculus galgulus).
Female blue-crowned hanging parrot (Loriculus galgulus).
Note the little particles hanging from beak and face.
I was also reminded this morning that I really should work on my swiftlet and needletail identification skills... Driving back on the Badas road a dark morph changeable hawk eagle was using the power cable as a vantage point. The contrasting dark outer wingtips were very noticeable as the bird flew away.

Changeable hawk-eagle (Niseatus limnaeetus).
Changeable hawk-eagle (Niseatus limnaeetus).

There was another little surprise on the way back. Kolbjorn had already seen a green sandpiper earlier in the week and I had a glimpse of what looked like a common sandpiper a couple of days before. And now, while I was showing some of the grasslands around Seria from the car, Kolbjorn spotted two little waders in the ditch next to the road. When doubling back two wood sandpipers were confirmed. The migrants seem to be arriving early this year!

Folkert, 06/08/2012

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