Sunday, June 25, 2006

Hornbill sighting of the unnatural kind

The picture does say it all doesn't it? U can hardly argue with domestication of dogs, cats, chickens as pets. For dogs, u have to walk them to keep them happy with activity. But I can hardly imagine any sort of activity (mental/physical) that will keep these two happy to be caged up. For me the joy of observing any animal is watch its behaviour in relation to its environment i.e. bird behaviour described in the BES blog, heck even a cat stalking a house gecko is visually more entertaining than a caged hornbill with no stimulation.
The keeping of rare/exotic pets/plants is certainly a problem that can't be solved overnight. Especially when there is no overwhelming impetus for the local authorities to stem the problem. I have heard stories even of biologists guilty of such things. Things like these makes you reflect on the human condition and suddenly you are not amazed at why the world is in a mess.

here's the rest of the original post from Joseph Lai.
"I cannot begin to describe how heavy my heart felt recently when I found two huge Blyth's Hornbills being crammed into a tiny cage and put on sale at Chua's Pet Trading in Hougang. If there is any proverbial cupboard where skeletons are to be found in 'First World' Singapore, Hougang is one. It's the 'Guantanamo Bay' of Singapore... and freedom is taken away for no other crime than being 'wild and exotic' birds.

What else can I say?
: (

Beyond what I have just wrote, how do I begin to describe the intimacy with which our own freedom are tied to theirs? I am truly lost for words.

However, let me share this photo (right), and invite you to step back in time with me and witness how insistent the hornbills were at biting the cold hard wire
of the cage. They just want to be free; as free as all wild birds are born to be.

Would you, my dear sentient friends, share your thoughts and feelings with me too? I look forward to post them faithfully here. Thank you.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Banded Woodpecker @Fort Canning Park by Denosha

link to clubsnap post

haven't got much luck with woodpeckers myself. I wonder where these ppl keep finding them! ;p
Thanks to Denosha for graciously letting me post the pic here. Do visit for more shots!

1st record of Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu @Sentosa by Yury


With regards to the earlier id which was wrong this is actually the rare Buffy Fish Owl Ketupa ketupu. Great Catch Yury! And according to Subaraj, this is a first species record for that island!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Paradise Tree Snake Chrysopelea paradisi @ Sungei Buloh by

Wow its just lying on the boardwalk! Lucky chap.. of course he could be luckier and actually spot it 'flying' ... (Yups this snake is able to flatten its body and glide through the air!)
"The Paradise Tree Snake is considered by some to be rare, however in Singapore it is commonly encountered in a variety of habitats including mangrove, secondary forest, and parks and gardens. "

p.s. read on the thread about another blog on Singapore Snakes

Snakes of Southeast Asia : Paradise Tree Snake - Chrysopelea paradisi

Flying Snake Home Page by Jake Socha, University of Chicago: frequently asked questions on the species, quick-time video clips of their flight, photos, maps of their distribution, taxonomic details

Woodpeckers Common Flameback Dinopium javanense) @ Pasir Ris Park, Holland by Nur Bin Muhammad and hiker

A thread in clubsnap with quite a few woodpecker shots
There's one pic of a woodpecker pecking at its reflection in a mirror. Here's a funny report on the damage that it can do (non-ecologically speaking).It's  probably trying to fend off rivals, but I didn't expect females to do it as well. Doing a search on the topic made me realise I was wrong,

Bagworm renovating its bag, photos & write up by Adrian Wee

This is a mystery solved for me. For ages I have wondered what creature hides within this clump of twigs, being the morally inclined naturalist, i was reluctant to pry the home open to appease my curiosity.  But now I know!

here's a passage from the excellent writeup
"Bagworms are a group of highly specialized lepidopterans belonging to the family Psychidae and exhibit extreme development of sexual dimorphism. Males are winged whereas females lack functional appendages. Larvae of both males and females, soon after hatching from the eggs climb up to the top of their host plants in order to have an access to the soft and palatable tips of the growing shoots. They construct a small but tough bag of silk of either cylindrical or conical shape and glue small fragments of plant tissues around their cases. Larvae always keep their body inside the cases. While moving about, their head and thorax are protruded out so that they move forward on their thoracic legs dragging the case behind them, which is gripped by hooks on the abdominal prolegs. When taking rest, the rims of the cases remain attached to a twig by means of silken thread so that the cases hang vertically with both their openings remaining closed."

Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis by Foo Sai Khoon

Excellent writeup with great pics to boot! No mention of locality where he spotted this one but he does mention where u can see them

here's a preview of his writeup
"Nightjars are birds of legend. In the 17th century Britain, nightjars are thought to be "goatsucker" as people really believed that nightjars visited goats at night and drank their milk! Incidentally, Caprimulgus is a latin word for goatsucker. So you can imagine there are calls for action and cries for the creature blood. But none of the frightened crowd volunteers to venture out into the night ……
In south-eastern parts of USA, it was once thought that the number of times a Whip-poor-will (related to nightjar) sang in succession indicated the number of years it would be before a man married.
In Sulawesi, the Satanic or Diabolical Nightjar (Eurostopodus diabolicus) was named because of the belief that the call it made by night was the sound of it pulling out people eyes!"

p.s. sorry for the long break in posting i shall endeavour to post more frequently!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Defensive Colugo mother spotted by Daniel Koh


A mother colugo and her baby shot by hiker from clubsnap. If you are wondering why a colugo needs to fear Homo sapiens you can read it here. The joy of a chance meeting in the reserves with a wild animal is indescribable. To be able to take pictures of them and show others takes the enjoyment of nature up a notch. The mildest word i can think of to use on poachers that choose to take away all these from us is SELFISH. The stronger words I shall reserve.

Thanks to Daniel for graciously providing me with the images!