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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Happy birds---Red-whiskered Bulbuls enjoying papayas

The papayas in my garden are ripening again. Once they are ripe, the papayas are soft enough for the birds to peck through. Since the  papayas are very sweet, they are the favourite food of the local birds such as Magpies and Red-whiskered Bulbuls. 
Recently, my papaya trees have been attracting dozens of Red-whiskered Bulbuls. They have been having a very good time in the garden lately and it is a joy to watch. 

Eating papayas is not an easy job for the birds because the fruit grows on the tree trunk. So there is not much that the birds can stand on.  Occasionally, they can find a dead leaf stem close enough to a papaya.

Most of the time, the dead leaf stem is either too far away or there is nothing to hang on to. That is when the fun begins. However, no matter how difficult the situation is, these clever birds can always find a way to get the papayas. 

The most fascinating moment is when they try to eat papayas in the air.

Being over 30g in weight and 20cm long, it is almost an impossible thing to do. But it does not stop them from trying. I guess the papayas must be too delicious for them to give up.  

Thursday, 23 September 2010

A Barn Swallow family (3)

   The little swallows became much quieter while they were getting bigger everyday. By now, just over a week after I first saw them, they only “screamed” when they heard their parents coming back (rather than the constant screaming of the first week).  They looked more and more like adult swallows and very cute too.

Now the biggest nestling was often seen flashing its wings. I guess it was getting ready to take its first flight.

One of them was much smaller than its siblings (Below on the left).

This was the last time I saw four of them together, 10 days after I first saw them. The nest seemed too crowded for them.

The following day, there was only one left in the nest. I guess the 3 bigger siblings must have flown away leaving the youngest behind.
However, the parents still came back regularly to feed it. But the little thing looked so frightened being alone, so I did not stay for long to take more photos. Next day, the nest was empty. I guess it must have flown away to join its brothers and sisters.  

In the following days, when I went out for walks in the evening, I noticed several young swallows flying around my neighbourhood catching insects. I wonder if they were the same family.  I wish them all the best and a safe journey back home somewhere in South Asia.   Hopefully I will see them again next year.

 These were the last few feeding photos before the little ones flew away. I am missing them already!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

A Barn Swallow family (2)

The little swallows grew very fast. I went to see them every couple of days. Within a few days,  their feathers were beginning to sprout, actually they were starting to show the appearance of the adult swallow by the end of the week.  

But they were as noisy as ever. I guess the competition for food made them aggressively loud. It was so fascinating to watch.

Feeding a family of 4 swallows was no easy task. The parents came back and forth with delicious insects every few minutes in the summer heat (usually over 30 degree C) . Unlike the Red-whiskered Bulbul, the swallow is one of the very few birds which is able to feed in mid air. So the feeding is very quick and usually takes a few seconds. It is ever so difficult  to capture especially when the lighting is not ideal. Anyway, I managed to get several poor quality photos.