13 October 2011

Jewel-Thrush Eulogy...BORNEO (7 Oct)




Well with just a few hours left before we sped out of Sukau Lodge along the Kinabatangan River by boat I opted to go after the jewel in the lodge's crown: Black-and-crimson Pitta (formerly considered a race of Garnet Pitta that it has now been split from, which is also known as Black-headed Pitta). An Asian beauty if ever there was one, and available just yards from our rooms. Indeed, we had only just got onto the boardwalk when the soft whistles of this purple, scarlet, and electric blue dream were heard emanating from the damp leaf litter. After a couple of brief and tantalizing looks the bird hopped onto a log and turned this way and that allowing us to view every inch of its perfect plumage. Pittas used to be known as jewel-thrushes, and I am sad to say this term is not used much these days, although feel it should be, as it describes them perfectly: like thrushes made out of precious gems!

We have racked up 7 species on our journey through Malaysia, each and every one of them as precious as this Bornean endemic species...

6 comments:

Waderworld said...

That title photo really has to be the best blog title photo I have seen so far. Nice one and totally gripped!

Jaffa said...

ok, ok, you have my attention now! Where did you get that cracking shot Mr Woods - Not in Borneo I think!

Waderworld said...

The Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) found on Sumatra and Borneo is genetically distinct and considered a separate species and is considered by some to be the best looking of all Clouded Leopards! I keep going back to look at this picture Sam!...

Sam Woods said...

Now that I have your atention Jaffa. Yes the animal was in Borneo, at Borneo Rainforest Lodge. This is the best Asian lodge by a long way. They now have rangers searching for animals and radioing when something is sighted. On this day the ranger spotted the Sunda Clouded Leopard trying to snatch a gibbon (and failing of course due to their extreme agility). We were far away but got the radio message and virtually ran the whole way. We were last on the scene, and last to leave. All the lodge guests that day got to see it, as it slept in a tree for 4 hours before descending, having a quick pop at the watching ranger, and promptly disappeared. We were lucky, VERY, VERY lucky, and the morning after a Western Tarsier too!

John said...

Back to "Jewel Thrushes"..... great shots.

Sam Woods said...

Don't worry John, there is another rather special "jewel-thrush" to come from Borneo...