21 August, 2010

Fly ‘Hakem’ Fly: Whiskered Treeswift

21st August 2010, Kemensah, Selangor

The tree where they nested was covered in new green leaves and the surrounding vegetation looked lush after  the spell of wet weather we’ve had.


The nest was still there but the swiftlet and the parent birds were nowhere to be seen._DSC0002

Later I saw  the parents flew to a nearby tree. Still no sign of the swiftlet. Had she fledge or had she become another casualty of our recent unsettled weather?

Dad  resting after  sallying for insects_DSC0019 Mom just looking on._DSC0018
Still no sign of the swiftlet….. I guess I will never know what had happened to her.

20 minutes had passed when I heard a faint but familiar sound coming from a Rambutan tree behind me, it’s the swiftlet! She had fledged and judging by the rather sluggish way she flew and a few aborted landings she must have fledged  quite recently, maybe yesterday or even today!_DSC0008
It’s a  male based on the barely visible rufous ear coverts.    Yes, …….. I will name thee ‘Hakem’.
He  flew onto a dead tree  up the slope
This was the last I  saw ‘Hakem’ when I lost sight of him after he flew further into the orchard. I waited  for another half an hour should  he return to the area…… no luck. Probably he just came  to say goodbye. 


In conclusion, the chick fledged after   27-30 days ( my best estimates). Thanks for briefly letting me into their lives,  at least there’s a happy ending to this story.

Adios Amigos.   

( Previous post of the chick)

15 August, 2010

Chick’s Progress 3 : Whiskered Treeswift

14th August 2010, Kemensah, Selangor

We had   heavy thunderstorms and extremely strong winds yesterday. Picked up the morning paper and the headline was ‘ 3 killed  at Ramadhan Bazaar in Jasin, Melaka’  when the temporary structures were carried away by the strong wind-so sad to learn about the tragic loss of lives.

I was anxious to find out how the Treeswifts fared after the thunderstorm. When I arrived at the nest I saw that the tree had sprouted new shoots/ leaves so I couldn’t immediately spot the chick.  A long sigh of relief  when I saw the chick basking and spreading her wings in the early morning sunshine. Phew……

( Previous post of the chick)


It was day 20 from when the chick was first sighted (25th July 2010). I think she could be  23 days old today. The white head stripes were clearly visible and she now looked like a ‘mini’ whiskered treeswift. My feeling is that the chick could be a ‘ he’.



Judging by the progress I think the chick should fledge in about a week, I certainly hope so!  I only have until 25th August before going  on a long leave.


This would make a good Father’s Day card. _DSC0356


Any suggestions on the names? I was thinking ‘Hakem’ for a male and ‘Esah’ if it’s a female – she’s from Kemensah!



I caught Dad dozing off a few times and was startled when he was  about to  lose his balance  and fall off the tree!  Raising a young is no easy task, it takes a heavy toll on your body.



Working those newly developed wing muscles. It wont be long now before those muscles will have to function for real.



Notes: I didn’t know that I had more ‘reach’ stored in my camera bag than  I had realized. My old Kenko 1.4x TC had some problems with the contacts and I had replaced it with the Nikkor 14EII. It looked ridiculous at first when I tried putting the two TCs together on the 300mm f4 lens but I was surprised that I now have  an 882mm reach ( D90 1.5x crop) with  full  working electronics and autofocus , WoW!. You can do this with Kenko TC since the front glass element does not protrude  and touch the rear elements of the Nikkor TC. Image quality is definitely better than the manual 2x TC which I had  used previously and having the autofocus helps tremendously.

10 August, 2010

Happy Couple: Rufous Woodpecker

7th August 2010, Kemensah, Selangor

A pair of Rufous Woodpecker were foraging on the lower branches of a Jack-fruit tree. Both male and female look almost similar except for the red cheek patch on the male.

The male


The female




09 August, 2010

The Real ‘BIRD’S NEST’ : Baya Weaver

7th August 2010, Kemensah, Selangor

It’s breeding season for the Baya Weavers. This male with a yellow crown  is busy weaving  his  nest – no architect, no blueprints needed to build such an intricate hanging structure, it’s all imprinted in the genes.




08 August, 2010

Pre-flight Testing : Whiskered Treeswift’s Chick

7th August 2010, Kemensah, Selangor

She’s still not in shape to fly but it was interesting to see that the chick was already  trying out the new wings- a few quick flaps  followed by a period of rest.   ( Previous post of the chick)












07 August, 2010

Chick’s Progress 2: Whiskered Treeswift

7th August 2010, Kemensah, Selangor

The sky was overcast and it looked like rain was coming. Although the lighting was poor, I was determined to make my way to the nest to see how the chick was doing.  ( Previous post of the chick)

My heart dropped when I looked through the camera and saw this,’where’s the chick’?  Later I spotted some movements at the belly of the  male adult bird. _DSC0012

What a relief when I saw   the chick as soon as the parent bird flew from the nest. She looked so different from a week ago as more feathers grew. She had outgrown the nest which  had been left unmaintained by the parent birds._DSC0172


Mom  came back to continue shielding the chick from the elements.



04 August, 2010

The Young One: Yellow-Bellied Prinia

1st August 2010, Kemensah, Selangor

When I first saw her I said to myself ‘ This warbler sure has  a long tail’ but the tail looked like that of a Prinia. After a bit of research I now know that she’s a juvenile female  Yellow-Bellied Prinia. ( the adult bird for comparison)


02 August, 2010

Chick’s Progress 1: Whiskered Treeswift

1st August 2010, Kemensah, Selangor

The chick had grown considerably in size over the last 8 days and quite active, moving around on the nest. Although I didn’t see the parent birds feeding  the chick when I was there , I knew they must be feeding her as required. I noticed that the parents had started leaving the chick unattended for longer periods (about 20 minutes ), preening themselves on a nearby tree. ( previous post on the chick)


No longer blind, she had begun moving her wings.







Notes: Tried using an old manual 2X Nikkor Teleconverter on the 300mm f4 lens to see if I could get better details of the chick. It is not a setup that I would normally consider since you lose 2 f stops with the 2X TC but knowing the subjects would be under bright sunshine I thought I’d give it a go. All settings and focusing had to be done manually. Getting a fast enough shutter speed to freeze motion was still a struggle.