Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012: Lifer Number 1 & 2

Mangrove Pitta: My second lifer for 2012

Rarely seen Mangrove Pitta ushers in 2012
Pasir Ris Park, Singapore, January 3, 2012

Hearing that a Blue-winged Pitta was recently spotted at this park, I decided to restart my birding activity for the new year. I had laid off from this hobby for two years.

Upon arriving at the park, I saw no photographers at the said site. Instead, I saw a gathering of Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus) foraging on the leafy banks of Sungei Api Api. Though it is an endemic bird, this bird is a lifer and the first one for me in this new year. What a resplendent bird to usher in 2012.

Suddenly, a photographer appeared and I asked if he was waiting for the Blue-winged Pitta. He said it has not been seen for some days. Then he very kindly offered the information that there's a Mangrove Pitta (Pitta magarhyncha) at the nearby broadwalk that runs through the mangove trees - and it's very rarely seen. He even took me to see it despite having already photographed the bird. What a very kind man and I thank God for bringing him to me. I only know he calls himself Peter. So thank you so very much.

Red Jungle Fowl
While walking to see the Pitta, Peter acquainted me with the fact that this bird feeds on small crabs and shellfish; it has a thicker pair of beaks to crack the shells of these crustaceans. Hence, it hangs around the mangroves. Wow, talk about sharing information on the trot.

About eight photographers were gathered at this quiet spot. The tide was low and there was no water covering the mangrove roots. A small green-brown bird with indigo wing and tail feathers, a reddish under rump and white chin was perched quietly and unmoving on a mangrove tree root. It was definitely heaven-sent because I am very bad at capturing birds on the move with my camera. And it was standing some three metres away. As it was past 5 p.m. and light was fast fading, I viewed the bird through my binoculars and took whatever photos I could.

The Mangrove Pitta is my second lifer for the new year, and having two lifers in one day is more than what I can ever hope for. Needless to say, I am so very happy. One photographer said he had been to Pulau Ubin, where this Pitta is said to exist, for so many years and never ever spotted it. And to see it on my first try is therefore beyond my wildest dreams.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.



All Wild said...

So nice, beautiful Mangrove Pitta, glad you have seen it, I saw it in Penang in 2009, great you got that. The red Jungle Fowl is very rare now, hardly see them.

All Wild said...

where is Pasir Ris Park, have I been there?

Unknown said...

I don't think you have been to the Pasir Ris Park, well, certainly not with me. It is at the end of the East-West MRT line (Pasir Ris station) and then another 10 min walk into the park. I will take you there the next time you are here. But whether there are nice birds to see or not by that time, it will depend on your luck.

And thank you for you kind comments. I will be uploading new pitta photos taken on my second visit. I think these photos are better in terms of quality and angles.