Friday 25 March 2016

A Photographer's Bad Hair Day

Walking along the quiet road at the edge of the rainforest, this little elusive bird dashed out of the scrubby bit and found itself on the ground. I knew this was the one I have been waiting to photograph for a long time. And very quickly, I shot click click. Three shots. Wait a minute. That clicking of the shutter didn't sound quite right. I looked at my camera's setting. Under Manual mode, the exposure time at 1/500, f5.6 and ISO 400. I pressed the review button immediately and after a quick glance at one of the image, I pushed the ISO number higher. Aimed my camera at that same spot and it was gone. AAAAAARRRrrrrrrrGgggHHhhhhhhhhhh!!!

This was my shot!! 
This is when life presents someone an opportunity and that someone screwed it up! Luckily, there is such a thing as "Second Chance". 

I was not pleased with myself at that moment and was so tempted to delete all those careless shots immediately. Wait a minute. Let's bring them on the computer and maybe there's hope. Using a photo editor to do some adjustments on the exposure, contrast and removing some noise, this is the final result of the image.
Female of an Emerald Dove
Emerald dove Chalcophaps indica is also known as Common Emerald Dove in some places. However, the Emerald doves in Langkawi are not common at all. They are very shy but they tend to come out of the scrub or secondary forest and wonder along the side of the road in quiet places. If you see it, you are in luck!

When things are screwed up for the first time, sometimes we are given a second chance. For this case, thanks to the technology of digital imaging and software!

Friday 18 March 2016

Bird Books

It took us close to two months for this package to arrive and it was worthwhile waiting for them. I was looking for some information in the internet on Great Hornbills and I saw these used books were on sale. Fortunately, Gary Ruben had an account with them and managed to assist me in ordering them online.

We thought they were lost somewhere in the Pacific Ocean and I was thinking of putting a new order from another supplier. Two days ago Gary sent me the good news on the package arrived in a good and dry condition. 

Eleven volume of Birds of the World / editorial adviser, Jason A. Mobley. There are stickers indicated they were discarded from the Children's Room of a library from the United States. They arrived in good condition though there have very little  creases on the cover of some of the volumes. Apart from that, they look new. Even though they were categorised as children's books, I find the contents have relevant information to aid my work, simple explanation,  easy to understand, entertaining with fun facts and superb images. 

The eleven volumes are now sitting with the some of my other books of my "mini library". There are two other bird books on this photo sitting next to each one. They are:

1. A Field Guide To The Waterbirds of Asia by Wildbird Society of Japan (A used book and in a very new condition) and 

2. Shorebirds of the Northern Hemisphere by Richard Chandler
I like to take this opportunity to thank Tom Reynolds for helping me to obtain these books on waders from the UK via online. I still have lots to practise on waders!

All the hassles with the bank ended up well. Thank you for your time and effort, Gary!

Special thanks to :
1. Mrs Lim Bing Yee for the black book sitting on the shelf , "Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names" by James Jobling and many other bird books.

2. Azmi Mohamed from Singapore for the red book sitting on the shelf, "Field Guide to Birds of South-East Asia" by Craig Robson.

3. Gary Ruben for the Birds of Prey book.

Note: These two books mentioned were given to me as a gift years ago and I wish to thank them again on my post here.

More bird books added on to my collection of natural history books ... Yay!!

Wednesday 2 March 2016

A Tribute to Bratty and Midi

I meant to post this story sometime ago and didn't get around to do it until now...

This is a love and hate relationship between a young male macaque, a young female dog and our neighbourhood. I like to dedicate this post to a young long-tailed macaque in this Year of the Monkey.

Early October 2015 - Bratty, a juvenile male long-tailed macaque Macaca fascicularis and Midi, a young female mongrel emerged out of nowhere and were always seen together nearby the community rubbish bin. What caught the attention of this neighbourhood and passer-bys were the actions between these two mammals which were considered as uncommon. We have always observed monkeys being chased by dogs most of the time. However, in the case of Bratty and Midi, they somehow developed an incredible friendship between each other. 

I named this macaque as Bratty for his cheeky, mischievous and playful behaviour. He was probably about 5-6 months old in October 2015. His other "play time" involved disturbing my dog, harassing cats, stealing food, ransacking things in nearby houses, making a mess on the altars, terrorising the children (yippee!!), as well as peeing and pooing at our front gates. He has zero fear of young dogs. In fact, most dogs feared Bratty. The larger dogs could not catch Bratty and would give up after a few chase. Because of his mischievous behaviour, the neighbourhood began to grow sick and tired of Bratty. Anyone who scolded Bratty would have "monkey face" shown back at them. Bratty would twitch his eyes repeatedly and moved his lips as if he was talking back. At the same time, Bratty would put his both hands on his penis and wank! Yes...Bratty the Wanker.. (too bad that I didn't not have the chance to capture this on picture or video).. 

Here are some photos of Bratty harassing the neighbour's cat.


Cat panting like mad after the ordeal
Bratty doesn't back off easily when confronted.

Caught red-handed chewing and playing with neighbour's laundry:

Bratty with a sanitary pad:

Midi the young female dog has never trusted anyone or even other stray dogs.  I couldn't persuade her to come close. 

End of October 2015 - They were inseparable.
Bratty loves being piggy-backed

Bratty and Midi sleeping together
Midi being groomed by Bratty in the late hot morning

End of November 2015 - "till death do us part" 
I returned from my two weeks vacation only to find out from my neighbours that Midi was dead. It was suspected that she had died of poisoning as someone found her with froth outside her mouth.

And Bratty was left all by himself. His behaviour got worse since then until he was considered a pest! I have seen Bratty trying to make friends with other stray dogs by riding on their backs but in vain.  

Early February 2016 - I returned from my Chinese New Year break to notice Bratty had found a new friend. A young black dog with a collar appeared from no where. They were seen playing together most of the time. I didn't have the opportunity to photograph them together. And again, this black doggie was unapproachable and afraid of people. It seems that Bratty can easily befriend young dogs that have fear towards people.

2 March 2016 - Today. My neighbour brought me the news of Bratty having to become a victim of a road kill two days ago. He was run over by a car while playing with his new friend. According to my neighbour, a witness has seen the young black dog crying over Bratty's motionless body. Only then I realised that I only saw Bratty's new friend without Bratty recently. 

It's a mix feeling for me. Even though we have once considered you a pest but you will be remembered by the neighbourhood here, Bratty. Rest in peace Bratty and Midi. I hope that both of you are now playing with each other again in heaven for animals.
Bratty with a teddy bear on the clothes line. He was getting mange infection.