Thursday, November 11, 2010

More Birds and More King of Saxony!

Thursday, November 11, 2010
Scanning the forest for signs of bird life.

After birding along the Highlands Highway on that morning of King of Saxony magic, we drove down the dusty road to some land owned by the clan of our guide, Benson. He had cut some forest trails that ambled along to good vantage points for some other avian specialties.

Driving the Highlands Highway in our combi bus. Note the Obama sticker on the windshield!

We saw birds with truly weird names: yellow-browed melidectes, Belford's melidectes, rufescent imperial pigeon, Papuan mountain pigeon, Papuan lorikeet, canary flycatcher, rufous-naped whistler, regent whistler, Whistler's mother, blue-capped ifrita, crested berrypecker, lesser melampitta, mountain firetail, red-collared myzomela (some confusion over its pronunciation: myZOMela or MYzoMELa) and three small, active birds (the names of which sound like a game of "One of These Things is NOT Like the Others") friendly fantail, Willie wagtail, and dimorphic fantail. And, I must confess we didn't actually see Whistler's mother.

Mountain firetail.

Perhaps my favorite bird name of the day was certainly descriptive of the species, but even more, it sounded like the name of a sexy villainess in a James Bond movie from the 1970s: smoky honeyeater.

All of these birds were very nice. Some offered themselves generously for observation. Many did not. What did stand out, however, was another session with a wonderfully cooperative (or oblivious) King of Saxony bird-of-paradise. This one was singing and waving his ostentatious plumes from just inside the forest canopy. Here's a little clip of the late morning antics of yet another King Sexy bird-of-paradise. I apologize for all the camera sound in the background. It was a narrow trail with a small viewing window to the bird, so we were all clustered together trying to capture our images.

This day was only partly over, and we'd already had an embarrassment of feathered riches. We did not know it then, but the day had one final bird-of-paradise sighting in store for us.


On November 11, 2010 at 8:02 PM said...

Great video! What kind of camera did you use? Did you use a scope/camera combo?

On November 12, 2010 at 10:16 AM pambirds said...

Nice video! I rather enjoyed hearing the human chat as well "if we stay still maybe he'll come down." Thanks for letting us travel vicariously through your footage.

On November 15, 2010 at 1:42 PM Pat ODonnell said...

Awesome bird names for awesome birds. Thanks for the mental images of "Whistler´s Mother" suddenly appearing in the mist of Papuan cloud forest.

"Look, Whistler´s Mother""!

"With the mixed flock?"

"No, she haunts the understory and when birders leave the trail, she admonishes them with a smitingly stern ultra-Puritanic stare"!