Click here for links to the other early 2012
Seaview Garden is perhaps the best placed of
Penang's many condos to observe nature as it barely a tree covered 100 metres
from the sea and backed by jungle uninterrupted to the top of Penang Hill.
Don't look here for a learned dissertation or stunning pictures, instead
where you should be and there are many more like them, especially for bird
Below is a list of our incomplete
observations together with a few pictures from a couple of toy cameras more
suited for children's birthday parties than serious stuff. It is a 'friends
and family' page intended as a primer for any visitors we might have...
Having spent more than half a lifetime looking at steam trains through a
camera lens, I'm not sure I want to buying a decent camera and end up doing
the same for birds when there are obviously plenty of people out there doing
the same thing and probably better than I could achieve without a lot of
practice. Far better to sit back and enjoy the spectacle and use their
efforts to confirm my observations.
Black Giant Squirrel - http://www.ecologyasia.com/verts/mammals/black-giant_squirrel.htm
- Seaview's iconic mammal, there are several of these living in the
area, frequently seen in the area immediately behind the Condo, even
in pairs - I once had a perfect sighting just a couple of metres away
for several minutes from the swimming pool area - amazing for an
animal described in the link as 'extremely shy'. Occasionally, they
get almost to the main road.
This is an extraordinarily difficult subject, there are
thousands and thousands of 'birders' out there but in my admittedly
limited experience, most of them have almost as much difficulty
identifying anything beyond the blindingly obvious as I do. It's not easy,
there are an awful lot of 'Little Brown Jobs' out there and enough local
variations in colour and other markings to make production of illustrated
books a publisher's nightmare. It's too early to comment on Penang, but in
our country house in Jiaojiehe, North China, the local birds gave every
impression that if they had read the classic bird books, they certainly
didn't think very much of the illustrations.
Many of our birds are near invisible, apart from a few
which like 'fresh air', you can hear a mass of sounds especially around
dawn and dusk. Even at night, there are owls at work in the forest behind.
If in doubt in my assignments, I have assumed the 'common or garden'
variety. Basically we have 'garden birds' and 'edge of forest' birds, it
seems that the area around the lower part of the Hill Railway is a similar
environment judging from the species seen there (obviously no sea eagles), since I saw what I assume was a Pied Fantail there, I hope to see
one at Seaview sometime. One bird I don't expect to cop here is a Scarlet Backed
Flowerpecker, one of which we photographed near
the Temple of 1200 steps.
A female olive backed sunbird (plain
olive chest, no neck colouration, is a regular visitor to our balcony.
I suspect it has a nest on one of those where no one lives and has
trouble finding it. The camera was never ready when she came of
course, until one day she wandered into the bedroom and sat on a
curtain - a male with with a dark chest/neck is an occasional visitor:
Just one seen briefly above the access
road, unmistakable with its unusual tail feathers. It was all black
but I didn't see it too well, but if I had to make a stab it would be
the greater racket tailed-drongo.