Orangutan Foundation in collaboration with Tanjung Puting National Park run Pondok Ambung, a tropical forest research station. The national park’s wild orangutan population is estimated at over 4,000. But Tanjung Puting isn’t just famous for orangutans it has an amazing diversity of species that share the great ape’s habitat. Arif, our manager of the research station sent this interesting update about recent sightings including the behaviour of nesting birds.
Aku Cinta Indonesia (ACI or I love Indonesia) Team Found Western Tarsier in Pondok Ambung
Aku Cinta Indonesia (ACI) is a program by detik.com. Their aim is to promote the beauty of Indonesia. ACI pick teams of 3 people who they send out on various adventures to document their experience.
ACI team with OF team at Pondok Ambung
One of the ACI’s team visited to Pondok Ambung and slept overnight on a kelotok (boat). They were curious to see a nocturnal primate, called the Western Tarsier. After the drizzle stopped we began our night tracking around Pondok Ambung and at around midnight, Evawi, a Foundation field assistant smelt the urine of the tarsier. We found this small beautiful primate – it is really rare to see them and after no less than 10 minutes we had lost it (see this post for picture of tarsier).
Bird watching at dawn
In the early morning, we did bird watching. Pak Hudi, the Foundation’s Programme Co-ordinator, gave basic tips about bird watching. So many bird species were seen!
Photographer Ian Wood and his group visited Pondok Ambung. There were eight in his group so we split in to 2 smaller groups. One went with Pak Hudi and climbed a watch tower to observe birds in the upper canopy.
Bird tower at Pondok Ambung
The other group came with me to find a criptical bird and look at the nest of the Orange-bellied Flowerpecker. The group had some awesome tools of photography. Tele lens helped to take a small objects, like the birds.
We found the nest of a Malaysian Eared Nightjar(Eurostopodus temminckii). Actually, they don’t really have a nest. They just lay down their egg on the ground, on top of foliage. There was one egg which started to hatch while we observed. It was a beautiful chick with a reddish plumage. I think this is the first record, at least in Pondok Ambung!
We also found the nest of the Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma). The nest was suspended 2.5 m up on a leafy twig of a tree growing near the watch tower. The nest was small and egg-shaped, made from grass and ferns. It contained two chicks. During my observation, I saw the male and female adults attend the nest.
Flowerpecker nest with chicks inside
The female took food from the undergrowth around the nest. It seemed like fruit but they were just taking the seeds. When feeding the young, the male hung onto the outside of the nest by its feet so that it could face the chicks directly. After the male departed, the chicks would often wait in front of the entrance with their bills out. Sometimes, although the male was not present, the chicks would stick out their heads and open their mouths wide in a begging behavior.
After several days, we found the nest is empty with a small hole in the bottom. Before it, I watch something trying to make a hole from inside the nest. I can’t identify who and what they do. Maybe this is the way out when the chicks are strong enough to fly? We need more observations!
By Arif – Manager of Pondok Ambung Tropical Forests Research Station
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