The Orient Express of Borneo
Non? Ooh la la!
Here it is, the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle to be pieced together.
This particular bird species is especially fond of the tropical fruit ‘rambutan’. A fruit that can sure get me rambling on and on no end. I am sure you don’t want to hear about it, especially from me. The bird derives its name from its trademark label of having a large, long bill. Fortunately, it’s not a big-nose hallmark. That would be a shame. The bill, however, is not as heavy as it appears. It is not made of solid bone but of a honeycombed tissue. Black and white minstrel show may just about sum up the typical colour of this bird.
The female bird during the breeding season will be sealed inside a hole of a tall tree with plaster of mud and fibres. A small slit is then left open for the male to do its obligatory chivalry & civic duty, as ever, and faithfully deliver food to the female companion and her new-born chicks. It just goes to prove that the age of chivalry is still intact & truly well and alive, insofar as in the bird kingdom is concerned. What have women’s libs got to say to this? I wonder? Would that come under the category of sexism?
The oriental pied hornbill is listed under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The area that this bird was spotted was not usually known, as far as I know, to be a common playground for this bird species. Somehow it must have taken a liking to the conducive environment that this place presents. Once it was spotted, plenty of bird watching activities then came into play and the place was buzzing with clicking activities all through the next few weekends. We had photographers swamping around the ground with all the latest showy photographic gadgets on display. What were they trying to do? Putting me to shame with my midget, ordinary looking DSLR photographic equipment? Damn! Damn! Damn! I had never felt so small and inadequate as to be like that time. Damn show-off cameramen .
Funny, when I first spotted the bird, I got some funny looks from some onlookers, thinking I must be a nutter clicking away at the bright blue sky. They weren’t to know, were they? There was a celebrity in and around the area. I must have been one of the first few to have spotted this bird. An honour for me, nonetheless.
Tanjung Aru Beach
That’s right! The place where this extraordinary sight occurred was in Tanjung Aru beach, the main beach. And, you know what, it was perched right above the place where everyone congregates to savour their food delight of the day. Right outside the food hall. And not a single one had spotted it. Too busy chomping through their food, I bet.
Here’s the picture of the oriental pied hornbill hopping from tree to tree. The bird has not been spotted for quite a while now. I am not even sure if it is still around. He and the female companion with grown-up chicks may have decided to hop it and migrate to somewhere else.
But you will never know, they may still be around. That’s the mystery of life as we know it.
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