Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

April 29, 2012

Singapore Birding 2

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 9:35 am

Singapore Botanic Garden.

I am writing this so late that I cannot remember anything. I caught the number 7 bus from Victoria Street to the Botanic Gardens. It is right opposite the Australian High Commission.

White-breasted Waterhen
White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)

By the time I got there it was still dark. The sun had not even come up yet. I had to wait for some light before I could take some see-able photos.

Black-naped Oriole
Black-naped Oriole

I wandered around for a while, avoiding the joggers and the tai-chi groups and the dog-walkers. It is probably a good idea to go there during the week.

plantain squirrel
Plantain Squirrel

This Plantain Squirrel was licking the tree. I do not know if he was after the sap of the tree or some water. Plantain Squirrels eat mostly fruit and nuts, but also eat insects and bird eggs.

Common Hill-myna
Common Hill-myna (Gracula religiosa)

There were heaps of birds and squirrels in this tree hooking into the fruit. Mostly mynas and green-pigeons and this distinctive Common Hill-myna with its yellow patches on the face.

Pink-necked Green-pigeon
Pink-necked Green-pigeon

There were a few rumblings of thunder, so I made sure that there was some shelter nearby in case it rained. And rain it did. It came down in bucket loads. I had to take shelter under a restaurant awning with some luckless joggers. After that I just gave up and got the bus back to Victoria Street.

April 26, 2012

Canning Fort – Singapore Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 3:26 pm

Singapore Birding

This morning I was up at 5am and jumped on the bus to the airport at Jakarta. Getting into Singapore was pretty easy and no hassles at all. I had to get a shuttle bus from the budget terminal to Terminal 2 where the train leaves from to get into town.

Collared Kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris)

In the afternoon I caught a train to City Hall and walked up to Canning Fort which is an old fort with lots of trees and walking paths in the middle of the city.

Collared Kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher

Just at the bottom of the hill I saw these three Collared Kingfishers. I think there was a young one getting fed.

Collared Kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher

The Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) is also known as the White-vented Myna and the Buffalo Myna, and is a myna, a member of the Starling family.

Javan Myna
Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus)

And of course I had to take a photo of a Yellow-vented Bulbul. They never let me down.

Yellow-vented Bulbul
Yellow-vented Bulbul

This is the first time I have taken a photo of the Oriental Magpie Robin. I think I have seen them but failed to get a photo.

Oriental Magpie Robin
Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis)

House Crows are a pest in Singapore and I read that they are employing people to shoot them.

House Crow
House Crow (Corvus splendens)

Olive-backed Sunbird
Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugulari)

I have taken photos of both male and female Asian Koels near where I lived in Newcastle. They perched on a TV antenna a few houses down the road.

Asian Koel
Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus)

At the end of the day I also saw a pair of White-bellied Sea-eagles but I had my camera packed away and by the time I got over my shock, they were gone.

Singapore Bird Photo Resources

Singapore bird photos

Singapore bird photos

Singapore bird photos

Singapore bird photos

April 25, 2012

Ragunan Birding – Jakarta

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 12:40 pm

Ragunan Zoo, Jakarta.

Ragunan Zoo is about an hour north from the centre of Jakarta. I caught one of the TransJakarta buses from Jalan Thamrin and had to change at Duku Atas. When I got there it was already open, so I could have got there a bit earlier.

Javan Pond Heron
Javan Pond Heron (Ardeola speciosa)

I wandered around looking for birds in the trees and pretty did not have any idea where I was. I did manage to find some Javan Pond Herons that were in the trees above the orangutan pit. Their Indonesian name is Blekok Sawah.

Javan Myna
Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus)

Another Myna, this time the Javan Myna , whose Indonesian name is Kerak Kerbau. There were a bunch of Common Myna as well.

yellow-vented bulbul
Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)

I had not seen any Yellow-vented Bulbuls for a while so it was a pleasant surprise to see a few. They are always so photogenic. They love showing off their mohawks. There were a few Sooty-headed Bulbuls around as well but their photos were not so good. Their Indonesian name is Merbah Cerukcuk.

Pacific Swallow
Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica )

There were a pair of pacific swallows resting in the elephant enclosure. Their Indonesian name is Layang-layang Batu .

Plantain squirrel
Plantain squirrel (Callosciurus notatus)

I had been trying to get a photo of one of these squirrels for ages. They just flit around so quickly, they never stop still. Plus they are always in the foliage where it is dark and all the leaves get in the way of trying to focus on them.

Javan Pond-heron
Javan Pond Heron

This javan pond heron just flew into this tree. I have no idea what he was doing but the camouflage is excellent.

Water monitor
Water Monitor

This small Water Monitor was in the crocodiles enclosure. I could not see any crocodiles so I guess he was pretty safe. I also saw a Pied Fantail but was not quick enough to get a photo of him. doh! On the way back I fell asleep on the bus I was so tired. The electricity went off for a couple of hours this afternoon and it was so hot.

April 24, 2012

Jakarta day 2

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 6:13 am

Taman Monas Hari Dua

This morning I got up early to get to Taman Monas. I was beated there by about four million Jakartans intent on jogging around the monument. There were Tai Chi Groups and all sorts of exercise groups parading around in their nice uniforms.

big nectar sucking fly
black nectar eater

I have seen these big black fly looking things a fair bit. I have no idea what they are.

Olive-backed Sunbird
Plain-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis)

The Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis), also known as the Plain-throated Sunbird, is a species of bird in the Nectariniidae family. It is found in a wide range of semi-open habitats in south-east Asia

Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker
Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trochileum ) – Juvenile

The Indonesian name for Golden-bellied Gerygone is Remetek Laut.

Golden-bellied Gerygone
Golden-bellied Gerygone (Gerygone sulphurea)

I need to have another look at this next one. It could very well be a Metallic Starling or something else again. “The Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis) is a species of starling in the Sturnidae family. It is found in Bangladesh, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical mangrove forests. ” – wiki.

short-tailed starling
Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis)

Common Myna (Adicotheres tristis. Its Indonesian name is Jalak.

Common Myna
Common Myna (Acidotheres tristis

Coppersmith Barbet
Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala)

This is the Javan sub-species, Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala). Javan sub-species. Note the whiskers to draw the insects into the beak.

I saw a photo of one of these yesterday but cannot find it again. I am mystified by this one now. Update: Asian Pied Starling (Sturnus contra), thanks once again to Khaleb Yordan. The species has been included in the genus Sturnus and Sturnopastor in the past but recent studies do not support its inclusion within Sturnus leading to the reinstatement of an older genus name Gracupica.

Asian Pied Starling (Sturnus contra)

Resources for Jakarta birds

Birds of Jakarta Photos

Birds of Jakarta blog

April 23, 2012

National Monument Jakarta birding

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 2:03 pm

Taman Monas Birding

Well I finally made it to Jakarta. I caught the train from Bogor and had to stand all the way. I hopped off at Gambir station and walked down the road to Jalan Jaksa, the backpackers enclave.

Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker
Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trochileum)

After a mandi, I went in search of Taman Monas and found the way very easily. It is not far away at all. After a bit of a siesta, I headed off in earnest with the camera primed and ready. As soon as I got there, I spotted some pretty good birds. I am not sure if this one is a Purple Sunbird or a Purple-throated Sunbird. Or something else? Update: Thanks to Khaleb Yordan, it seems it is a Purple-throated Sunbird.

Purple sunbird ???
purple-throated sunbird

I just walked around keeping the sun facing towards the trees, giving me enough light to get some shots. And of course there was the obligatory bulbul.

sooty-headed bulbul
Sooty-headed Bulbul

There were quite a lot of Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans) feeding on the palm trees. You can see a pair here together and they are quite different. The male is on the left and the female is on the right. The male is very colourful while the duller female is often confused with other Green Pigeons.

Pink-necked Green Pigeon
Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans)

Pink-necked Green Pigeons eat mainly fruits such as figs, palm fruits and berries. They breed from late March to July and do not appear to migrate.

Pink-necked Green Pigeon , male
Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans)

I saw a few White-breasted Woodswallows high up in the sky and there was one of them swooping around really low. He had a twig in his beak at one stage and then got chased by this bird. I have no idea what that was about.

Black-naped Oriole
Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis)

All in all Taman Monas seems like a great place for birding. It is quite unusual being in the middle of a very busy city like Jakarta.

April 22, 2012

Bogor Botanical Gardens 2

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 8:40 am

Kebun Raya Bogor #2

This morning it was back to the Bogor Botanical Gardens after a nice breakfast of Nasi Soto. They let me in early around the side gate to the Biology building. I headed straight for the pond where the Black-crowned Night Herons roosted because I wanted to get some better shots of them today. Yesterday was very dark and I had the ISO cranked up way too high.

Black-crowned Night Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron

They were all taking off from their little island roost in the middle of the pond, so I was clicking away like mad hoping to get some decent in flight shots.

Black-crowned Night Heron
Immature Black-crowned Night Heron

This was an immature bird – they are very easy to spot, having lots of streaking on the underparts.

Black-crowned Night Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron

Some of them were coming back in to land on their island again, after heading off into the other trees around the lake.

Striated Swallow
Striated Swallow (Hirundo striolata)

Striated Swallow (Hirundo striolata) are often found in open hilly areas from India to Taiwan and Timor. They have a very forked tail with blue upperparts and reddish collar and chestnut rump. The underparts are white with heavy dark streaking.

Spotted Dove
Spotted Dove

I do not think I have any shots of Spotted Doves in flight so I thought I might process this one.

 Island Collared Dove
Island Collared Dove (Streptopelia bitorquata)

Island Collared Dove (Streptopelia bitorquata) has a discontinuous distribution, being found in the Philippines and Indonesia from Java to Timor but missing from Borneo and Suluwesi. Its favoured habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

spotted deer
Spotted Deer

There were a large herd of these deer in the grounds of the palace. I am not too sure about the correct name for these deer, but they are probably domestically bred.

It is raining this afternoon, so I guess I am not going out again unless it stops. It will not be much point unless the sun comes out because it will be too dark anyway.

April 21, 2012

Bogor Botanical Gardens

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 3:49 pm

Kebun Raya Bogor

I finally made it down the Puncak Pass after some horrendous traffic jams. The bus driver let me off at the bemo terminal so I went and had some lunch and a friendly guy gave me a lift to the hotel. I just chucked my stuff in my slightly sleazy room (Well, very sleazy) and took off for the Botanical Gardens. These young girls were doing an assignment and had to ask a foreigner some questions, so they followed me around for a while recording what I said.

Sooty-headed Bulbul
Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster)

I finally got some photos of these Sooty-headed Bulbuls. I think I had seen them before but thought they were Yellow-vented Bulbuls. Luckily I saw a photo of one and went, hey wait a minute. I did some research on these about a week ago and found out that both species have yellow vents. The Yellow-vented Bulbuls have a mohawk while the sooties have a full head of black.

bee type thing
Some type of bee?

I saw this bee-like thing sucking on a flower. I have no idea what it is.

Black-crowned Night Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) have a black crown and back with the rest of the body white or grey. They also have red eyes and short yellow legs. They hunt at the water edges at night or early mornings and mainly eat small fish, crusaceans, frogs, etc. They have a large range, covering five continents.

Black-crowned Night Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron

Immature Black-crowned Night Herons have dull greyish-brown top parts and the underparts are streaked with brown. Young ones often disgorge their stomachs when disturbed.

Black-crowned Night Heron - Immature
Immature Black-crowned Night Heron

Towards the end of the day it poured raining and I was stuck under a shelter for nearly an hour. When it finally slowed down I headed for the exit and went and had a hot cup of coffee in some dark alley.

Holey dooley i just saw massive rat and it is no further than 2 meters away from me. He is huge. Gone now. No, back again and I think he wants to eat the electrical system that runs the computers. Holy crap, he is going towards my room. get out of there. ha ha ha this is so funny. I must get a photo of him.

Cibodas Botanical Gardens

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Kebun Raya Cibodas

This morning I ventured into the Cibodas Botanical Gardens, which is just at the bottom of the Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park. I first went into the camping grounds and climbed up a bit of a hill and into the scrub.

Javan White-eye
Sangkar White-eye. (Zosterops melanurus. )

Edit: I made a whoopsie, This is in actuality a Sangkar White-eye. Thanks to James Eaton for the correction. (The Javan White-eye is found in Indonesia and Malaysia and are found in habitats such as sub-tropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It has a very restricted and fragmented range and is thought to be declining because of habitat loss. Its Indonesian name is Kacamata Jawa.)

Javan White-eye
Sangkar White-eye. (Zosterops melanurus. )

This spider was huge and had spun a web right across the path.


After that I went into the main section of the Botanical Gardens but did not find much. There were a few birds scattered here and there but it was not very good at all. I am not sure which type of palm these fruits or seeds are but they looked really cool.

palm fruit
Palm Fruit

I came back early and caught a bemo to Bogor. The traffic was horrendous going down the Puncak Pass. We actually stopped at one spot for about half an hour.

April 20, 2012

Gede Pangrango National Park

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Taman Nasional Gunung Gede Pangrango

Yesterday I caught the bus from Pangandaran to Bandung. It was an Air-conditioned bus so it was not too bad. Then I jumped on a bus to Jakarta when we arrived at some intersection. This one was a slow one however and there was a lot of traffic and breakdowns going over the mountains so it was very slow.

Id needed
in flight

This morning I set off up the mountain to walk to the waterfall and hopefully photograph some birds. There were quite a few after some time but it was very dark and I had lots of trouble getting any decent shots. The Trilling Shrike-babbler is endemic to Java. (Thanks to Mike Nelson from Birdtour ASIA for fixing my mistake.)

Javan White-eye Trilling Shrike-babbler (Pteruthius aenobarbus)

I just happened to catch a mob of minivets hopping around a few trees near the track.

Scarlet Minivet
Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus siebersi)

I stopped off at Telaga Biru (Blue Lake) which was along the track. It was not really a lake just a big pond with blue coloured water. There were a few butterflies along the track but not that many.


I finally made it up to the waterfall ( Air Terjun Cibereum). The water was pouring over quite strongly so there must have been lots of water coming off the mountain. The trail up to the top of Mount Gede and Pangrango kept going past the waterfall. I think I only went about a third of the way up the mountain. That was enough for me.

waterfall at mt gede

black-winged flycatcher-shrike
black-winged flycatcher-shrike (Hemipus hirundinaceus) eating a grub

On the way back down I spotted this bird eating this grub and then saw some Black Monkeys cavorting around in the trees.

Nearly down the bottom and I spied some ladies collecting nuts from the forest and just above them was this little bird. The ladies said that it had a nest just near them.

indigo flycatcher
indigo flycatcher (Eumyias indigo)

I got some photos of the Sunda Forktail (Enicurus velatus) bu they were a bit dark so I did not post them.

Tomorrow I am going around the Botanic Gardens, Kebun Raya Cibodas. I hope there are a few birds in there. There should be a bit more light at least than in the jungle.

Gede Resources
Photos by Tobi Koppejan

April 18, 2012


Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 1:14 pm

Pangandaran National Park.

Pangandaran National Park is at the end of a long peninsular at the far eastern end of West Java. Yesteday I got a long and bumpy bus ride from Yogyakarta that bounced around on some incredibly bad roads for eight hours. fun.

Rusa Deer (Cervus timorensis

This morning I got up early and went into the park as soon as it opened at 7am. There are heaps of deer around. They are almost tame. They forage on the grass and pay no attention to the humans.

Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)

The Indonesian name for the Water Monitor is Biawak. They are very common in the park as well. This one lived up to its name.

Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris


I am assuming this is a skink. It looks very similar to our ones.

Small lizard

I have no idea what this small lizard could be. Check out the feet, they splay out all over the place. Sort of a bit creepy and Gollum-esque.


There were quite a few of these butterflies flying around in the forest.


This dragonfly looked like a biplane with its four wings. It was a lovely maroon colour.

Swallow scooping water

There were a heap of swallow swooping into the water and have a drink, I guess. This one is the closest I could get to anywhere near in focus. I just kept shooting madly hoping something might be in focus. Extremely difficult.

Black Monkey

Late in the afternoon there was a mob of Black Monkeys near the fence of the park. They were eating leaves of these trees. I like the darkness of this photo. It is all black.

Tomorrow I am heading west to Bandung and Cibodas to visit Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park. It is another six hour bus ride to Bandung and I have no idea how much further it is to Cibodas. But now I have to dump off the photos to a USB stick and head off to WarNet, a Warung Internet or Internet Cafe so I can upload this blog to the internet. And I have to eat.

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