Archive for the ‘birds’ Category

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The Elusive Duckrunner

May 2, 2012

Posted by Kanga,

red waddled lapwing - a water bird

For years I have been trying to identify this bird. Pooring over my bird books did not help. The trip to the Arabian Wildlife Centre finally answered that question. This is the red waddled plover or red waddled lapwing. A rather boring name. I, however, have been calling it the Duckrunner for years. On first impression, it looked like a cross between a duck and a road runner, hence Duckrunner. They should let me name birds.

Not only his species was hard to come by. Getting this picture was a challenge. Everyday when I came out the car he was nearby, but he is so skittish, I couldn’t get close. This blurry picture is the result of using my zoom function and cropping it down.

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Arabia’s Wildlife Centre

March 30, 2012

Posted by Kanga.

Yesterday, we ventured to the Sharjah’s Arabia’s Wildlife Centre. It is located between Sharjah and Dhaid. The centre is part of the Sharjah Desert Park which also includes a children’s farm (we’re assuming this is a petting zoo) and a natural history & botanical museum. Entrance to the park is 15 AED for adults ($4.00 US).

Photography is strictly forbidden in the wildlife center, so all you will get in this post is this picture of camels crossing the road which we encountered on the way there.

two camels crossing a road

We highly recommend the wildlife center. It is very well designed and most of the animals were visible and active. Included are animals of all kinds native to different areas of Arabia, not just the U.A.E. – snakes, geckos, lizards, frogs, mice, rats, gerbils, grasshoppers, locusts, beetles, scorpions, foxes, wolves, wildcats, sand cats, jackals, porcupines, hedgehogs, honey badgers, gazelles, ibexes, oryxes, ostriches, flamingos, pelicans, owls, bats, and so much more. If only I could have used my camera, I would have so many desert hare pictures – bunnies everywhere!

On our way out, we passed the big animal enclosures. Starting with the baboons. It was feeding time, so they were quite busy. The next enclosure had desert wolves, who can look over the pit separating the enclosures and see the baboons. They were pacing up and down undoubtedly thinking “those baboons look tasty.” Next door to the wolves were striped hyenas also pacing up and down looking at the wolves thinking “those wolves look tasty.” Next to them were the cheetahs. If the cheetahs don’t fancy a hyena meal, they can also see an enclosure of gazelles. I’ve never been so close to a cheetah, separated only by glass. And, last, but not least, came the leopard. He, being the king of all, was just chillin’ out.

This is definitely a value deal. Give yourself plenty of time. The exhibits are extensive and you’ll want to stop and watch the active animals. One little Egyptian Spiny Mouse had a grub and was being chased mercilessly by her roommates. I hope she got to eat it in peace, eventually.

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Falconry

March 25, 2012

Posted by Kanga.

A couple of weeks ago, we attended a meeting of the Emirates Natural History Group Fujairah where Guy Foster explained falconry and showed us some very beautiful birds.

four hooded falcons

The session was very informative. Falconry is actually not common in the Fujairah area because of the hills. It is usually done in wide open, flat areas so that one can maintain visual contact with the falcon. If a falcon flies over a hill, it may not come back to the “owner.” One never really owns falcons. They do not bond with people. Falcons are in it for the free food.

two men, two falcons

Female falcons are larger than males and more desirable for falconry. The indigenous falcons that are in country all year round are a small species. The larger species that pass through the UAE on their migration route have been considered more desirable. It is no longer legal to catch wild falcons.

falcon being taken through the audience to be seen and touched

We were all given a chance to gently touch the back of one of the birds.

man holding a hooded falcon

DaddyBird enjoyed the chance to get up close and hold a falcon.

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Crested Bird

July 26, 2011

Posted by Kanga.

small brown bird with a pointed crest on his head

All our bird books are still packed in boxes, so I can’t tell you this fellow’s name.

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Falcon

November 20, 2010

Posted by Kanga.

You never know what you will encounter in the mall. Yesterday, it was a falcon. DaddyBird was pleased as punch to get to hold it for a few minutes.

man holding a falcon

Here’s the video. You might want to turn down the volume since the sound is mostly children screaming in the amplifying mall acoustics.

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Peacock Mating Dance

January 25, 2010

Clearly, it was peacock mating season because every peacock in the place was strutting his stuff. This one puts on quite a show, but the hen seems unmoved.

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Bird Park

January 23, 2010

Kuala Lumpur Day 5, part one

We went to the bird park which claims to be the largest free flight, walk-in aviary. It is quite large, so I tend to believe them. It was expensive by KL standards – 42 ringgits per person (approx. $12.50), but it is worth the price if you like flora and fauna at all.

There is a large variety of birds, this is just a sampling of what we saw.
stork on its nest in a treeI did not notice the official name of this bird. I assume it is a type of stork. The one below was relaxing, although that position doesn’t look very relaxing.
stork resting on its knees

I think this is one of the yellow breasted starlings, but his back is turned to us, so it is hard to tell.

blue bird with black head

The most spectacular bird was the Scarlet Ibis. This picture doesn’t do the color justice. They were very bright red.
white ibis and scarlet ibis

This is the other spectacular bird. So spectacular that they weren’t even pictured on the signs to tell us what they were. Measles bird? The Jackson Pollock? (no, too much of a pattern for that name.)
brighlty colored bird with speckles

The owl on the right was doing a little dance right up until I hit the record button. They look almost as much like rodents as they do owls.
two owls

There were, of course, plenty of parrots and lovebirds.
bright red lovebird with green wings

This is the Southern Cassowary.
Southern Cassowary

And, last but not least, beware the dreaded Junglefowl!
sign showing a rooster labeled as Red Junglefowl

actual picture of a junglefowl rooster