April 2009 — Pittas, Tree Flowers, Copperhead Ratsnake

by Angela Hijjas

May is nesting season, and we have sporadically heard and seen the Blue-winged Pittas that successfully bred two years ago in Rimbun Dahan. According to Jesmi the gardener, there are at least four individuals that call to each other from the depths of the garden. We hope to see another breeding success this year, so the area they favour for nesting (pictured left) has now been put off limits for grass cutting and pedestrians, although restricting dogs is a bit hard.

Meanwhile, among the native trees in the garden, the Firmiana malayana, mata lembu (below left), and the Kayea grandis (below middle) are flowering, and a very young Baccaurea lanceolata has a few fruits (below right).

No new snakes this month, although the Copperhead Ratsnake that caused such a stir a few months ago was sighted again near the studios, and I almost trod on one while walking the dogs up near the front gate! It reared up and demonstrated its characteristic vertical inflation that makes some people mistake it for a cobra. We have laid out the sulphur powder around the houses so people can sleep easy!