Short report on the Blue Whistling Thrush breeding pair

I started observing this breeding pair closely since Sept. I believe is the same pair I was observing from last year and also the past several years. The only reason I can describe from them is their same character and behaviour like they frequently rested on their same perched during day time and roosting site in the night. Time of bathing, took their prey back to the same cache inside the dark cave near the side of the wall and spent times at their ‘dining hall’. Also their frequent behaviour during their courtship, singing and chattering for hours especially in the morning. Sept. and Oct. is the peak month for them to ‘sing’ for hours.

Notes were taken down during their latest nesting which began from late Oct. till chick fledged on 23.11.11. I could not use the scope often to see inside the nest because nest site was very exposed at one of the prayer’s hall. Many visitors were passing by the site daily. I can only walk around or sat still to observe when parents bring back food for the chicks.

A brief summary during their nesting period:

30.09.11 – Check their roosting site and found patches of dropping on the cemented floor. Saw 1 pellet regurgitated from one of them.

Special note – Saw ‘male’ went in to the Java Sparrow nest and ‘kidnapped’ one young nestling. He was swaying the prey for a while before throwing down to the floor [pic N7712]. Six minutes later one went in again and took second nestling. It took back to the cache for about few minutes before bringing the prey out and threw it on the floor. Fourteen minutes later went in the nest again and took the third nestling. This time the thrush threw it down before flying out. I was sitting at one corner watching through my bins at their hunting behaviour quietly. This is really so shocking to me that I don’t realized that they snatched one by one out either for fun or some other reasons. I waited for them to pick up the prey and take it back to the cache or rock surface to wrack it before feeding the chick [ don’t think any chick yet] or themselves. I waited for more than 1.5 hours and no movement from the pair. Later in the afternoon [5.30pm] all 3 dead nestlings are still on the floor until the next morning.

14.10.11 – Saw one calling very loud outside the toilet near the car park. Another one suspect sitting inside the nest incubating the eggs. ‘He’ flew up a palm tree and pluck fruit for himself to eat. I followed ‘him’ back inside the 2nd hall and saw him regurgitated out a pellet [pic 0171] with undigested food [fruit skin, bones and 3 fruit seeds].

25.10.11 – Saw one sitting inside the nest for quite a long time. Another one was resting beside the dark cave and occasionally singing was heard by ‘him’. Suspect eggs have been hatched.

31.10.11 – Saw both exchange shifts quietly. When one flies out, I saw the nestling’s bill still in white. Occasionally saw the other one flew in and landed beside the nest outside for a while before flying out again.

03.11.11 – Both were resting on different side on the same rock near the nest. Confirmed saw two small chicks head showing out.

08.11.11 – Both were resting on the same rock surface facing the nest. One was seen frequently flying off to hunt for food. One staying back guarding the nest was heard singing quite often.  Occasionally both were singing together.

Note : 2 pellets were found on the floor below the nest. One look like from parent and the other one from nestling. Measurement was taken. Also found a medium size snail threw out from the nest. Measurement was taken.

14.11.11 – 2 days ago suspect one chick was gone. Only saw one chick during feeding time. Chick now making loud calls watching parents bringing back prey to the nest.

Note: Confirm saw one chick only. No more 2 chicks.

18.11.11 – I checked below the nest and found big patches of droppings and pellets on the floor. Look like chick is going to fledge soon [pic 4030].

Special note: Saw both parents went inside the nest of a House Swift [pic 6033] to attack them. An adult Swift flew out screaming loud, this caught my full attention. One thrush parent ‘kidnapped’ one young chick out and took it back to their cache. Another parent flew inside the Swift’s nest and saw how cruel the thrush has done. He/she kept poking the head of the 2 chicks with her bill. I tried to take some shot, the thrush flew off. When I took the scope away the thrush went back and started to attacks with the same behaviour. Next morning this attacking behaviour on the same nest was witnessed again.

This kind of similarity behaviour was also recorded on 30/9/11 when they attack the Java Sparrow nest.

Captured a video shown parent feeding chick with big house lizard. Chick has some difficulty to swallow in and it swallowed bit by bit. Parent tried to pull out several times but prey got stuck in the throat. Adult was either inside the nest [pic 5742] or near the nest watching the chick swallow the whole prey in.

‘Male’ caught a Black and White Helen Butterfly [pic 6672] on flight at the park and took it back to the nest. On 17/11 while I was observing them outside the open space at the parking area, one adult tried to catch the Black and White Butterfly [took several shots of the butterfly without the thrush] but did not succeed. Both of them were near the big gate entrance foraging for caterpillars and snails.

21.11.11 – Chick was seen sitting on top of the nest.

23.11.11 – While I was taking few shots with the chick sitting on top of the nest, chick suddenly took its maiden flight [10.10am]and flew straight down to the floor landed perfectly well balance. I was using Nikon digital camera at that time and regretted I did not change to Sony digital camera. I thought after these shots I will change it. If I have used Sony camera to shot when is fledging, definitely I will get at least 5 images. This Sony shuttle speed is much faster than Nikon. A good chance I’ve missed it and I don’t think I will get another chance to witness the fledging again.

Both parents were not around when chick flew down. Chick was hopping around the floor looking very lost [pic 6045]. It finally hopped/walk to the flower pot to hide and walk down to the slope to hide behind long plant. Parent came back suppose to fly back to the nest nest [cancel this word] but could find the chick inside. I saw the parent’s head facing to the direction from the chick’s called [10.23am]. Parent than carefully walk step by step nearer to the chick but did not go near for a while [about 5 minutes]. The chick was hopping around the grass and saw a sprinkle with water sprinkling. Chick walks over, drinks water before enjoying a good shower for the first time [6119] not even notice parent is back for feeding. After taking a good long shower chick was seen shaking the water off and preening its feather. Parent walk nearer and feed chick, both fully exposed [pic 6141]. Many tourists are standing there to look at them. After feeding parent lead the chick down the slope to a well hidden big fern on the ground.

24 & 25.11.11 – Chick still hiding on the side of the rock surface wall [pic 6508]. Occasionally it will walk at the edge of the rock waiting for parents.

11.46am – Parent went to the prayer’s table to push one apple down to the floor [pic 6831]. It started poking on the apple in small pieces and took it back to feed the chick.


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