“My third visit confirmed hatchings when a parent was observed on flight to nesting site with breakfast.
“While keeping good distance at all times and from sight possible, I was witnessing a very experienced and skillful pair of breeding Mangrove Pittas (Pitta megarhyncha), Mighty and Mindy (above) in action with their countless food sorties during daylight hours.
“Each meal trip took no more than average ten minutes- a short flight from their hunting grounds nearby mangrove mudflats, riverbeds and river fringes of nipah palms.
“Regular flight paths were established.
“There were short moments when both parents were away, leaving nesting site unattended. But… this was carried out only after checking chicks were safe from potential predation.
“Such heart warming, parenting moments of Mindy is shown here waiting on the tarmac. No longer able to hold sentry post further over Mighty’s absence and prolonged return, the protector trotted back to check on her hungry brood. Mindy proceeded to attempt camouflaging the nest (left).
“The four step- approach (Look right, look front, look left and front again) of vigilance is shown here before Mindy flew took off in priority food air freight express, leaving a beautiful photographic moment of a 9.50am sunrays peeping through at correct angle, naturally illuminating the nest’s entrance (below).
“How did Mindy response when a pair of breeding Pied Fantails (Rhipidura javanica) she spied in the neighborhood?
“Tensed and with droopy wings she took to a crouch position (below left).
“Headlights- the housefly chased the muddy scent on Mindy and took a free ride on her head (below right)
‘I say Mindy, why are you hiding here?’ asked Headlights.
‘Shh….don’t want to be seen,’ whispered Mindy.
‘Don’t worry. I spy with my eyes in exchange for chick poo ya?’
“How had Mighty and Mindy stressfully managed to handle an endless stream of birders and bird-photographers near and far with contraptions of sorts?
“Was it a ‘Shock & Awe’?
‘In some days it was observed that parenting birds changed their course of feeding, startled by incessant flash photography and unknowing posed for model photography.
“Do join me again on the trail of the breeding Mangrove Pittas in Part 4 and let’s find out if there is any array of new food records to be added to the Pittidaes’ diet.”
AVIAN WRITER DAISY O’NEILL PENANG MALAYSIA
© Mangrove Pittas breeding: 3. Vigilance and parenting