“A period of busy weekends, helping with medical conferences. Only managing short times in the field and decide this morning to walk around the neighbourhood. My garden and neighbourhood rarely fail to surprise me with interesting observations.
“I went to this corner in the neighbourhood where I usually see a shrike every year during the migration period. Brown Shrikes (Lanius cristatus cristatus) are supposed to return to same wintering sites. (see: Lucia Liu Severinghaus. Territory strategy of the migratory Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus. Ibis1996, Vol 138(3): 460–465 and Lord Medway. A ringing study of the migratory Brown Shrike in West Malaysia. Ibis1970, 112(2): 184-198.)
“I spotted an odd behaviour of this adult female. She was sitting on top of a garden hedge and not on the high-tension wires as usual. She then drove right into the hedge at about a height of 1.5 metres. I thought she was after prey but did not come out. I moved back to watch. She emerged out the other side and dropped to the ground to pick up material. She then spotted me and stopped on an old tree stump near the hedge. After waiting about 5-6 minutes she flew into a tree and I had to return home to go to a conference.
“I know that these are wintering birds and that there is no record of local nesting. However she was carrying nesting material in her beak and the behaviour spoke of nesting. I could not spot any obvious nest but did not look hard as I did not want to frighten off what I believe to be preliminary activity.
“Is this perhaps training for when she returns home soon, or is this a real attempt at nesting locally? Return migration periods for Peninsular Malaysia are stretched out over April-May, and the breeding season up north is late May or June. I will just have to watch and see is anything happens.”
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Canning Garden Home, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
12th January 2011