“It was field day for an adult Cream-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus simplex) who found easy pickings when a truck full of overloaded oil palm fruits rambled passed a dirt track, as the lorry snaked its way out towards the southern highway in Johor, Peninsular Malaysia (below left).
“This 18cm bird cautiously approached the fallen ‘manna’ and wasted no time to gulp down the succulent orangy fruits after dust settled (above right).
“This is the only bulbul species with striking white eyes of the Peninsular Malaysia type as compared to another subspecies in Northern Borneo, where adults Cream-vented Bulbuls have generally red iris.
“I was observing the bird on the opposite side of the trail. We had clear views of each other. With a beak full of fleshy pulps and a cold stare, this hearty breakfast was simply too good to be shy for flight (left).
“Cream-vented Bulbuls is a commonly seen bulbul species in mixed broadleaved, evergreen forests at Panti Forest Reserve, Johor.
“The entrance to the reserve carries a signboard ‘Suaka Burong Panti’ translates to mean “Panti Bird Sanctuary” – a misnomer, a catch phrase designated for ecotourism that all went wrong, with ill forgotten basic facilities, abandoned sentry hut and all signs showed… the place has gone to the dogs.
“Birds at Panti Forest Reserve have learnt to get used to the idea of sharing their abode with constant noise pollution from flow of heavy vehicles that traverse the Reserve, which ends into commercial properties of oil palm estates and the engagement of military exercises in the jungle (below left).
“My July 2012 visit saw hell bike riders and wanabe Rossi’s took to a show of die hard riding skills that sent birds to flee for cover and my eyes rolled. I had even the last rider gave me a winner’s wave!
“More annoyed was the fact that in trying to be a law abiding citizen, I had an entry permit to the forest reserve arranged for a whopping RM150 (US$50).
“It provided no security or rain shelter along the 8km road track or any basic user friendly amenities that would encourage independent day trippers to look forward to revisits or have birder-photographers put Panti Forest on their top birding place of agenda.
“If birds could speak or read the sign board that says ‘Panti Bird Sanctuary’ what would they say? (above right).
“Was the welfare of the birds ever considered when grandiose tourism ideas to tap natural resource in the Reserve – in the name of Ecotourism?
“As action speaks louder than words at best, here… is a pose of the smallest raptor of the world, for the world that shamelessly says it all (left).
“Ah… don’t blame Avian Writer. It wasn’t her that sponsored Falconet’s tutorial trip to Moulin Rouge, Paris or the bird would have in addition, be endeared a gift of petit, white lacy garter for her black thigh …for some high kicks softened perhaps… to the tune of Irish jig- ‘Riverdance’? ”
Avian Writer Daisy O’Neill
Copyright article and copy images: Courtesy of Daisy O’Neill Bird Conservation Fund