When the evening is hot the many Asian Glossy Starlings (Aplonis panayensis) that are common in the neighbourhood gather along the glass partition in my neighbour’s balcony garden. The attraction is the miniature garden fountain. These birds get relief from the heat by frolicking under the cool spray of the fountain. They fluff their feathers and soak up the water before flying off to the nearby Blake’s Bauhinia tree (Bauhinia purpurea x variegate ‘Blakeana’), also known as Hong Kong Orchard Tree. There they get rid of the droplets by shaking their body and fluffing their feathers. Then comes the preening and swiping of their bill against the branch.
The adults starlings are easily recognised by their glossy blackish-green plumage and prominent red eyes. The juveniles are always around the adults, looking very different in their grey-brown back and buffish-white front that has dark longitudinal streaks. One common feature though is the prominent red eyes.
Sometimes these starlings are joined by the common and noisy Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus). These mynas are distinguished from the starlings by their yellow beak and non-red eyes.
It is a joy to see these birds enjoying the fountain water but obviously not the owner of the house. These birds invariably pollutes the place with their droppings. So of late there is a large wire contraption covering the fountain. This prevents the birds from getting under the fountain spray but they still come. They move below to enjoy what little droplets of water that fall outside the netting. But they are unable to soak up the water droplets as before.
10th March 2018