Blog for 2009-06-18

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ITS MIST NETTING DAY!! :D Haw Chuan Lim from Louisiana State University came by just to talk to us about birds, and show us a bird catching technique called mist netting! He had talked a bit about bird ecology and conservation the day before, so it was today that we would get to see the birds hands-on, literally! The interested fellows were supposed to meet at daybreak at 6.15am, and many of us slept in, so in total only 8 of us met: Abby, Kristina, Le, Serena, Dita, Sreekar and Shana (:

Someone overslept and so we only started setting up the mist netting just past the suspension bridge at about 7am - but no worries, still plenty of time to catch birds though! Haw Chuan said that the early morning was the best time to catch birds, and he taught us how to set up the nets systematically. Hungry stomachs started to growl after we finished, and some of us practically ran back during the waiting interval to go eat some breakfast, cooked by the wonderful Auntie Lina (it was beehoon goreng and french toast today!).

Setting up the mist nets.

When we went back we were pleasantly surprised by the spiderhunter that was caught in the net, and struggling frantically! "What strange humans are approaching me!" it must have thought. Haw Chuan gently released it from the net and held it expertly between his fingers, while the majority of us either stared at it in fascination with our naked eyes or through our camera lenses, with bright camera flashes going off periodically whenever we had a chance to. It was literally our first time physically interacting with a bird!

Spiderhunter's blood donation drive! Haw Chuan's taking blood for samples, keeping it preserved in Queen's lysis buffer.

He took some measurements and a blood sample before teaching us how to hold it - the spiderhunter was so small and soft! It also clawed my fingers, trying to get a grip while being held uncomfortably I think, in many people's hands. We released it soon after, and Shana, Serena and I closed the mist nets after waiting in vain for another hour or so for more birds to get caught.

Bumping into Haw Chuan after that however, revealed that he had seen a woodpecker, hornbill and some other smaller birds. He had actually seen a hornbill! I have been wanting to see one in the wild for a long time. I hope we get to see one soon, or at the very least, on this trip! We've got about 5 more weeks to see some! (: