Hash Trash During the Time of COVID
NATURE NOTE FROM BALI – NUMBERS 10
I’m often accused or exaggeration relating to numbers of birds or butterflies seen on certain occasions, but if anything I tend to underestimate. Thumbing through Butterflies of Bali recently, I realized that the migration of Lemon Emigrants I witnessed in ‘74 endured at least ten days and nights, tailing off perceptibly in the last day or two. Must have been millions. Many. And I could have gone on and on about some of the other wonders I’ve seen. For instance the invasion of Bronze Cuckoos – Horsfield’s – thirty something years ago. These are definitely Aussie birds and have been described as uncommon visitors to Sundaland. I could stand anywhere in the ricefields and see twenty odd with one sweep of my bins. Some years you’d see a few during the so-called Austral winter, but this was unprecedented – or was it? And I’ll never forget David Wells’ sighting of dozens of Eyebrowed Thrushes on Gunung Penulisan (whenever that was). No one to my knowledge has ever seen them in Bali before or since.
Back to butterflies – How often does one see lots of Birdwings in any one place? I have an amazing recollection of seeing many in Sawai or Wahai in North Seran. These were nominate priamus – huge and green – fluttering everywhere. All perfect, a seasonal brood. At any instant one could view up to a dozen feeding on the white redtipped corolla blossoms of Cerbera, directly behind our bungalow on the beach. Then, more recently in Mulu NP in Sarawak – I’d gone there to attend InterHash ‘12 or ‘14 – I suddenly became aware of those most brilliant of Birdwings – Raja Brooke’s – swirling round me just 100 yards from the hotel where we were staying, There were hundreds of them, evidently attracted to a flooded and derelict building site. My presence clearly disturbed them, for they were sitting imbibing moisture on the ground. All fresh and brilliant, utterly stunning. And, unremarkably, every single one a male. I’ve not seen the female of the species yet. Do you know anyone who has?