After a throughly enjoyable yet unproductive day on the slopes of Mount Merapi in search of the Javan Hawk eagle, Panji, my Indonesian guide decided to show me a small park in Yogyakarta that is a hotspot for kingfishers. Situated near the university, we found a small lake surrounded by some trees of substantial age. Despite its proximity to a football stadium we recorded 6 species, however light conditions and uncooperative subjects resulted in poor photos not suitable for sharing.
- Yellow-vented Bulbul
- Blue-eared Kingfisher
- Olive-backed Sunbird
- White-breasted Waterhen
- Common Iora
- Barred Buttonquail
We had just decided to do one more circuit of the lake when we heard an animal call.Panji has a gifted ear for local bird calls and declared that this was a new call to him. He thought it was a cat, but I was unsure – it just didn’t seem mammalian to me. So a quick hunt resulted in us discovering a Common Tree Frog (Polypedates leucomystax) locked in the jaws of a Painted Bronzeback snake (Dendralaphis pinctus).
The frog was quite large and he was giving quite a fight by grabbing on to anything that he could to prevent the snake from pulling him away into the tree. Unfortunately, the snake was proving too worthy a competitor and the frog was clearly loosing.
It is difficult observing this type of behaviour, it’s instinctive to want to help the prey, who’s piercing alarm call was still being repeated. But the rule of not interfering is a well placed one, who am I to judge that the frogs survival is more important than the snake?
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