Monday, October 02, 2023
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Blue-eared Barbet

We felt a little like school boys up to no-good pranks when we found this barbet holed up in a dead tree by the swimming pool of the Sabah Hotel, Sandakan. It was surprising to find the nest so close to the noisy pool and restaurant. What's more, the hole was facing the pool and not away to the hillside forest that the hotel sits on.

We were stalking the bird and ocassionally instigating it to peer out. The pool guests in bikinis were also a little perturbed by my long lens setup on tripod. Clearly a voyeur wouldn't be so blatant as to appear in open with his full spying gear.

The Blue-eared Barbet is a common resident in both Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo. It is often heard more than it is seen. I was recently at a carpark in Bukit Tinggi peering up a fruiting tree with two of them going "chritt..chritt-chritt" non-stop. I stayed there for at least 20 minutes, looking and hunting till my neck ached and my ears rang in pain like I had accidentally turned up the volume of my earphones. But I just COULD NOT find it.

It was quite frustrating that a colorful bird like this could be so well camouflaged. So finding a nest is really a nice bonus.