The year long Ear(ed) Ache finally came to an end this weekend. After seeing pictures on social media last week of the first feeding Eared Pittas at Luung Sin’s, I just knew I had to drop everything and get there as soon as I could. Last year I had made the trip 5 times with no luck of any decent pictures. The first trip of 2015 only rewarded me with a beak, as the hen was tightly tucked up in her nest incubating her eggs. The following three trips looked promising, but only to be greeted with disappointment on each visit as each time the nests had been raided by natural predators and left abandoned. I got one final chance in October as a late breeding pair had been discovered and were feeding. The final visit was looking good until this trip was also dashed by an unfortunate and terrible accident involving a young lad on a motorcycle and the front of my truck. The whole day was spent at the police station whereas it should have been spent in the jungle. 2015 did not finish as a good year!!
So, after seeing these recent posts, I got my spot reserved (thanks to Ray Pearce) at Luung Sin’s. After spending the evening at a friend’s party, getting up at 3am was not an easy task, I kid you not! But nothing was going to stop me from laying this Ear(ed) Ache to rest, once and for all.
Arriving at 6:30am, I met up with Khun Sin and he showed me to the site. The fantastic Eared Pitta didn’t take long to show up with his beak full of worms. Feeding was constant with trips by the male being made every 5-10 minutes. Although I had the whole place to myself until around 9am, the light was not too good and it was proving difficult to see the bird out in the open for decent shots. Intermittent rain showers didn’t do too much to help either.
As the morning drew on, some better shots were coming my way and I was beginning to feel that I had some good shots in the bag. Suddenly I was distracted by an accipiter which landed in a nearby tree. I grabbed the camera off the tripod and rattled off a few handheld shots. Initially I thought Crested Goshawk or Crested Honey Buzzard. When I got home and checked the pictures, and with a little help from Peter Ericsson, we concluded that what I had shot was actually a Jerdon’s Baza, an excellent lifer to add to an already great day for me. I stayed until midday improving on my Eared pictures (I think) until it was time to leave. Finally, the Ear(ed) ache was gone…..