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Think outside the (bird) box in Cambodia

August 30, 2019 - Few things pull you out of a funk like cheerful birdsong or the appearance of a beautiful butterfly. Knowing that nature is essential to human health, Six Senses Krabey Island has recently launched a bird and butterfly watching experience.

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Blending into the lush canopy of trees and tropical landscape, Six Senses Krabey Island is a haven for rich ecosystem diversity. A 15-minute cruise from the mainland (by boat or wings), the island is a tranquil oasis in which to escape life’s stresses and reconnect with a number of rare species.

Feathered friends

Birds are some of the best ambassadors from the natural world at a time of unprecedented biodiversity loss. With their song, plumage patterns, colors and antics, they invite us to learn about them and the ecosystems they inhabit. So far, we have spotted 15 different species of birds on the island, two of which are seasonal.

Our highlight is the Oriental Pied Hornbill, with its distinctive black-and-white plumage and trademark long bill and casque (knob) on top of the bill. Hornbills eat mainly fruit from the fig trees and insects, and they often forage in pairs or small groups. They play an important role as they disperse seeds that are too big for smaller birds to eat. Their call is described as a cackling or yak-yak-yak, which is not dissimilar to a witch on a broomstick!

If you are lucky, you may also spot a migratory Indian Paradise Flycatcher, with its elongated central tail feather. They tend to feed on insects, which they capture in the air, often below a densely canopied tree. You may hear them before you see them, as they are noisy birds with a call similar to a ‘shriek’. They typically breed between May and July.

You’ll come to see that birds don’t live in isolation. Each species interacts with numerous other animals and plants, as well as other elements such as weather systems. You’ll also hone your senses and learn to observe little details as well as accumulate knowledge of each species. Research has shown that cumulative activities like bird watching can bring us a lot of satisfaction and pleasure.

Butterfly spotting

Moving from two wings to four, butterfly spotting is now a popular weekly activity. So far, 28 butterfly species have been sighted on the island. From an egg to a caterpillar and cocoon to butterfly, the life cycle can be as short as a week or as long as a year. Everyone has a different opinion on the most beautiful, but the Archduke is unusual as the female has a completely different color scheme to the male.

The Yellow Moth begs the question: what’s the difference between a moth and a butterfly? Broadly speaking, butterflies rest with their wings closed, while moths rest with them open. Butterflies have long, thin antennas, while moths have shorter, feathery antennas. Wander the boardwalks around the perimeter of Six Senses Krabey Island during the day and you’ll probably see more butterflies; light the lanterns on the deck at the Sunset Bar and you’re more likely to spot a moth.  

Butterflies and moths are extremely valuable indicators of the state of the environment. Ongoing recording and monitoring programs help direct conservation efforts as well as assess the current environmental quality giving preference to clean air. A few precious moments spent watching these stunning species enables us to gather valuable data, while never failing to bring a smile and soothe the soul. Conservation programs are also in the pipeline for our birdlife, with the provision of feeding trays and construction of nest boxes underway. 

A vast range of activities

Six Senses Krabey Island offers an abundance of experiences, from snorkeling the cerulean seas and rich coral reefs to island hopping, organic farm, children’s club, open-air cinema and sky observatory. No visit is complete without a visit to the glass-roofed Six Senses Spa for an elbow-heavy, deep-tissue Khmer massage complete with lighthouse view of the island.

For more information about Six Senses Krabey Island experiences, please call +855 69 944 888 or email [email protected].

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