Wednesday, September 5, 2007

For the Birds

One thing I miss about our house right smack in the middle of the rainforest (literally across the street from the jungle, futilely held back by chicken wire) is the abundance of tropical birds. We had green parrots nesting in the trees scattered down the slope right beneath our patio and vibrantly yellow birds that flew past in huge flocks a thousand times a day. On our way to the beach (our community was in a bay area), we would see metallic blue and red hued kingfishers sitting on telephone lines. Taking walks around the neighborhood, I would always peer at the dense foliage because every now and then a flash of color would appear. At the school where I taught, the children shared their lunches with friendly crows (that probably equalled the humans in population) and the cats that we were forever having a debate on whether to keep ("They keep the snake population down."; silently, "They're cute! How could you?") or drive away ("They carry disease, smell foul, reproduce incessantly, and mess with exhibits.") - they finally got the animal welfare/control people over and had them neutered.
I don't miss living so cut off from civilization. I love having nature so close by, but one not as wild as what we had right outside our doorstep. We had all sorts of insects biting at human flesh every chance they got, razorbacks strolling down the sidewalk, monkeys tripping on sending your car careening off cliffs, and huge lizards popping out from hiding just to freak you out. I could do without them in my neighborhood, no problem. The birds are another thing entirely. We used to wake up to the cacophony of different chirps, hoots, tweets... My Mom, whenever she visited, could sit still for hours just listening to the different birdsongs. She got so she could tell which breed of bird a particular sound belonged to. Besides the nonstop twittering, there was also the periodic tattoo from woodpeckers pecking away at trees. I remember waking up Saturday mornings and thinking, "What a blessing to wake up to the harmony of birds." (I can get a little slushy during rush-free mornings:-p. Anyway, it's good to start the day thankful.).
When Husband and I moved back to the city, I was seven months pregnant and had developed an aversion to that place in the mountains. I had begun to feel oppressed by the seclusion and had felt, ironically, that it was all so unnatural. Despite my vehemence then (I'm less vehement now) at denying that I would miss it, I did concede that I was going to miss the birds. I was able to hunt up some pictures (most of our pics from there were lost in a computer crash - a lesson to always, ALWAYS back up). They were taken by my aunt who was visiting then from the US.

Here's the view from our patio. Those railings separate our patio from the rest of the hill.

Here's another angle. Those railings also keep us from plummeting down to the Wolfe's backyard.

Here's the jungle being kept away by that fence. The snakes and monitor lizards aren't very good at heeding the fence.

Watch out for monkeys crossing. Or just serenely sitting in the middle of the road.

Now, we still get birdsong in the morning. It doesn't matter that it comes from less exotic birds; it remains to be a delight. My Mom and I have always been fond of birdwatching. Lately, we've had to settle ourselves into being backyard birdwatchers. We used to walk through the river parks nearby and see something other than the token sparrow and pigeon, but since it's monsoon season, we limit ourselves to this:

It doesn't have occupants yet, but we're not about to give up hope. The three-door bird condo near it has a bird feeder attached to it, so that one gets more traffic (will take a picture soon). With this one though, we see a sparrow rest on it for a nanosecond before flying off and we get excited (Marguerite also thinks it's coo- or wow!-worthy). The many thrills of birding, lol. Next time I write about it, there'll be pictures of actual birds in the post, lol.

Note: I'm not certain how accurately I identified the birds cited above, but the pictures from these links were the closest I could find.


tin said...

I was trying to look for photos we took from your house, but I can't seem to find any :(

Buti na lang I never encountered snakes whenever I visited.

spinninglovelydays said...

snakes aren't all that bad (hee!) =) anyway, you probably did, you just didn't know, lol

Mary said...

Hi. Just searching for Pinoy homeschoolers and found your blog. Wow, your place look like paradise. What part of the Philippines you reside? My family is planning on moving to Baguio. We are currently in the U.S.

Mary Ann

spinninglovelydays said...

hi, mary ann. thanks. i miss the old place. right now i live in marikina. it's an actual city, but with a quaint small-town atmosphere (but then i'm partial to it since my family goes a long way back). baguio is awesome, but quite a distance from manila. i think you'll love it there. :)