Fly Away Home

It’s been raining a lot in Manila. To the point of dams overflowing and school being cancelled. We were wondering how the pond was doing. Were pond walls being breached? How would that affect the ducks? I had visions of ducks toppling out of the pond, being carried away by a strong flow of rainwater.

News from the caretaker was not what we expected. The water level in the pond was still low. How could this be? It was time for a quick pond check. Into the car went our wellies. Because we have them! And who knows, we might need them.

It was pretty obvious on the drive to the farm that it’s been raining a lot in Manila but not as much in Batangas.  The road and surrounding areas looked dry.

We were going to walk up to the ponds for a good look. All this time, we have been staying away from the area. We want the ducks to feel safe and comfortable there. Even our caretakers are supposed to stay away, but they do get curious once in a while and tell us about seeing ducks swimming. Uh, you’re not supposed to be that close to the pond!

This was going to be a quick inspection. I had my binoculars, a camera with a zoom lens, and my phone ready to document whatever showed up at the pond. I kept my finger on the shutter button while we silently approached the pond. As we came close, one duck flew out of the pond! So much for stealth. And so much for my dream shot of a duck swimming in our pond! I guess I will have to find some other way to get that shot. We cannot even see the water until we are right next to the pond. Has our caretaker has really seen the duck swimming? Hmm. Maybe what he meant was that he saw them fly out of the pond and that they were most likely swimming right before they flew out.

Over the pond
On Over Golden Pond

There are two ponds. The smaller one has some grass growing in the water. Tonji thinks we should make more of these smaller ponds. They are cheaper and faster to make. I think a small pond will easily get overgrown with plants and be harder to maintain. It will have to re-dug more often.The bigger pond does not have grass growing in the water.

the smaller pond
the smaller pond
the bigger pond
the bigger pond

A week later, Tonji went back to the farm to check up on things. He brought out the tractor to cut the grass on the trails, including some trails that are in the lot next to the pond. According to him, the ducks would fly out of the pond, circle around, then go back to the pond. This is just the behavior we see in other ponds that are inhabited by wild ducks! It looks like “our” ducks are claiming the pond as their home.

One Flew Over The Tonji's Head
One Flew Over The Tonji’s Head

p.s. I changed the name of the blog from Minding the Farm to “Tonji and Sylvia’s Bird Sanctuary”. Now it matches out bird website Tonji and Sylvia’s Bird List.

The blog address is now !

2 thoughts on “Fly Away Home”

  1. Hi Sylvia, Loved your blog. I’m an American that grew up with horses and my husband and I actively ride our two geldings so I appreciated your stories and your learning. 🙂 Great work on the farm and bird sanctuary! Love the owls. 🙂 About 10 years ago my husband started birding and taking pictures of birds. We are coming to the Philippines in January 2016 for a month of birding and diving and I came across your blog as I was searching for information for birds of the Philippines as areas to bird. Thank you also for sharing your bird pics. Wishing you all the continued success with your bird sanctuary. Linda McKean

    1. Hi Linda! Thanks for reading the blog and visiting our bird photography website!
      Have you looked at eBON? It’s the online newletter of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines that I edit. If you haven’t, here’s a link to the Top 10 Must See Birds of the Philippines, compiled by Rob Hutchinson of Birdtour Asia.
      Also check out the website of Birding Adventures Philippines for possible itineraries.

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