Missed the entire February and did not visit the refuge at all.
March is hot, as expected. But still windy! We are trying to keep all the young trees going until rainy season. We have more than 150 Toog trees in the nursery ready to be planted during rainy season.
The birds are loud! We could hear Koels calling from different parts of the refuge. How many are there? It sounded like a lot! We also heard a Hawk Cuckoo near the cottage.
The birds also looked bigger somehow! Perhaps I’ve been away too long and have gotten used to small urban garden birds. Or I’m out of practice. On my usual walk around with the dogs, I would see a movement and think –what is that??
This Lesser Coucal that walked across the path made me think — is that a mammal? No, it’s a bird skulking stealthily into the bushes!
These Island Collared Doves looked huge!
This Scaly Breasted Munia looked regular sized. It was nice though to have one approach closely.
I was also very relieved to see two Philippine Ducks! We did not see any Philippine Ducks in January and it made us wonder if something bad happened to them. Did they get shot? We saw two of them flying out from the grass. When we see them walking in the grass and flying low over the grass, it makes us think that maybe, hopefully there is a nest in the grass and they are breeding in our refuge!
Tara, one of our horses passed away in February. It was sad to see the mound of stones in the paddock where she was buried.
Right now there is a lockdown and we are stuck in Metro Manila. The time spent days looking at birds and trees and wondering about the next new bird we will spot at the refuge is a wonderful gift. I am grateful!
This is my illustration project starring Momo, Barkley, and Lulu!
June – We are building a new pond in the picnic area. Each time we start a pond, we have hopes of it being bigger than the previous ponds. There’s a lot of space for a big pond, but is there enough time to dig before rainy season starts?
July – One of the Mangkono seedlings we planted last year has a flower! This is at the planting area near the old bridge. The seedling is still very small. From afar it looked like a rose!
August – We went inside the “foresty” part of the refuge to look for ferns! I painted Barkley holding scissors instead of a digging tool! We all had a lot of fun exploring the area and admiring the plants growing by the rocks.
September – Barkley in the lead, Momo at the rear, Lulu in the middle. More often nowadays Barkley will skip the walk to go swimming instead! Momo still enjoys going for walks. He smells so many interesting things in the grass! I think he can smell the spots where the bigger birds like ducks and rails were hanging out.
When I get frustrated with drawing birds, there’s always Barkley! You can always count on him to take a nice nap during the day. And look really cute while he’s doing it.
Barkley sleeping and sunbathing
Unlike those birds! When I see a bird perched nicely, I grab my sketching gear! Sometimes, the bird is gone by the time I’ve pulled out my sketchbook and pencil. If the bird stays in the area, then it’s a very intense few minutes of looking through the binoculars or scope and sketching and painting.
At the end, I’m always surprised when I look at my sketchbook and see how few bird sketches I’ve made. It always feels like I drew a lot!