February has been a great month for hanging out at the sanctuary. The oppressive heat of summer is still a future concern. The ground is still nice, moist, and yielding. It only took Tonji nine days to dig up Pond Number 5. I was able to clear a big swathe of hagonoy in a new area using just my hori-hori hand knife. Momo and Barkley enjoyed long morning walks through refreshing dew-covered grass, with stops every so often to admire the birds!
The Agohos are among the fastest growing of the trees we’ve planted. Their height makes them a popular perch of the orioles and crows.
We saw 5 species of doves in February. We had Philippine Cuckoo Dove, Zebra Dove, Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Spotted Dove, and Philippine Collared Dove. The Philippine Collared Dove was perched on the wires along our entrance road. We saw it on the same wire on two different weekends.
Tali and Laiya are still around. Will they stay through summer? Or are they migrants?
Tali vs Crow
There are small flocks of Olive-Backed Sunbirds high in the Madre de Cacao flowers, Chestnut Munias in the grassy areas, and jewel toned Bee-eaters on low branches.
The Malabulak trees produced buds! Last year we saw only one bud that didn’t even become a flower. Tonji thinks next year will be a great year for the Malabulak.
The hot days of summer are fast approaching. All to soon it will be time to say goodbye to the cool weather and hello summer and summer projects!
So many things are flowering! It’s a good time to revisit Botany in a Day by Thomas J. Elpel. I could not understand this book when I bought it years ago. I recently brought it out again and find it easier to understand now that I am sketching the plants. Most of the keys use flowers to ID the plant.
The weather is great for walking around in the late afternoon with Momo and Barkley and my sketchbook. It’s a good idea to let them run around at the start of the walk and then do my sketching while they’re resting!
It was great to see Barkley so full of energy. Earlier this year, I noticed that Barkley couldn’t walk as far as he used to walk. We finally figured out that there was a problem with his teeth. So sad, his teeth must have hurt a lot. The vet removed 3 teeth and now he’s full of energy again.
One of the first seedlings we planted are the Malabulak (Bombax ceiba) we received from Dr. Ed Gomez. He brought in a lot of seedlings to plant in our village, but the village never got around to planting them. So he gave them to us instead.
Malabulak sheds its leaves every year even as seedlings. It’s very stressful to see the seedling you planted standing completely bare-headed and looking exactly like a dead stick.
This year we noticed something new! The Malabulak is taking on a new, more adult form. It has branches! The green stems growing from the trunk are now brown and woody!