These days are hectic; upcoming Orchid Congress in Singapore, preparing the garden for the upcoming tourist season and a constant eye on the clouds, also at night. Some rains during the past few days. No problems since we are well prepared.
The birds also seem busy. Many migrants from the north make a stop at Dokmai Garden. Currently we have many white herons, both Great Egret and Intermediate Egret. The Chinese pond-heron is funny. It looks like an old brown folded leaf of a propeller tree (Dipterocarpus tuberculatus) from a distance, but when you get close he would suddenly unfold his snow-white wings and the leaf flies away. A perfect camouflage now in the winter season. We also had a visit of the Black eagle. It is a resident, presumably quite uncommon but since our eagle lives nearby we see him now and them. All black with a long tail, and he usually flies low. Right now he looks a bit shabby. Like our chicken and guinea fowl, being constantly wet puts your feathers in great need for a spa. We have more Hoopoes now during the Chinese winter, although there is usually one or two also in the breeding season.
Our frequent visitors will notice that we have recently removed the aviary and released the silver pheasant. The immediate decision was based on the sudden disappearance of the female. Stolen? Python? Cat? We do not know. When the male was released he got into trouble with a stray dog and so he has a limp at the moment. He tends to jump towards me, and I thought it was because he expected food. Yesterday I just passed him and he began jumping after me. I said something impolite about him being a beggar, but then Ketsanee remarked “look, he has plenty of food”. Indeed that morning he was served a constant buffet with rice and clean water. Apparently he just wanted to be near me, feeling protected from murderous dogs and the cocky rooster. I felt guilty and so I wanted to just hug him and comfort him, but I guess he would freak out so I just talked kindly to him. He is a very polite listener.
Photo of the Dokmai Garden silver pheasant by Donald Rumsey