Feathered friends, my day brighteners!

 

DSC_2188

My Phnom Penh mornings are chirp-filled, tweet-filled and music-filled. The musical treat starts at the crack of dawn! The everyday musicale takes place outside my bedroom window, on the Longan tree and the Golden Showers tree. Each one of the choristers tries to excel and outshine the other, yet in perfect harmony! Another interesting fact is that all the choir members are generally very punctual. They entertain me with solo performances, duets and chorus singing!

The early birds are the Pied Fantails (Rhipidura javanica). They are up by 5:30-6 am. Their song starts off like a soft musical conversation that turns into a mellifluous high pitched one. The longan tree is their favourite haunt. These madcap little souls can never sit still. They flit from branch to branch, cock their heads, turn from one side to another, display their beautiful fan-like long tails time and again! I’m not surprised they are nicknamed, the Crazy Thrush.

DSC_1143

 Pied Fantails- my heart warmers!

DSC_2137

 

DSC_2237

I could never click a picture of the hyperactive fantails with their tails spread out. Today’s been my lucky day when one of them posed for me, for a split of a second. To me this was as good a sight as a peacock displaying his plumage and dancing! There’s something called telepathy between Man and birds, no doubt!

My hyperactive little friend

DSC_2239

 

The tailor bird, the common tailorbird(Orthotomus sutorius) comes by seven am to the Golden shower tree;she does her usual round of loud ringing ‘chit-chit’ flitting from bough to bough. And she’s always in such a hurry as she has to go round and circle the house, visit every tree chirruping all the time. It is indeed a tough task for her tiny wings, nevertheless she religiously does that. After the golden shower it’s the bamboo tree, then the rose apple tree in that order. Have I told you about her cousin, the little acrobat, who used to sit and knock at a window of mine every morning for two long months? Later, I shall.

DSC_2045

 The tiny tailor bird

DSC_1422

The tailorbird on the bamboo

DSC_1026

 

After she leaves, comes the Scarlet-backed flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum) with his shrill rattle-like,chime-like call. Unlike the tiny tailor bird, he is never in a hurry. Being so conscious about his looks ( he’s a real dandy, eh), he cleans his onyx-coral plumes, combs them, makes them shine, spends sometime sun bathing and then flies to the next tree. He never forgets to pay a visit to our pomegranate shrub.

The scarlet-backed flower pecker

DSC_1426

 

DSC_1439

Emily Dickinson has beautifully sketched a bird that came down the walk and the lines perfectly suit my little friend, (though he seems to be unafraid most of the time).

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad —
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought,
He stirred his Velvet Head. —

DSC_1418

The sparrows and Bulbuls, not to mention, are omnipresent; this is their home. Our house is home for numberless house sparrows (Passer domesticus). The mango tree and the rose apple tree are homes for the Yellow-vented bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier). When we first came to this house in 2012, there were only two bulbuls and it was the first time I was seeing the yellow-vented bulbuls. The sparrows are the noisiest of the bunch, yet lovable pranksters. They are tireless talkers, as well. In my Saga of A Curry Leaf Plant’, I have bragged about their mischiefs in detail. They are my constant companions. May their tribe increase!

DSC_1370

House sparrows, the impish ones

DSC_0074

DSC_2167

 

DSC_2030

 

on the top of the world

Don’t you think that the bulbuls have that regal air about them?

DSC_1523

 

The bulbuls are a graceful lot. They always have that grave, aristocratic air about them. Their singing is very pleasing and have that bubbly flowing quality. At times they make those shrill alarming calls too. It was such a joy to see the bulbuls’ tribe increasing! Their’s is a big family now…

DSC_1487

 

DSC_1539

The robins, the Oriental magpie-robins (Copsychus saularis) bless my days with richly cadenced raptures! Heavenly music, indeed! They are experts at whistling too! I have heard that they are good at mimicking. Soon after heavy rains, when the air is still dark and gloomy, his melodious music flows from nowhere, lifting your wet spirits! I have dedicated a page for these divine singers in my ‘The Robin is the one…’

DSC_2036

Is this one Ms Dickinson’s own robin who sings among the ‘astonished boughs’?

DSC_1502

The Plaintive cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus) makes its yearly visit by mid November… Her plaintive notes fill our Bassac garden and it can make your moods a bit melancholic, nostalgic and sombre. Ah! this soprano is one of its kind! It’s not easy to get a closer look of her; she hardly comes and perches on the trees around. Looking upwards at the blue skies, sitting on my neighbours’ television antennae, she sings. She has that melancholic look about her. Red eyed, ( is there some untold grief that troubles her and makes her shed a lot of tears?) alone and aloof she is. She can sense my movement behind the curtain and off she flies

DSC_0609

The Plaintive cuckoo, determined to throw some plaintive notes

DSC_2176

Look at her mournful eye!

DSC_2212

It was a surprise yesterday! She came and perched on the Pomelo tree at my backyard, busily eating her breakfast! Today morning I was even more surprised to see a juvenile sitting on the same tree. I’m glad that her woes did not stop the plaintive cuckoo from starting a family.

DSC_2177

He did not know I saw

He bit an Angle Worm in halves

And ate the fellow,raw- Emily Dickinson

DSC_2229

The baby plaintive cuckoo

 DSC_2202

Recently two zebra doves have come and among the thick green foliage of the mango tree, they too found room for a nest. Their soft ‘vrrr vrrr’ staccato cooing also fills my days now. The two new additions to their family have started socialising. They come and sit on the Golden shower tree, next to the pied fantails and sparrows.

DSC_2034

DSC_2081

 ‘ My sister, now our morning meal is done,/Come forth and feel the sun’-Wordsworth

The little siblings are out in the morning DSC_2177

DSC_2163

Their mother is a blue-eyed beauty!

These little winged souls make my days brighter and cheerful. The amazing fact that I have noticed is that on some days all the birds would be present on the same tree at the same time, yet they never crossed each other’s branch! There’s something called Avian etiquette, don’t you think so?

2 thoughts on “Feathered friends, my day brighteners!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: