Monday, 26 August 2013

Life in a Roundabout

I was feeling quite disgruntled. The Blobfish had abandoned our expedition to the distant lands of Sixth Avenue's foresty-thingamajig, home to maybe a couple Common Birdwings (squee!) and perhaps pangolins (double squee!!!) because- and I kid not- she was sweaty. Honestly! The Blobfish, ready to risk her life (or at least a limb or two (ok, fine, maybe just a couple bruises)), was driven to stay at home because she was SWEATY. I mean, it was only as hot as the typical Singaporean day... maybe a couple degrees above that.... but that was when butterflies came out, wasn't it?.... and it was better than rain....
So I stormed out of the house as only a true butterfly can and marched to the roundabout. I was only meaning to make a point of my displeasure, check for kingfishers on the other side of the fence, dragonflies in the roundabout, and then come marching back and say ha-ha! to the Blobfish's face. First stop, the roundabout. Basically, once you entered my condo, there's a roundabout with roads leading off to the various apartments. The roundabout itself is a circle (no, doh!) ringed with the eternal pink flowers and some green stuff. But one day, exploring with N, I found an overgrown entrance into the hidden inner circle that had been lost to the ravages of time until now... The inner circle was dark, mysterious, and filled with assassins. You had to perform secret rituals to enter.
It was a circle. With a path around it. And birds-of-paradise flowers in the middle. But, you are almost guaranteed to see a dragonfly there every time you visit and thus it is a pre-fixed stop on all of my expeditions. But this time, as I stormed my way through the bushes there were no dragonflies seductively settling on a plant and flittering away as soon as I got within clicking distance. Instead, there was just the rhythmic sound of a bird tweeting. I sighed irritably... and then a spark of movement caught my eye. I looked up, and there, tweeting away, was a bird I would later identify as a Dark-Necked Tailorbird but for now just recognized as a bird I'd seen before, but never in Astrid Meadows. My heart started to beat faster, I deftly switched the camera on and lifted it to my eyes. Yup, that was it. Suddenly, looking around, the trees were full of them, the more flashy males and the dull females, all chirping the same repetitive song that in my eyes now seemed like that of the angels. The Blobfish was forgotten. School was forgotten. All that was left in the world was the tailorbirds (maybe I should have asked them to stitch me a coat while I was at it!) drifting along on a cotton-candy cloud. I watched them with delight as they hopped from one branch to the next.
Dark-Necked Tailorbird tweeting its beloved heart out...

Suddenly, I noticed a yellow-vented bulbul flutter off too, and I smiled at it in its commonness. Oh, little bulbul. You are surrounded by the company of the Great Tailorbirds. Do you not realize the honor that is being done to you? Then a  pigeon came over and I frowned at it darkly. Oh, terrible pigeon. Go away! A mynah joined the party and I didn't give it a second glance. Then an olive-backed sunbird came down and I decided that maybe it deserved a photo as the tailorbirds for the moment were all hidden but still very much audible. My cup was runneth-ing over with a lot of happiness so the whole world was to be loved. Except mynahs. And pigeons. And then the waiter came and filled my cup over with a whole 'nother jug of that drink, happiness. I was getting quite drunk with it by now. Because there, pecking away at a tree, was a woodpecker. I squinted at it. Was it a Common Flameback? No, it was just black and white... Oh my God, it was a new one! I had only ever seen it before in India, and had seen it the other day in my field guide.
It was a Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, btw. A PYGMY WOODPECKER!!!! The world just gets stranger and stranger.

I got my camera out and watched it eagerly. It was only after a little while that I realized that maybe the Blobfish would want to see these birds. Yeah, she didn't want to get too SWEATY... but... I didn't have time to finish the thought because I was already sprinting out of the roundabout to my house.

The Glasswing Butterfly
P.S. Comment if you have a place I should find Life in... next!

video


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Hello, commenter.
Nice to know you're showing interest in what we're doing. The Glasswing Butterfly and the Blobfish urge you to be nice while commenting and will hunt you down and find you if you aren't. You don't want to see a near-invisible butterfly and a gloppy slimy blob outside your front door. Trust me.