Thursday, April 4

a garden by the stream and a green-eyed butterfly

it turned out to be another bird turned butte trip. maybe because it was butterfly lady/guru lydia who arranged the outing!

it was supposed to be a casual affair, we had been invited by teacher emma to visit her home & garden at a residential area just on the outskirts of metro manila. adri & i had heard of the place before, although we had never been, as there was a school there which actively exposed their students to nature through various activities including birdwatching. a small stream ran thru the subdivision, and it became the school-wide base for lessons in natural history.

as we entered the gate, we were greeted by a beautiful garden which complemented the natural rolling landscape. a little green chirping frog sitting on a lily pad on the pond welcomed us.



that same stream championed by the school flowed beside the property of  teacher emma, providing the soothing sound of gurgling water coupled with the creaking of bamboo stems swaying in the wind. bird calls filled the air as we sat down to exchange stories with teacher emma and teacher henry (who heads the school projects centered around the conservation of the river ecosystem) over breakfast. teacher emma's dining area was surrounded by huge open bay windows which made the inside feel like the outside.

later, we took a walk around the property and went down to the stream. on our walk, we spotted several birds including yellow-vented and philippine bulbuls, red-keeled flowerpeckers, elegant tits, grey-backed tailorbirds, pied fantails, oriental magpie robins, brown shrikes, black-naped orioles and a white-throated kingfisher.




a barred rail quickly ran up stream's bank upon sighting us. as we sat down on the dry rocks on the stream bed, a grey wagtail moved in the vegetation several meters downstream and an indigo-banded kingfisher zipped between us.

despite the abundance of birds, opportunities to photograph birds were very limited for that morning, but the more delicate winged creatures made up for that. in fact,  lycaenids were very common, flitting about like lights opening and closing as their undersides peeked through. we were able to document at least four species, and this thrilled both lydia and myself as we were bid fans of this family of lepidopterans.

one butterfly decided lydia's skin was a salty treat.


little lycaenids tinier than my small fingers' nail  flew around the grass at our feet.


another species was busy drinking up salts and minerals from dried leaves and the wet ground by the stream...



... and was even caught in the act of starting a new generation.

the most interesting one was a pale grey lycaenid with beautiful celadon green eyes!  at least 2 individuals posed quite politely, and we were able to get excellent documentation.




there were other butterflies as well, although most of the larger ones flew about actively in the heat of the day, refusing to perch.

a common leopard (Phalantha phalantha phalantha -love its scientific name!) finally perched on a bougainvillea leaf, although quite a distance from me.


as we were leaving, a mapwing suddenly appeared and we quickly retrieved our  cameras for a shot,


and an Ypthima sp. satyrid perched nearby to show us its owl eyes on both the upper-  and under-side.



as the morning progressed, we moved back indoors and drank super refreshing iced tamarind juice as more stories were exchanged.  when it was finally time to go, we said our long goodbyes, hesitant to leave such a lovely place. much thanks for the hospitality shown to us by our (just as lovely) host.


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