Sunday, September 18

While waiting for BBS*

*BBS = Backyard Brown Shrike

The garden has been high in bird activity the past few weeks. This is mostly because the rambutan is fruiting, but it's also because the migrant brown shrikes are slowly trickling in. The ripening of the rambutan coincides with the return of these feisty birds leading to the jostling for position and re-drawing of territories for the season.

Probably least concerned with the return of the migrants are the Large-billed Crows. A pair of them always lands on the tree outside our bedroom window in the morning, their loud cawing in dissonance with the pleasant dawn chorus.

At center stage are the lovable green Colasisi, twittering the day away in the rambutan trees.  I have seen as many as 6 individuals on a single tree, slowly picking away at the thick red rind to get to the juicy white flesh of the fruit.

Small quarrels would erupt as they fought for the ripest fruit, or stood guard over their carefully opened treat.  

Joining in the feast are a few shrewd Yellow-vented Bulbuls, on the look out for already opened fruit.  They fly in to enjoy their own feast.

The Colasisi feed most actively during the morning and late afternoon.  At midday, we would hear their soft chirping as they rested. It was almost comical to watch them dropping their heads while falling asleep after their meal, their bellies probably full of the sweet fruit.

Elsewhere in the garden, the Philippine Pied Fantail still rules, its melodious call resonating from every corner. It flies back and forth around the yard, turning with a sharp snap of its wings and graceful fanning of its tail.

The pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds, which occupy the shared corner with the next door yard, are already being bullied by the neighbor's BBS. What can they do but sing loudly from their clothesline perch in protest.

I am certain that the large flocks of Eurasian Tree Sparrows will disperse as soon as BBS arrives, the young ones had better learn quickly to avoid the king when he returns.

True to their less popular name, the Peaceful Doves (Zebra Doves), continue to be placid amidst the haste of the changing season.  They quietly forage in the grass, or preen while perched on branch or electric wire.  Their quiet cooing is only interrupted when they take off, surprised by the slightest of movements.

And the wait for the arrival of BBS continues.


  1. Is this the most awesome backyard or what? I really enjoy your backyard photo essays. Greart narration and photos as always!

    1. Thank you Sylvia! I loooove our backyard, always something going on. :-)