I left the house around 4:20. I took my former favorite trail to avoid the highway. I saw some farmers already tilling their land for their next crop. I observe the same thing in the morning when I rode my bike. Farmers seem to hurry a lot. There is already a next crop about a week after the harvest. Even while other crops have not yet harvested. As I passed by the farmers tilling their land, I noticed that Herons were not alone in their symbiosis with tractor. A smaller white bird almost that looked like a small seagull were also flying around the tilled land behind the tractor. I need to identify this bird.

I just stopped for a while to take a photo of an old water pump around the end of the trail. The effect of the sunlight on it caught my attention.

I moved on and realized while I was at the wall that it actually takes me a lot of time biking towards wherever I need to conduct my fieldwork. If I will conduct it within San Jacinto, it takes me around 30-40 minutes just biking. This is the reason why, ideally, I really need to leave the house earlier if I want to have enough time observing. If I leave home by 3:00 pm, I could arrive at the place by 3:30 pm and since I go home around 6:00 pm when it really starts to get dark (at least at this time of the year), this means that I have about 2.5 good hours for observation. While biking on the wall, I also saw a mother hugging child while at the middle of field. When I reached the CIS, I walked towards the pond. Someone was singing in the karaoke. I knew my observation would be challenging but I pressed on. I’ll find a spot that is less noisy.

I saw a very young cow sleepy under the sun.

I saw an interesting unidentified blue bird with an interesting song. I really need to find a good guide book on birds in the Philippines.

I started noticing how diverse the variety of species in the pond is and how the water creates this diversity as well as the fact that the small forest is undisturbed.

No one was in the pond at that time. Only a few people passed by riding on their motorcycles.

As I avoided the noise, I looked for a way to circle the pond and go near one of its banks. I found that there was actually a path around the rice field. I didn’t see this the other day probably because it was already dark. I followed the path and entered the small spaces between bushes and I found this spot which was opposite the fish cages.

There was a lone cow that bellowed very loudly when I was around. Maybe it felt threatened.

Then the most extraordinary thing happened. I witnessed and took a photo of cows drinking water from the pond! Amazing!

The birds I saw yesterday, one of them returned around the same time.

I heard a bird song for 5 minutes but I didn’t really get what it meant.

I saw a small, thin man come down the pond to put on his net. When he approached to use the path I was sitting on, I asked him what kinds of fishes they get from the pond. He said tilapia or carp. I asked if these were cultured. He said, no. So these were wild fishes. Where is the water coming from?

While observing, I applied Brian Mertins’ questions.

How many different species am I seeing?

  • I identified about six birds: the common sparrow which flocked over the tree below where the water falls, a small black swallow that I also see in the fields, a lone navy blue bird, the brown stout bird that came to the pond early evening when the boys left, maria capra, and a heron.
  • There were about eight trees around the pond.
  • There were a lot of shrubs but I saw about 10 different species.

How many different aged trees am I seeing?

The age of trees are different. There were about two of them around the pond which were really old. Some of them about the same age, maybe middle-aged trees.

Am I at the edge or the interior of this forest?

The species are variant. I am definitely not in the interior of a forest.

I saw that the pond (or maybe a part of a river?) is still wide and there are other spots I could use for observation. I am not done doing fieldwork in this area.

Other Field Notes

  • Read the clouds. Read the birds.
  • How can I be truly authentic?
  • You know you’re good in mindfulness while in Nature when someone singing katawan katawan in the background and you fins yourself still enjoying your walk despite.