Friday, 31 January 2014

At One with Noisy Nature

The Institute for Nature Study is 20 mins walk from the flat so having spent 2 hours up to my elbows in rubber gloves (cleaning), and noticing that the day was a lovely one, I decided to make a break for it. I believe there is an actual establishment there, but basically it is a relatively big forest surrounded on all sounds by bits of highly developed city.

The woodland's history is on the website (and in english) but essentially it's very old and apart from footpaths and the odd bit of tending, it is largely left to get on with it. Bits of tree that fall off or die are left where they are to rot and feed the rest of the forest and plants grow as nature intends them to. It means it is all quite higgledypiggledy.
It also means there are a large number of trees which are too big to get into a single photo.
In my usual way I hopped and hummed my way around the whole place which took about 90 minutes. I wasn't rushing and frequently stopped to stroke the trees and listen to the birds. The trees were highly strokable.
The birds were not so much a delight upon the ear as a cacophany of unavoidable noise. The two birds I have seen most of since I arrived are the common crow, and the brown eared bulbul - and it was these which appear to dominate this location at this time of year. The latter's song is like the cry of a baby bird being slowly roasted to death over a fire (imagine me going "hweeeeeeee" at a really high pitch while simultaneously sounding like I smoke fifty a day, and repeat, and repeat, and you're near), while the caw of the crows is equally pervasive. Combine the two and it really did feel like I was in the jungle of a foreign land.
Me on Safari
Which, me being in Japan and all, is kind of true. The noise of the crows was so incessant and they were so consistently present that I did start to wonder whether perhaps there were not that many of them and I was just being followed around. They are quite clever birds and I have, for instance, played a game of peekaboo with one who likes sitting on the house opposite our kitchen*. They seem to like to see what people are doing so was it truly that a stream of different crows were coming to perch on trees near me and have a look, or was it the same one following me? Does each visitor get assigned a crow by the chief crow, who would be like Baron Silas Greenback, the villain from Dangermouse, although admittedly on further study he is a toad and I had him confused with his henchman, Stiletto Mafiosa, who was indeed a crow. Or have I just been re-reading Thief of Time recently and got Quoth on the brain?

* What happened was I had put some toast crusts out on the balcony outside the kitchen for the birds and one of the crows had noticed. Crows are fairly hated in Tokyo as they make loads of mess trying to get into rubbish bags and bins so they are very wary of people. This one started off by checking out the situation by sitting on some of the power lines outside the kitchen, where I was washing up. It could see me, which it didn't like, so instead of hopping onto the balcony it flew onto the edge of a slightly higher flat roof that gave it a better view into the kitchen. I looked straight at it, and it backed up a little bit, which meant it vanished from my view because of it being on a higher flat roof. I backed up a step too so I could again make eye contact with it and it backed up a bit further. I backed up again and it ducked its head right down for about 30 seconds before lifting it up again to see if I'd gone. I hadn't so it ducked down again. At this point I thought I should just let the little bugger get the bread (I've nothing personally against crows and think they are rather impressive) so I closed the kitchen blinds and retired from the battle of wills.
Welcome to Crow Country
I know we all have a tendency to endow animals with human characteristics, but they do always seem very clever to me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe that applying human characteristics to animals or anything non-human is called Anthropomorphism, anthropomorphic etc... I am sure most of us do it from time to time. :-)

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