“Bird Park?” I asked
“Look here” I peered into Bee’s Nokia Lumia as he explained “The KL Bird Park. Its in the Lake Gardens area. In the same complex, there is a Butterfly park and an Orchid park as well. I will suggest we go to the bird park first, then check out the others. What do you say?”
By that time, I had had my day’s fill of buildings and monuments. Anything that would take me away from looking at buildings sounded good enough for me. “YES!” I enthused. Within minutes, we had flagged down a taxi and were on our way to the KL Bird park.
Situated at the heart of the city, the lake gardens comprise The KL Bird Park, an Orchid Garden, A Deer Park, A Hibiscus Garden (Hibiscus being the National Flower of Malaysia) and the KL Butterfly Park. The closest station to the Lake Gardens is the KL Sentral. It is also very close to the National Museum. So, you can get to see many attractions – if you have time on your side!
The KL Bird Park is one of the best attractions in the city for bird lovers- or if you are with kids ! Housing over 3000 birds of over 200 species, over 20acres of land in the heart of the city are bound to make you feel at peace. Inspite of being right at the center of the city, it is very far removed from the hustle of city-life!
Once there, we got ourselves tickets, each costing RM48. It came with a map of the park and a brightly colored wrist bracelet (made of paper) – which makes you feel like you are entering a discotheque!
The first section of the park housed parrots, parakeets and love birds- of every imaginable shape, size and color. As we were admiring the birds and clicking their pictures, bee noticed something move on the ground. “Look!” He cried excitedly. It gave me a scare, but I looked where he was now pointing and to my amazement found little mice scampering around, sharing the birds’ food!
The next section was dedicated to water birds. “Bee… “ I had spotted a big pelican sitting calmly on the edge of a pond. Bee looked at my amazed expression and laughed out loud. “Why don’t you go and sit next to it. I will capture it on camera” He suggested. “I am scared, Bee… It’s too big! What if it pecks me with its beak? Or, if slaps me with its wings? It’s bigger than me” I said, horrified by the idea of sitting so close to a creature that big! “Remember Animal Planet? If they can do it, so can you. And, if it wasn’t safe, the park authorities wouldn’t let it roam free” While we were talking, a kid, no more than 8-9yrs old, walked in with his dad, posed next to the pelican for a shot and left calmly.
That assuaged most of my fears, but when I did sit next to the bird, I still kept a fairly large gap between us!
We moved on- spotting one beautiful pair of wings after another!
The park is more than 20Acres large . It was but natural that by the time we had covered one half circuit, we were pretty tired.
“Bee, lets rest for some time, please..”
“Ok, let’s just go around the next corner and find a place to sit”
By the tenth re-run of this conversation snippet till I realized that we had been “going round the next corner” for more than half an hour! I had had enough!!
“Bee! I am not going another step!” I put my foot down this time.
He laughed hard and said “OK… let’s get up on the waterfall and then we will take a break. Promise”
So we did go up to the waterfall, where I rested while he continued clicking pics through a sheet of water.
It was now lunchtime- for our feathered friends. As the park rangers brought in food (in the form of fish for the fish-itarians, and seeds for the vegetarians) we looked on in complete wonder and amazement… “Bee, this is live animal planet + Nat Geo” I gushed. “They see and capture these shots in the wild… This is a child’s play for them. Rather, this in not at all their playfield” He said continuing his video-graphy of the feast.
Does watching someone eat (especially close to lunch hour) make you feel hungry too? Well, it makes me hungry for sure! So you guessed what happened next!
Yes! I had to have something to eat 😀 😀
As we started our way back, my eyes fell on something very far off. “Bee, do you see that red spot on that tree?” I pointed to where I imagined a red bird was hiding in the trees. “Doesn’t look like a bird from here- more like a plastic bag stuck to the branches. Want to get a closer look? ” I followed Bee to the distance. The landscape here was a little hilly- as compared to where we had come down from. We were still within the park premises and we crossed a small bridge, below which an entire peacock clan was considering siesta!
Right across the bridge was a tall fence on our right and a deep, albeit gentle gorge our left. We went to investigate what these fences were hiding.
We didn’t have to go far enough. An ostrich, at least twice my height was spying on us from a distance- well inside the fence limits! As we moved closer, it loomed large… “I feel like a Liliput!” The ostrich moved closer to the fence to get a good look at me. I flinched ever so slightly. It kept moving closer- menacingly now. I faltered and took a step back. It stopped on it tracks and started at me long enough to make its message clear- This was his territory and we were trespassing AND He didn’t like it!
I have never been more humbled before. All this while we were celebrating the superiority of the human race in communicating our feelings – over other beings; we are, after all, the only species who has language as a tool to communicate…The truth was, these languages seem to divide us instead of uniting us by communicating. I was no longer so sure about our species being the best. These animals, whether out in the wild, or tamed, or even in captivity- they don’t need a language to communicate and yet, they can get their message across not only to their own kind, but also to us!
I backed off, still deep in thought as I saw bee walking precariously down the gorge!
“Bee! What are you doing!”
“Shh…..” He pointed out towards a tree. I was furious with him risking going down there all by himself (more so, after my not so friendly encounter with the big guy right across the fence). He continued going down, crouching low and making no sound. Infuriated as I was with his foolhardiness, I followed his line of sight.
Shielding itself from the afternoon sun behind a thick canopy, a Bright Red Ibis was perched on the tall branches of a tree! Its hard to imagine a bird that bright!
Meanwhile, Bee went berserk with the camera- and shot tens of hundreds of pictures of the elusive one! OK, his antics did make me smile again- but I was still worried about him having gone into the wilderness all by himself (You see, I couldn’t muster the courage to go down there myself- which made it more infuriating!)
“That’s enough, Bee- you have lots of pics of the red “Plastic Bag”” I teased “Now come back- lets go” And then, just as be was putting the cover back on the lens- he spotted something more….
“Ohh… Red Riding Hood’s got a suitor!”
A black Ibis- about the same size as the red one, walked down the same branch to cuddle up with the former !
“Bee, Chalo please! ” I called out nervously. He had been gone for a long time now. “OK, coming up” He said and started back. Just as he reached the top, a peahen led her little one down the same slopes – completely ignoring Bee & me! We clicked a few pics of the mom-kid duo and walked back, linking arms and reviewing the pics!
That evening, fatigue did take a toll, and we slept like logs!!