Friday, September 08, 2006


To be honest, our first reaction to arriving in Ubud this time round was one of disappointment. By the time we checked in at Tegal Sari on that first night and had taken our shoes off on the porch of No. 11, it was past 11 p.m. But, even in the dark, we could see that the padi fields right in front of No. 11 were mostly bare. Of course it would have been unreasonable for us to expect the padi to be growing all year round. Still, we had come with padi fields in mind. No lush fields of verdant green for us, we thought sadly.

When the sun rose the next day, however, Nature had a lovely surprise planned for us. We were woken up by loud quacking. We threw open the door and rushed out onto the porch, to find our barren padi fields filled with ducks!

the pack

As explained by the Tegal Sari staff, the ducks live in the padi fields year round. As the fields go through the cycle of growth and harvest, the farmers move the ducks from area to area. After the harvest, the water-logged but fallow fields are filled with rice grains that have fallen from the stalks, and these are what the ducks feast on.


Our favourite was a male duck or drake we called Xiao Bai, for obvious reasons. (For those not clued in, xiao bai means "little white one".)

Xiao Bai, leader of the pack

His badge of office was none other than that puff of white tuff on the back of his head which, needless to say, rendered him a bit of a laughing stock, to us humans at least. I'm not sure if the ducks took him any more seriously. He certainly seemed to have a hard time getting the entire flock to follow after him, as he directed traffic with many a frantic quack. More often than not, there would be ducks slipping off into neighbouring fields, as he ran back and forth trying to keep them all together. Still, it was clear that he took his job very seriously which made for quite a comedy of sorts. I'm sure the other birds in the vicinity quite enjoyed the spectacle too.

birds of another feather


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