Life Life

29/04/2021 - 11:25

House to contemplate storks

Over the past ten years on this route, never have I thought there is a house to contemplate hundreds of storks flying in flocks to Da Vien Islet to live; until one day, I followed the young people...

Contemplating the storks back to Da Vien Islet from Mr. Le Van Dung's house. Clip: Tue Tam

Awaiting storks as if awaiting friends

The simple house of Mr. and Mrs. Le Van Dung - Tran Thi Bach Tuyet is located amidst a lush green garden of several thousand square meters near the end of Da Vien Islet (Hue City). They also own a year-round self-sufficient vegetable garden where a small tributary of the Huong River flows by.

It is little known that crossing the railway of Bach Ho Bridge, behind Da Vien Water Plant lies a small peaceful hamlet. Seen from the outside, Mr. Dung’s house is by no means different. Perhaps it is only special for those who like to take photos and love to contemplate storks; it is called “House to contemplate storks"!

In the late afternoon, the small house by the river sometimes welcome the guests - students, photographers, or creature lovers who come and ask to contemplate the storks. They are invited to the terrace to wait for the rare beautiful moments of nature. It is an airy peaceful sunset, and hundreds of storks in flocks spread their wings in the sky as in a watercolor painting.

Da Huong, a student of Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, said in wide-eyed amazement, “Wow!  How beautiful it is! Unexpectedly in the heart of the city can be seen this scene. What a fluke "!

Phan Ngoc Thang, a young member of the photography group that day, and his friends shot continuously for two hours, hoping to capture the moments of the stork coming back in the red glow of sunset. The young mechanic said he had come here a few times but got no satisfactory photo, so he would be back with his group of friends.

Contemplating and photographing storks from Mr. Le Van Dung's house. Photo: Phan Thang

Seeing the young people attentively hunting for the photos of storks, Mr. Dung said encouragingly, “A few middle-aged people came here together with a load of apparatus all week. They were so patient; they said they would shoot until they were satisfied!"

The land at the end of Da Vien Islet is where houses are sparse, quiet with tall trees located close to the riverbank, which is ideal for storks to live. According to Mr. Dung, in recent decades, the storks have returned so many times that he has a habit of contemplating them as if awaiting ... "friends".

“Our children are old; they settle down to married life, so it is fun to have storks as company. We keep looking up to the sky to hear them chirping, now as if talking, now as if quarreling. Waiting for them to perch peaceably, then we have dinner,” Mr. Dung said to the guests.

"Good earth" preserved

The plot of land where Mr. Dung is living was reclaimed by the previous generation. It has been preserved and developed so far. The house is surrounded by a perennial orchard where there is a centennial jackfruit tree with a diameter too large for two, three people to embrace. Standing under the canopy of ancient trees, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the traces of time left in the garden. The garden also has a hive with the size of an adult's body.

It is said that “good earth is for birds to land”, so the trees on the garden edge close to the river are kept intact by him, and so are the weeds below. The Alocasia odora bushes, Bermuda grass, bamboo leaves are coated with bird droppings. The work that makes a sound or noise is minimized.

“The storks are so sensitive! Sometimes, I gently walk back to the garden to light incense, but the whole flock of storks rattle like a whirlwind," Tuyet said.

The young people and Mr. Dung - Mrs. Tuyet posed for a commemorative photo. Photo: Phan Thang

Those who have ever set foot on the "House to contemplate storks" are still charmed by the elderly couple’s self-sufficient garden of vegetables, tubers and fruits along the  Huong River. Guests can do gardening, gather agricultural produce and cook a family meal together with grandma Tuyet.

This house is also given another name of “Coriander House" by the young people because the aroma of this spice herb forever pervades the space to contemplate storks unless you leave. The rustic and simple life of Mr. Dung - Mrs. Tuyet is a wish of many people.

The peaceful and fresh space here is what the owner of the riverside house cherishes most. Grandma Tuyet said that sometimes her grandchildren returned, shouting, "Oh, my grandma, storks back, storks back.  How beautiful! ”

Some elderly people in the neighborhood passing reminded us, “Storks don’t perch at my house, but only at yours. What a godsend! Try to conserve.” I am glad to hear that. As for Mr. Dung, although not knowing the name, age and lineage of the storks, he made a humorous comparison, “Storks are like family members. Before Tet, they come to visit, and several days after Tet, they leave. As relatives, every year we long for them to visit and wish us longevity.”

“Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vo Van Phu, Former Senior Lecturer of Biology Department, University of Science, Hue University:

The birds that converge on Da Vien Islet mainly belong to Ardeola bacchus, popularly distributed in the tropics, especially in Southeast Asia. These birds often migrate seasonally, stay in the pool areas with abundant supply of food (including Tam Giang - Cau Hai Lagoon, pools, wet rice fields...).

In Thua Thien Hue, the habitat for birds is being gradually improved, especially the safe living conditions for birds are guaranteed. Hopefully, in the future, when ecosystems are restored, everyone is alive to the conservation of biodiversity, protection of nature, ecology and environment, Hue’s landscape will be more beautiful and poetic.”

By Huu Phuc

Story: Tue Ninh