A New Dawn

Funnily enough, my long break coincided with the low-season for birds in Thailand; although it could have been a tiny contributing factor as chasing birds was a large part of my life the past year. Long-story-short about my disappearance, Tama the Zebra Dove‘s departure triggered a string of events which amounted to a period of severe depression. The depression brought up past traumas, which had been affecting my functioning in life for many years. This was a good thing as my issues were brought into focus and without this distressing time they may have been left unaddressed. However bad something is, there’s always good: without ‘bad’ there’s no ‘good’ they have to co-exist.

Tama, 9th May 2022.

Sadly, the severe depression spiralled deeper into psychotic episodes with suicidal delusions. This was also accompanied by derealisation. I’m happy to talk about it but won’t go much further here as it could fill a book with some of the peculiar things which occurred in this time of immense suffering. I will keep it short because I struggle to put words to some of the stuff I went through.

Tama, the Zebra Dove that changed my life and taught me many important lessons. June 10th, 2022.

In terms of Tama, we saved him from certain death and we nurtured him back to health. He wasn’t your average Dove though, his development may have been stunted by the parasites he initially harboured. I may have seen myself in him. So losing him triggered something deeper.

My last photo of Tama. June 18th 2022.

Part of my recovery took place away from home in Chiang Mai. Thankfully, the locale was full of wildlife and birds. Most prominently showing were Red-whiskered Bulbuls. I credit one with helping me settle in on my first day. I immediately grabbed my camera and took some pictures whisking me away from the chaos going on inside my head. These weren’t easy days by any means, I was triggered into a state of fight-or-flight for a significant portion of my first week. Luckily I had moments of being settled and continued my herping photography at night time.

It was this particular Red-whiskered Bulbul that helped me on my first day.
16th August 2022.

I’m grateful I was allowed to pursue my hobby when I was staying there and below I’ll share a few of the images I took over the 14 days:

Asian Weaver Ants dealing with an Odontoponera denticulata intruder.
My favourite photo I took of Mukhlesur’s Narrow-mouthed Frog. A species I first encountered up there. And. continued to photograph on different nights.
Koh Tao Caecilian found on my last night, just past the river-side gazebo.
Green Bee-eaters were a common sight beside the Ping River.
Brown Tree Frog is always a nice subject to photograph. This one was relaxing beside one of the ponds near the dining area.
Himalayan Striped Squirrels were numerous and it took a while to realise their sound wasn’t a bird.
A better look at the stripes.
The Bulbuls added much joy to life at the rehab.
Painted Bushbrown butterfly in the grass.
Golden Gem damselfly nearby the stone chairs.
Golden Gem taken with my macro lens as opposed to the telephoto above.
Black-crowned Night-Heron flyover.
The Zebra Doves were particularly friendly up there. I loved seeing them foraging around the eating areas and the pool.
White-breasted Waterhen crossing the lawn.
Spotted Doves and Zebra Doves were reminders of home.
Siamese Common Snails outnumbered the invasive African Giant Snails.
Micryletta sp. from my last night.

On my last weekend at the rehab, we had a trip to Doi Inthanon. I’ve never birded in the north so I was excited. Although I had no time for dedicated birding due to the nature of the excursion. I was able to get two ticks in the form Black-backed Sibia and Yellow-bellied Fairy-Fantail. I was very satisfied with these two as I had very little time to watch the birds; managing to get good photographs was icing on the cake.

My favourite image taken of the Black-backed Sibia.
Grateful to be able to snap a picture of this fast moving little bird.

I’m incredibly grateful to anyone who reads my blog here. Having survived the last couple months I’ve become stronger and learnt a lot about myself. Some of it was the worst suffering I’ve endured but like I stated earlier, suffering has to exist for there to be joy. And to the people I met at The Dawn, much love to you all, you were such an incredible influence on me.

A little anecdote, before or around the time I started going into psychosis my brain was severely imbalanced, I was waking up in a terror every night, it felt like I had been killed. On one occasion, a switch flipped. I felt such love for everything, I had tears in my eyes as I felt this love so deeply, I felt I could do anything, I had deep satisfaction for life and my situation. It was a state of enlightenment, from then, I knew what is deep inside all of us.

Oriental Magpie-Robin with a broken lower mandible.

I will continue to follow my passion for wildlife and birds, without my past traumas, I may not have discovered my love for them and for that I’m very grateful. As stated earlier, nothing is ever ‘bad’ because bad is on the same coin as good.

All images © 2022 hamsambly

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4 thoughts on “A New Dawn

  1. I don’t like this I love it!! You have a way with words my love and I feel so fortunate to have been a witness of your beautiful journey and manifested your way into a healthy vibrant new you!! I will never forget you!!
    ♥️ Much Love , TW


  2. Wow, such beautiful photos!
    Glad to hear some good has come out of the tough time you’ve had.
    Bless you
    Jo xx


  3. Pingback: Stuck in the Mud

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