Sunday, January 17, 2021

Aw, Common!

This was our first birding trip to Baras in 2021. My primary purpose for this sortie was to get better photos of the Blue Rock Thrush. The previous times we were there we only got glimpses of this species and one very distant shot.

It was deja vu as we got in Palo Alto, the very first birds we saw were two Turtledoves. But no Partridge in a pear tree still. 


From there we went to the clubhouse. Unfortunately the flowers of the African Tulip tree were almost gone and only the Yellow-vented Bulbuls were present.


We moved on to Campeche Street. Blue-throated Bee-eaters were all over the place.


Eastern Cattle Egrets were friendlier than usual.


From a distance we got a Black-naped Oriole.


Then off to site where the Blue Rock Thrush stays. We saw our target bird but it was still too far.


Our next stop was at the small pond hoping to see some kingfishers. I heard that a Common Kingfisher had been seen here. After a few minutes waiting, guess who suddenly popped up? 


I even got some good shots before it was bullied by the White-throated Kingfisher.


At the fields a Long-tailed Shrike was basking in the sun.


At the Alicante waterway were two (!!) Green Sandpipers! Here's a picture of one of them.


Nearby a male Pied Bush Chat posed for us.


We moved to the Alfaro side of the waterway and there the expected Grey Wagtail was present.


Near the wagtail we saw a small brown bird (about the size of the wagtail). Looking through my lens, I was surprised that it was a Common Sandpiper!


And this time a female Pied Bush Chat was the one who posed for us.


To the tank area we went. Along the way fellow birder Joel Dayao pointed to a Whiskered Treeswift perched on a wire. This was the first time we saw this species here in Palo Alto.


At the tank area a flock of Lowland White-eyes were cavorting almost at eye level.


Then we saw a blackish bird perched behind the leaves. At first I thought it was a Balicassiao. But then Christopher Ferrer assured us it was a Philippine Drongo-Cuckoo. A lifer for us!


Having gotten our first lifer for 2021, Cynthia and I both agreed to call it a day. But before we did that I wanted to get a better shot of the Blue Rock Thrush. Thank goodness, we did.


Finally, I asked my wife to humor me one more time. I told her that we haven't had a good shot of the Paddyfield Pipit that day so we went around one more time. As we were driving to the place where the pipits roam, I saw a small brown bird bobbing at the road. Not a pipit for sure and definitely not a wagtail. I asked Cynthia to take a shot at it as it was on her side. And voila! Another Common Sandpiper!


And to end our birding morning, the Paddyfield Pipit.


It was another bountiful birding adventure at Baras highlighted by two species that has the word "common" in their names: Common Kingfisher and Common Sandpiper - both seen by us for the first time in Baras. We can only express our delight by exclaiming "Aw, common!"