Ask any brainiac and he will explain to you in so many discombobulating words that "genius" and "luck" never go together. "You make your own luck", the smart ones preach to us less mentally endowned people.
However, those two words applied to me this morning, albeit in some bizarre, unexplainable way. The presence of a rare bird at the campus of the University of the Philippines in Diliman enkindled a certain amount of restlessness among the local bird photographers. Being one of them, I was there bright and early Friday morning. Apparently this gem of a bird inhabits a small patch of green where the local workers reside. As I stood outside gazing at the branches of the trees within the compound, the residents realized I was after the bird that "some people photographed yesterday." Graciously they allowed me into their inner sanctum, so to speak. When my target bird alit on a branch at eye level, I began clicking my camera's shutter button. During a pause in my shooting, one of the men watching me couldn't contain himself and asked me what kind of bird is it that draws photographers to their place.
"Ferruginous flycatcher", I told him.
"Pure genius plykatser?", he repeated. I smiled and explained to him that this bird flew all the way from northern Asia to escape the cold winter there. I told him that this kind of flycatcher doesn't normally end up in an urban area such as this place, that's why we bird photographers were so excited to see it.
It wasn't long when I was joined by Gabs, Doc Mando and Doc Chito. We all had our fill in photographing this lovely migrant from practically all angles and at various distances. At about 10 am, we all called it a day, inasmuch as my three companions still have to report to their respective offices.
As I drove in into our subdivision in St. Ignatius, I took a road that I normally don't take. Towards the end of Woodside Street, a taxi was loading passengers and thus blocked my way. I had no choice but to park by the roadside to wait until the taxi moved on. It was then that I saw a relatively big, brown bird fly down on a tiny strip of lawn about 15 feet away from me. Looking closer, my heart skipped as I realized that this was a female Blue Rock Thrush! - a bird that I never seen much less photographed before. I immediately grabbed my smaller camera gear (300mm) and fired away. First, the thrush was close enough for a smaller lens. Secondly, it would take some time for me to assemble my big lens plus tripod, to which the bird could have already flown away before I'm done, and there wasn't much space to put it in anyway.
Now, let me just tell you that I normally don't bring both my 500mm and 300mm when I'm birding without my wife (she usually handles the smaller lens). Why I did so today was beyond me. Call it luck. Call it whatever. I'm just glad I did.
Update: I went back to that place along Woodside St. in the afternoon, but the female Blue Rock Thrush was no longer there.