We were in a state of despondency. We came to Los Banos to bird and the birds just were not there! Where were the Buttonquails? the Swallows that gathered mud for their nests? the Pipits and Skylarks that frolicked in the middle of the road? even those plentiful as dirt Eurasian Tree Sparrows were now as scarce as a Floyd Mayweather fan in the Philippines.
Oh sure it wasn't a complete bust at all. At least we enjoyed the tweeting of a Zitting Cisticola while sitting and sipping Pepsi Cola. Other than that it was just a case of being cooked by the sun or soaked by the rain and on several occasions being stewed by both sun and rain occurring simultaneously.
And there we were in a very despondent state. We were like Christian de Neuvillette birders longing for the attention of a lovely avian Roxanne. But misfortune, or perhaps even incompetence, hampered our wooing efforts. We needed the help of an eloquent, master charmer of birds.
It was then that a white van suddenly stopped in front of us. Out came Serrano the Birder Rock sans grand nez. We have met before and then as he is now our knight in shining armor. When it comes to birding Los Banos he rocks!
He led us unto green ricefields and instructed us to wait, for the objects of our desire will appear albeit fleetingly but long enough to enthrall our throbbing hearts. In just a few minutes we were grinning ear-to-ear as visions of Slaty-breasted Rail and a Snipe were firmly etched in our minds and compact flash cards.
Department of Agriculture UnderSecretary Fred Serrano, our heartfelt gratitude to you, sir!