It all came down to sessions of telling tales and photographing shrikes.
Early morning found Cynthia and myself at the Main Library grounds of the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Already there were Tonji and Sylvia Ramos and Tina Mallari - friends and fellow bird photographers. Soon Rey Sta. Ana and his buddy, Rocky Sison joined us. Professor Gerry de Villa showed up briefly and gave a short, albeit very informative lecture on the whys and wherefores of our target species. Then came Gabs Buluran. The catalyst, if you may, of our being there. It was Gab's photograph of a male Narcissus Flycatcher - taken at the very spot where we are now gathered - that precipitated this event. Later in the day we were joined by Maia Tanedo and Jops Josef, friends and birders as well.
For about three and a half hours we waited patiently for the black and yellow-orange bird. Those long, lingering hours were spent in recounting birding experiences punctuated here and there by sighs of frustration as our longed-for flycatcher decided to forage elsewhere. Every so often our conversations would be interrupted when a Long-tailed Shrike or a Brown Shrike or a Pied Triller would fly in and land in a closer-than-usual perch.
Sometime in the midst of this seemingly interminable wait, we were briefly entertained by a dramatic staging of a lover's quarrel by a pair of Colasisis (Philippine Hanging Parrot). Unfortunately this intriguing scenario was held high up in the canopy of a fruiting tree.
At around 9 am Gabs left for work. One hour later, Cynthia and I had to call it quits inasmuch as she has a lunch appointment with her childhood friends.
Later that day we learned that the Narcissus did a total no-show attitude even to those who decided to remain behind.
Well then, allow me to show you a Long-tailed "Narcissus" Shrike:
And Cynthia's Brown "Narcissus" Shrike
20 hours ago