It was pretty much the same scenario during our recent trip to Kota Kinabalu. On our very first birding day, we were up early. We were standing at the terrace behind our suite looking at the fruiting tree which was now slowly being illuminated by the rising sun. To our delight that particular tree soon became a center of avian activity. We observed some sort of a pattern wherein a flock of birds would come, feed on the fruits, then move on. A few minutes later another (or probably the same) group would repeat the whole routine. Without fail, the first birds to arrive, the leaders of the flock, so to speak, would be the Black-capped White-eyes - tiny olive-green birds with black-caps and white-eyes, of course.
With my camera gear now on place, I aimed my long lens at the general direction of the said fruiting tree. We waited for the next wave of birds to come.
"Don't shoot until you see the white-eyes", my director-wife instructed me. I'm not sure if she was even aware of what Colonel William Prescott told his soldiers in the battle of Bunker Hill ("Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes") but what she just said sure made me laugh I almost missed the white-eyes.