Birdwatchers in the Philippines have coined the phrase "dude birding". Basically, it means seeing birds with the least amount of effort - usually from a car window. Now allow me to add another term to the ever growing compilation of birdwatching lingo: Dud birding. It means getting a perfect zero in trying to find your target birds.
And it hurts even more when you travelled great distances to find certain species and ended up with absolutely nothing.
On our second day in Davao, we hired a van to take us to the Philippine Eagle Center. Thanks to the kindness of its Director, Dennis Salvador, we were admitted into the facility way before its normal opening time of 8 am. Cynthia and I immediately stationed ourselves by the pond where target bird #1 - the Silvery Kingfisher - was reportedly hanging out. Minutes excruciatingly crept by. Only the Pacific Swallows and noisy Yellow-vented Bulbuls kept us company. Then a flash of black-and-white! But it was gone before our brains could even react. With even a smidgen of a doubt I cannot call it a "sighting"…and therefore could not claim it as a lifer.
I left my wife by the pond to continue the vigilance while I tried to look for the other two target species: the Yellow-wattled Bulbul and the Little Spiderhunter. Roaming around the area all I saw were Philippine Bulbuls and Olive-backed Sunbirds.
Cynthia and I then switched positions. I stood by the pond and eyed it with the patience of a vulture. My wife, in turn, looked for the birds on our want list. However all her wanderings yielded only Orange-bellied Flowerpeckers.
Then it was time to leave, Cynthia had a lunch date with her ex-officemates from PNB an hour's drive away.
That afternoon we checked in at the Eden Nature Resort. It was drizzling…leading to a torrential downpour later that night.