As many of you know, I enjoy blogging. I like to write about practically anything but most especially about the bird photography adventures that my wife, Cynthia, and I undertake with some degree of regularity. More often than not my blogs reflect the joys my wife and I experienced in these adventures sometimes even accented with some stout-hearted hilarity. However there come those times when I'd rather not blog. So I write this one with a heaviness of heart.
It all began on Friday, December 28th. Cynthia and I were at La Mesa Ecopark where we met up with friends Irene, Rob, Bram, Sylvia and Tonji. We were there for a single purpose: to find the very rare Scaly Thrush. It hadn't been five minutes after we arrived that Tonji came running toward us saying that he saw it. We all rushed to where he espied the bird. It wasn't there anymore. Hours passed as we all staked out different places. Then came the report that the trio of Rob, Bram and Irene caught a glimpse of the superbly camouflaged thrush. We rushed to where they were. It wasn't there anymore. Noon time and we reluctantly had to go. Not only were my wife and I starving, our lower bodies were aching from all the squatting and stooping that we did in waiting for our quarry to appear.
Cynthia and I went back Saturday afternoon - our hearts set on finding the Scaly Thrush. We armed ourselves with the required patience and determination. Our hopes were actually high that we would finally be successful. Then it rained. Hard. We were imprisoned under our umbrella. Eventually the rain abated into a soft drizzle. Under normal circumstances, my wife and I love rain. It has that refreshing quality that seem to bring out the child in us - wanting to dance and frolic in the downpour. But this particular rain on that particular afternoon surprisingly, unexpectedly, dampened our spirits. The skies never showed a promise to clear up so we packed our gears and began the slow agonizing walk back to our car.
The year 2012 ended. 2013 as in any new year carried with it feelings of hope. It was with this newfound hope that Cynthia and I went back to La Mesa Ecopark on the 2nd day of the year. We came with friends Jo and Doc Cha. As soon as we entered the mini forest, we saw another group of birders composed of Ixi, Mikeli, Gina, Mel, Felix, Trinket and Adri. Yes, they saw the Scaly Thrush they assured us. Three long hours later, the said thrush never showed up again.
Our friend, Irene, who joined our group told us of two more rarities found in Candaba: the Dusky Warbler and the Middendorff's Grasshopper Warbler. Do we want to go there and look for them? she asked us. I thought about how we missed the Common Shelduck at that very place and our now third miss on the Scaly Thrush. I thought about how other birders were able to see all these unusual birds. I sighed a deep sigh.
Gatorland – March 2014 ~ I
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