The sun shone brilliantly after the storm. It was a holiday. A perfect combination for a birding spree. Even if the destination was just at the La Mesa Ecopark not that far from home. Lately, however, that place had been abuzz with sightings (not to mention posting of photos in Facebook) of two, count 'em, two uncommon kingfishers - the Spotted Wood and the Indigo-banded. Not only were both simply photographable, they were uncharacteristically insouciant to people.
Thanks to the directions provided by Anthony Balbin and Prof. Reuel Aguila, we (me, my wife and buddy Bong Nabong) easily found the place where the pair of Indigo-Banded Kingfishers hang around. During a lull - while the lovely pair was away - Anthony, called us and told us he found the other "star" of Ecopark. We quickly followed him and voila! - the friendliest Spotted Wood Kingfisher ever!
Our friends, Maia, Jops, and Doc Cha who came after we left gushingly told us that the kingfisher was so indifferent to human presence that Doc Cha was even able to photograph the bird using her iphone!
On our way back to the Indigo-banded Kingfisher pond we met another friend, Jo Solis, who told us that she just saw the Oriental Honey Buzzard. We followed her and caught a glimpse of the raptor before it flew away.
At the pond, there were now more photographers awaiting the famed pair's return. The three of us joined Steve Albano, Prof. Reuel, Alex Ting, and Leomar Doctolero in the stake-out. Soon Maia, Jops, Doc Cha, Bram, Kath and Sean Melendres arrived. Perhaps knowing that they now have a big audience, the male (who was nicknamed "superman" because his plumage resembles the superhero's costume) made a grand entrance and perched on a small piece of protruding wood and stayed there until we all had our fill.
As we prepared to leave, Sean informed us that he saw White Wagtails at the spillway. "There was also a Grey Heron" he calmly said as if that was as common an occurrence as rainfall in October.
Cynthia, Bong and myself, of course, went to the spillway. Steve followed not long after. Yes, there was the Grey Heron which, if I am not mistaken, was the first time this species was seen here.
And yes, there were White Wagtails - we saw at least two of them - but they were quite at a distance.
It was while waiting for the migrant wagtails that a Common Kingfisher popped into view.
It was also while searching for the wagtails that we saw a Collared Kingfisher way out on the concrete spillway.
When Maia, Jops and company joined us, we were rewarded with views, albeit a bit distant, of a Philippine Serpent Eagle!
Beautiful weather, great company, four kinds of kingfishers in half a day's birding - definitely a winning combination!