War-mongers and peace lovers. Hawks and doves. For us it was literally the latter.
My wife and I did a mid-morning birding foray at Subic. Since it was already around 10 am, our expectations were really not that high. The first birds we saw were the Whiskered Treeswifts lined up on an electric wire.
Nabasan trail was a complete disappointment. We saw a total of zero birds. There were some feathered flying objects that flew fast across the trail. So fast that identifying them was an exercise in sheer futility. We deemed it prudent to move on. It was on the way out that a serendipitous moment happened. I saw a huge dark bird fly off from the tree we were approaching.
"It's probably just a crow" I told Cynthia.
To our left we saw something on a tree. My wife thought it was just a branch. I thought it was a raptor. I thought right. Ah, the joys of photographing the usually skittish Philippine Hawk-Eagle that obligingly posed for us.
As we drove towards the exit, we encountered two different doves - ok, make that pigeons - that made the gloomy day a bit promising. The Philippine Green Pigeon and the Green Imperial Pigeon.
At the Botanical Garden road, another member of the family Columbidae gave us some photo ops. Yes, this time it was really a dove. A White-eared Brown Dove.
We took a lunch break by driving all the way to town to savor the culinary delights at Cocolime - our favorite restaurant in Subic.
Back at the Botanical Garden road, we had another hawk encounter. Having just missed a flock of Philippine Hornbills, we were moping inside our car when a raptor flew by and landed at the tree on our right side. This time it was quite high but still gave us good enough looks. An immature Philippine Hawk-Eagle patiently surveyed its surroundings for a potential meal. It was us who got tired of taking its picture and inasmuch as we still have to check-in at our hotel, we reluctantly left the young hawk.
A trip to Cubi point before dusk yielded no good photographs, despite the abundance of birds - Black-naped Orioles, Blue-naped Parrots and Coletos were high up in the pine trees doing their crepuscular dance routines.
Exhausted, we returned to our hotel and almost immediately fell asleep.