American baseball's Hall of Famer Yogi Berra once said, "It's like deja vu all over again." It certainly felt that way yesterday.
My wife and I joined our friend, Peter, and his bird photographer guests from Hong Kong at Mt. Palay-palay in Cavite. Exactly one week ago, we three (Peter, Cynthia and I) were showing British birder, Tony Jackson the local avifauna here.
It was intriguingly a throwback birding trip because the birds we saw and the sequence with which saw them today were almost the same as last week. The theme of the TV series "The Twilight Zone" would have been an appropriate background music.
We stopped by the entrance of the Puerto Azul Resort to unload our gear. Just like last Saturday, our guests were given fleeting looks of the very active Asian Glossy Starlings.
Continuing on our trip, I was driving ahead with two of Peter's four friends riding with me and my wife. It wasn't long before I saw some movement in a tree. I slowly parked my car by the roadside and Peter followed behind.
"Hornbill! Hornbill!" I shouted to my passengers as soon as I figured what was causing those movements in the tree to our right. The male hornbill popped its head out of the clump of leaves and peered at the gawking photographers below. It then flew across the road followed by its mate. We were all too stunned to realize that there were actually two of them that none of us were able to take a picture of the female. Deja vu indeed as this was also the very first bird we photographed last week.
Seven days ago we were thrilled to see a Coppersmith Barbet perch for quite a long time on a bare branch. Today while looking for the Philippine Bulbuls that kept calling from the dark side of the bushes, good ol' Barbet once again stopped by at the exact spot announcing its presence by its loud, hammering call.
Unfortunately, the Flowerpeckers were conspicuously absent this time. We also kept hearing the Sooty Woodpecker but it decided to stay out of sight.
Whereas last week we saw five Philippine Falconets, this time there were only a pair of them. And, boy, were they a pair! Doing the act of propagating their kind right in front of our cameras. Lest the photos might go viral on the social media, I will just post their "smoking the cigarettes" pose, metaphorically speaking.
After lunch at Puerto Azul, we stopped by the roadside as we did before with Tony, hoping to photograph the Coletos. However, only the Asian Glossy Starlings were cooperative enough to pause from their frequent fly-bys to give us good looks.
It was also here that the soaring Brahminy Kites gave the Hong Kong crew many opportunities to get a BIF (birds in flight) shot.
By three in the afternoon, Cynthia and I bade our new friends, Wilson and Peggy Dring, Allwatin Choi and Tung Tse, and old friend, Peter, goodbye. They were all smiles and thrilled at the birds that they saw and photographed. For us, although we did not see any new bird, we did have fun in the company of fellow bird enthusiasts.