Typhoon Luis was expected to make landfall that night. Not surprisingly, the early morning skies were as grey as the American Civil War rebel's uniforms. With that kind of somber atmosphere Cynthia and I held our bird photography expectations to low. As in abysmal low.
There were quite a number of birds that morning in Antipolo. As predicted the great majority of our shots were either painfully underexposed or heartbreakingly backlit (or backlighted to you, grammar nazis). Even our FOS (First of Season) photo of the migrant Brown Shrike was a trash-worthy conglomeration of wasted pixels.
To be fair - and I am definitely NOT referring to the weather - we had some good shots. Like the exceptionally hyperactive (and newly split, now an endemic) Philippine Pied Fantail.
Another endemic, the Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker, also gave us some good photo ops.
What got our adrenalines rushing were a couple of Pygmy Flowerpeckers enjoying the fruits of the aratiles tree. This was the first time we've seen this species here. Since they preferred the gloomy understory and given our sunless, dreary, cloudy skies, we hoped, no, prayed that we could get some decent shots of this tiny speck of a bird. Thankfully, our prayers were answered (please note that we asked for a "decent" shot and not for a getting-published-in-a-magazine quality photo).
The dark clouds were now getting pregnant with precipitation telling us to enjoy the blessings that we got and to return to the comforts of our new home. As we prepared to leave, a forlorn Collared Kingfisher sat still and enabled us to take its picture.
But wait, there's more! I told my wife that we should try for one last time to pass by the the haunts of my personal target species - the Tawny Grassbird. We tried twice earlier but were not fortunate enough to see my quarry. As I slowly inched our car by the grassy knoll I caught a glimpse of it! I stopped and saw it land on a stump. I fired away. The result was drab and grey. But it was just as I expected it to be.