It was a little after six pm. Darkness had already fallen. With sighs of disappointment we all agreed to terminate our vigil. I lifted my tripod and with a smidgen of hope looked up to the trees. An object suddenly landed on a branch. What object that size would land on a branch at this time of night - was the thought that filled my mind.
"I think that's the owl" I cautiously informed our group.
Jops' sharp eyes focused on the object.
"Boobook! Boobook!" he yelled excitedly.
What happened next was a frenzy. All I remembered was that someone shone a torch at the bird and I just kept firing away.
Our friend, Peter, discovered the presence of a Chocolate Boobook, interestingly enough, in an urban environment. Of course, Cynthia and I wanted to see this Philippine endemic, not only because it would be a lifer for us, but also because it is quite uncommon. As a matter of fact the status of this species was declared "near-threatened" by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) due to "fragmentation of lowland forest habitat".
Together with friends Jops and Maia, we staked out the area where the small owl was seen (and photographed) just the day before. Crepuscule turned into evening and still we have not seen even a glimpse of the object of our hopes. It was when we decided to terminate our vigil that we were finally rewarded with views of the elusive night predator.
When I reviewed my photos the following morning, I was heart broken. All of my shots were blurred!
Just like the Terminator all I can say is….
….or words to that effect.