Our early morning birding at the campus of the University of the Philippines at the onset was a disappointment. Brown Shrikes and Yellow-vented Bulbuls were the only species that were active. Oh, and a pair of Black-naped Orioles that looked like they were checking out if the new building being constructed was according to their specifications.
Of course, we got a de rigueur shot of the resident sleeper, the Philippine Nightjar.
"Let's try the lagoon and see if we can find the Common Kingfisher there," I suggested to Cynthia. It was a good suggestion because I got a tip from fellow birder, Mads Bajarias about the kingfisher inhabiting the lagoon, but I honestly didn't know exactly where the lagoon was. So my diligent wife started asking around and as serendipity would have it, the very first person (persons, actually - there were two of them) were off-duty security guards who gave her precise directions to the lagoon.
A short walk and there it was! It wasn't long before we got a glimpse of our quarry. However, it was too far even for my long lens and I just got a "documentary" shot.
For close to two hours we waited for this "common" kingfisher to reappear and hoped it would be on a much nearer spot. Meanwhile our long wait had been alleviated by seeing two migrants: the Grey Wagtail and the Arctic Warbler (no good shots on both, unfortunately) - our FOS (first of season) sightings of both species.
Almost two hours had passed and our kingfisher was still teasingly refusing to show itself. I was getting antsy - yes, impatient, and also literally being crawled over by ants.
"Let's go!" I told my wife.
"Aw, c'mon, let's give it a few more minutes." she pleaded.
But I was adamant. She bargained by sweetly suggesting we go further down the trail "and maybe see some other birds?" I gave in. How can I not with that sugary smile and star-filled eyes.
Even before we started to take the trail I saw it! I saw our Common Kingfisher with a fish in its beak! What followed was about half-an-hour's stalking and trying to get close enough so I can get the sought after FIM (food-in-mouth) shot. Which was a trying experience in itself because I would only take a few steps closer and it would fly off and alit on a branch farther away. Shouts of "Aw, c'mon, stay still, will ya?" punctuated those chases. Eventually, the tiny bird flew to where it was impossible for me to follow it.
"Did you get a good shot?" Cynthia asked eagerly.
I reviewed my photographic efforts and smiled at her.
We were already in the parking lot and packing our gear when Cynthia shouted, "Kingfisher!" I hastily pulled my camera out of the bag and hied to where she was standing and pointing at something.
It was another FIM shot, this time with a Collared Kingfisher.
Aw, c'mon, don't you think that that's a nice bonus?