One of the nicer things in going birding is meeting new friends who are also into the same passion.
The mini forest at La Mesa Ecopark was strangely quiet. Cynthia and I were wondering where the birds were when we saw a couple with cameras looking up at the treetops. "Birders" we both agreed. We introduced ourselves and we instantly became friends with Jo Lapuz and her husband, Bernard. They were new into the hobby and my wife and I happily volunteered to show them around.
As I said earlier, birds were few that morning. Since Jo and Bernard have just started into bird photography, both were happy taking pictures of even the common Zebra Doves. I tried to scout the area and luckily chanced upon an Ashy Thrush.
Unfortunately it was gone by the time our new friends arrived at the place where I saw it. Two hours slowly passed and still no birds showed up. We told Jo and Bernard that we're going to the Paintball area to try and look for the Violet Cuckoos and they're welcome to come along. Since the cuckoos would be a lifer for them, they enthusiastically agreed.
At first we thought that it was too late in the day because only the Golden-bellied Gerygones and the Yellow-vented Bulbuls were in the tree that Violet Cuckoos go to. Again it was Cynthia's sharp eyes that saw the male cuckoo foraging for insects at the back side of the tree. To our delight it eventually came out in the open and gave us photographic opportunities.
That's when the camera set that I brought with me tried my patience. Inasmuch as birding at Ecopark involves a lot of walking I decided to bring the lighter Tamron lens. Then as a second thought, instead of my usual 5D III camera body, I used the 7D instead. Big mistake! The camera body and the lens apparently were not communicating with each other. Auto-focusing was an exercise in futility. Even in the best lighting conditions! Who knew it would turn out this way? It was sheer luck that I was able to get a few acceptable images.
The good news was that our new confreres were able to get photos of their latest lifer. And that, for me, more than made up for my disappointment with the photographic gear that I brought with me.