Sunday, July 24, 2016


JIF is the number one peanut butter brand in the United States. Lately, however, JIF acquired a new meaning here in the Philippines. Now JIF stands for Jacana In Flight - photos of which had become a common posting in Facebook the past several weeks. Like most bird photographers, we wanted to be a part of this growing community. Our friend and regular birding companion, Peter and I contacted Jonet T. Carpio - he is "the man" who rules over the Jacana territory. So it was arranged - we meet up at the Camella Homes in Bulacan between 6:30 and 7 Saturday morning.

At 6:30 we were there. Jonet gave us a detailed description of what to expect, where to look, and the best time to photograph our target species. For the next hour and a half we endured the scorching sun as we attempted (most of the time unsuccessfully) to get our JIF shot. I said unsuccessfully because the long-tailed birds were so unpredictable in their movements. You'll never know when they will decide to fly and if they did it was only for a short distance - oftentimes too short for our cameras to focus properly on the fast moving subject.

Thankfully, there were some passable photos that would be good enough to be included in the JIF posting in Facebook.

In between lulls when the Pheasant-tailed Jacanas were not up in the air, other species provided a respite, thankfully so. Interestingly, we were provided with BIF opportunities. Normally, BIF would mean "Bird In Flight" however, in our case that morning, BIF turned out to be Bittern In Flight. All three species went flying by, albeit at varying distances and at different times.

Black Bittern
Cinnamon Bittern
Yellow Bittern
Around 9 am, the jacana activity quieted somehow. A birding couple, Gilbert and Wilma Go, came and joined us. We stayed with them for another half hour with still very minimal activity from our target bird. 

At 9:30 with the heat becoming unbearable, we bade goodbye to our new friends and to our host. Our deepest gratitude goes to Jonet who took time off from his schedule to show us where the jacanas were and providing very important information about birds in the area and even setting up a hide for us photographers.

One of the slogans for the famous peanut butter I mentioned above goes: "it's terif!" That's exactly how we would describe our experience with our version of JIF.

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