The exasperating traffic condition in MetroManila, for me, is a huge deterrent in driving to birding places (imagine taking almost an hour just to negotiate 3.5 kilometers).
One option we have is the campus of the University of the Philippines (U.P.) in Diliman, about 5 kms away. Leave early on a Saturday morning (when most people are still asleep) go birding for about 3 hours and return home before the malls open.
That's what my wife and I did today. We left the house at about 6 am. But before exiting our subdivision, I told Cynthia that we would be taking a short side-trip to Fordham St. because, who knows, we might see the Blue Rock Thrushes (note the plural) there. I drove oh so slowly as we approached the place where we saw them early this week. Nada. When I turned the corner, my eyes popped out of their sockets.
"Look!" I told my wife, "there on the roof!" I hurriedly took out our cameras. "Two of them!"
At the parking lot of the MSI in U.P. the only bird cooperative enough to be photographed was a Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker.
We walked around that area and only got teased by several Black-naped Orioles that kept calling but never staying put. When we returned to our car we were surprised to see our friends Adri and Trinket. Since we haven't seen each other for quite some time we did some catching up.
"Ashy Minivet!" Adri said so calmly as he pointed to an uncommon migrant perched high up on a bamboo tree.
We intended to look for the nightjar so we said goodbye to our friends. We dipped on the nocturnal bird. Our next stop was the lagoon. Another zero. At the main library, I pointed a bird to Cynthia.
"Just a Yellow-vented Bulbul," she said.
"But what's the red thing?" I asked.
"Probably a fruit that the bulbul is eating," my wife replied.
I took a closer look and was surprised that it was actually a Coppersmith Barbet. The red I saw was its forehead.
We also saw a Java Sparrow but it was so high up on the ledge of the building that our photos were not even of "documentary" quality.
It was now almost 9 am so we both agreed to call it a day. Better to go home at this time and avoid the heavy traffic that would definitely cause our blood pressure to go up.
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