It had been a long birding hiatus for me and my wife. We blamed it on the fickle weather of course. June and the early part of July were exceedingly hot. So hot that we dared not leave the paradise of our airconditioned room. After that came the rains. The thought of getting drenched or even sloshing through mud dampened whatever birding spirit we had.
Then came the news that spread all over the birding community - an uncommon flowerpecker had been sighted. Quite easily at that. So I communicated with a couple of birders who had been so lucky to get close up shots of this flowerpecker. Thanks to Loel and Virgilio, I was able to get specific details on the exact spot where I would be able to see and photograph my newest lifer. It can be seen from the side of the road, they both affirmed.
Saturday morning we were at the road going to Infanta. At first we were concerned about the weather as dense fog greeted us when we came into the Infanta side.
However as we neared our destination the sun broke through and brightened up the morning. It was at this roadside near the Kilometer 95 marker that our target feeds on the red fruits of the Hagimit tree. There were already some fellow birders when we got there but no one had seen the Olive-backed Flowerpecker yet. Try the area near Kilometer 98 we were told. We did. Again more fellow birders were already gathered there. However they were after a different species - the Philippine Fairy Bluebird. That would have been a lifer for us too but it was a no show, the fruits of the tree that it frequented were now gone.
We went back to specific spot near Kilometer 95. This time I found the Hagimit tree. Sadly, the fruits were almost gone as well. I patiently staked out the spot while Cynthia surveyed the roadside looking for any bird to photograph. After sitting inside our car - which was parked in front the Hagimit tree -for about half an hour, a tiny, nondescript bird appeared. It started feeding on the red berries. I thought I got my hoped for lifer but looking at the bird, it was duller in color and had a longer, down curved bill. Buzzing Flowerpecker, I sighed, inasmuch as this was not a lifer. Nevertheless, I still took some photos.
It was actually a part of a "wave" of several species of birds that came to the area. After the "wave" had passed I joined my wife in looking at the trees by the roadside. We got some shots of a Yellowish White-eye.
After about an hour, another "wave" came. Once again it was just the Buzzing Flowerpecker that came to feed on the fruits. Our birder friends decided to go to the trail to search for the Yellow-breasted Fruit Dove. Since it was a narrow, slippery, downward trail, we opted not to risk our tender and aging bodies.
Our birding buddy, Bong, also decided to stay. We all went to the Kilometer 98 area. Another flock came passing by. This time we got some shots of the Blue-headed Fantail and the Elegant Tit.
By ten o'clock bird activity had died down considerably. Accepting the fact that there won't be a new addition to our life list, Cynthia and I agreed to call it a day. A few minutes later as we were driving home, heavy rain started to fall.
Birding couple in the making?
6 hours ago