Thursday, October 12, 2017


It happened again. An impromptu twitch that resulted in another heartache. We saw our target bird alright, I even got a photo, albeit not even close to a "documentary" shot. Still the seemingly unending frustrating experiences lately had me reflecting deeply.

Our trip to the Avilon Zoo premises actually wasn't bad. Thanks to fellow birder and guide, Mhark Gee, we got a good harvest of bird photographs. The highlight of which was some close shots of an immature Rusty-breasted Cuckoo.

There were the usual birds that fed on the fruiting ficus tree.

Crested Myna
Immature Black-naped Oriole
Lowland White-eye
Red-keeled Flowerpecker
And of course, the "trash bird"..

Yellow-vented Bulbul
However, those uncommon migrants - the Chestnut-cheeked Starlings preferred the fruits behind the leaves and at a farther distance. Even Mhark was baffled by such behavior since they were out in the open just the day before.

Trust me that is a Chestnut-cheeked Starling.
And that was the reason for my self-reflection. This morning while I was doing my daily devotional, one Bible verse stood out prominently. It was God's answer to my introspections.

"give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1st Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

Monday, October 09, 2017

Acquiring Migrants

It was another disappointing trip to Infanta. The reason I could think of was that the fruits and the flowers were now gone. And the surprisingly late rainy season.

Our very first bird though was seen and photographed while we were still halfway to our destination. Rather the usual Barred Rails, it was the comparatively more shy Plain Bush Hen that posed at the roadside.

Although the usual wave of mixed flocks did appear around 10 am, they were now farther than where they used to gather and therefore much more difficult to photograph.

Thankfully, the migrants were more cooperative. Of course, one can never miss the Brown Shrike.

This Grey Wagtail kept flying over the road ahead if us then suddenly stopped and perched on a boulder. We wondered why it had one foot raised up all the while it was resting on the said boulder.

And finally, we were rewarded with some good views of a colorful male Blue Rock Thrush. We saw a female earlier, but it was on a tall tree branch and was terribly backlit.

Again, just like last week, our birding trip was cut short by a downpour.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Nothing New

Honestly, I had my expectations at zero level even before we arrived at Infanta. The past 5 visits to this place had been sadly disappointing. To dip so badly while others enjoyed good views, some even quite close, of uncommon birds, of species that would have been lifers for me and my wife was heartbreaking. And now the promise of another potential addition to our list brought us back here.

As if our previous torturous experiences were not enough, not seeing our target bird for today added to our misfortunes. Perhaps it was due to the inclement weather that only a few birds showed up. The sunbirds were nowhere to be found and the usual wave of mixed flocks never happened.

There were birds alright, but nothing new - two species of flowerpeckers, the Buzzing and the Pygmy and a couple of endemic raptors, both of which were either backlit or simply too far for good photos. Remember, the weather was gloomy and even had drizzles, so photography was really a challenge.

Buzzing Flowerpecker
Pygmy Flowerpecker
Philippine Serpent Eagle
Philippine Falconet
At around 11 the drizzle turned into rain. As we drove through the downpour, I pondered on what just happened again. My inner self whispered: It's nothing new.