Thursday, December 28, 2017

Subic Birding - Day 3 - Best

Although we did not see a lot of birds on our third day, those we saw were very friendly. They would even come close that some of our shots were full frame!

First off were the Balicassiaos

Then a Guaiabero were as curious about us as we of it.

The highlight was when a Rough-crested Malkoha, normally a skulker, not only popped-put in the open, it was so close to us and even gave us several poses.

Not to be outdone was a Philippine Bulbul who even chose a flower (fruit?) to perch on.

When we went to the area near the bay, this Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker was so focused on finding its food sometimes just a few feet away from us.

Finally, a White-throated Kingfisher just sat on the wire as we took pictures of it from our car window. Which we found rather strange because the past couple of days, they would fly off as we try to approach it in our vehicle.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Subic Birding - Day 2 - Better

Although the weather was still inconsistent, we had better results in our second day of birding in Subic.

When we first saw this bird, I was surprised! I know that it was a White-bellied Woodpecker. However, it had a yellow-crest instead of the usual red. A few days later I consulted our friend, Desmond Allen, an ornithologist, and he said that it was most likely a genetic variation.

Another surprise was when we saw a Common Sandpiper standing next to a flower garden.

That afternoon we chanced upon a mixed flock of mostly dark-colored birds. It was Cynthia who got the better shots this time.

Bar-bellied Cuckoo Shrike
As we were about to leave, a very cooperative Philippine Bulbul posed for me.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Subic Birding - Day 1 - Good

It had become some sort of tradition that we spend the year end here at Subic. This year was no exception. Unfortunately at the start of our first day, the weather was inclement. We saw birds, some even close, but the dark skies and occasional drizzle prevented us from taking good photos. The resulting images were either too dark or backlit that not even photoshop can fix them.

One interesting observation we had was when a male Luzon Hornbill confronted a Green Imperial Pigeon. I didn't think it was a hostile encounter, more like curiosity on the part of the hornbill. The pigeon was quite unperturbed anyway.

There was also another bird we saw that I believe was a Blackish Cuckoo-Shrike. As I said earlier, photos were not that good to give 100% confidence in its identification.

Weather was a bit better in the afternoon. This time we got a good enough shot of a Rough-crested Malkoha peeping through the leaves.

The star birds of the day were the Blue-throated Bee-eaters.

Our first day may not have have started well, but in the end something good still happened.

Monday, December 04, 2017

I Want to be Frank

When we arrived at the birding spot along the road to Infanta we saw them. Friends Irene and Wenxing, together with Mark and Frank were standing close to the edge and staring at something. I immediately parked the car. Cynthia and I quickly joined this group. Mark heard a "Hmmm!" He followed the sound and we all followed him. Then Frank pointed at something. "Flame-breasted Fruit Dove," he said so casually about the bird that we have missed seeing the past nine times we've been to this place. I looked at where he was pointing and for the life of me could not see the bird. Frank then gave a very detailed description of where the dove was perched. 

"See that think horizontal branch behind the long leaves? Just below it is the bird perched on a smaller branch."

Cynthia and I both followed the directions he gave and, voila! one lifer that frustrated us for the past 2 months or so, was finally captured by my camera. Wenxing who knew about the painful experiences given to us by this colorful species, congratulated us and jokingly said now we can go home. And this thanks to Frank. 

I want to be Frank because I want his spotting abilities.

In another incident, while their group was waiting for the appearance of another hoped-for bird, Cynthia and I wandered several meters away. It was then that I saw movement in a tree some distance away. It had the habit of a flycatcher darting from its perch and then coming back. I took some "documentary" shots and hoped that it was what I suspected it to be. When I had the chance, I consulted Frank and showed him the image I just took. "Blue-and-White Flycatcher," he confirmed my suspicion. Another lifer was added to our list.

I want to be Frank because I want his identification skills.

Finally, the bird that they were hoping to see appeared. Frank signaled to us to come closer. Waiting Patiently, Whispering Politely, Witnessing Pleasantly a Wow! Performance. We were rewarded with good photos of our third and final lifer for the day. 

I want to be frank.

But I can't.

Epilogue: We want to thank Irene, Frank, Wenxing and Mark for helping us add three more lifers to our list in a short span of two hours! We really appreciate it, dear friends.