Another factor in my not being able to bird as often as I could was the weather. We were now in the middle of the rainy season, and boy, when it does, it really pours. It would rain heavily for a couple of hours, then it would stop completely and the sun would shine through. But that condition is hard when out in the field. You just don't know when it would rain.
That said, Cynthia and I had an opportunity last Saturday to go birding. Two of our birding friends, Toto Gamboa and Dennis Alfaro, were going to Mt. Palay-palay, and we decided to meet up with them there. This will be the first time I will go there on my own. Armed with the directions given by another friend, Bert Madrigal (who drove us there the last time), my wife and I bravely set-off at 4 in the morning.
A little before 7 am, we parked near the entrance to the Puerto Azul resort. Toto and Dennis were already there stalking the Glossy Starlings noisily congregating on the treetop above us. Not seeing much, we decided to move on, leaving the two guys still photographing the starling flock.
Further up the road we noticed a Whiskered Treeswift family. I spotted an immature male perched on a branch above the road. The mom would fly in every now and then and give food to the young one which was already as big as the adult. Occasionally, the adult female would alight on a dead branch not far from the road and at an eye level even. This, of course, was the perfect photo-op, which I also experienced the last time I was here with my other birding buddies. Soon Toto and Dennis arrived in their car and after a little wait, they too, were afforded great views of the female Treeswift.
Once again, Cynthia and I moved on, leaving Toto and Dennis behind. This time we tried the new road going to Nasugbu. Here we got our only lifer of the day: A Pygmy Flowerpecker. As its name implies, this is a tiny bird (about 3 inches) but very active. Both male and female foraged in a fruiting tree, continuously making their "tip" "tip" call. Despite our diligent efforts, we only managed to get a few really bad photos of these little dynamos.
We met up with Toto and Dennis again at the gate of the Caylabne resort. Here a Philippine Coucal tried our patience by answering Toto's imitation of its call but frustratingly remaining hidden from view all throughout. Both guys were determined to get a glimpse of this bird and even hoped to see the White-morph version (which we saw here last time), so we bade them goodbye as we began our trip home. On the road down, Cynthia was able to take some shots of a pair Brahminy Kites soaring above us.
Back home, we were glad that we got a lifer and I was personally happy that I was able to make it to Palay-palay on my own. I am now wondering when and where our next birding foray will be. I guess that depends on when it will stop raining.
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