Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Candaba Dabba Doo!

Cast of Characters:
Fred - Bob Kaufman
Wilma - Cynthia Kaufman
Barney - Gabs Buluran

Fred and Wilma, and their friend, Barney, went on a birding trip to Candaba early one Saturday morning.  The skies were gray and it even drizzled a little as they entered the wetlands. Only the Shrikes (both Brown and Long-tailed) and some Striated Grassbirds were brave enough to venture into the rainy dawn. Eventually the heavens cleared up and that was when the trio approached the pond near the entrance. And that was when they all saw the Eurasian Coot, just beginning to stir from its slumber. It was lifer number one for Fred, Wilma, and Barney. Yabba!

Barney then settled down to patiently wait for the White-breasted Waterhen and Striated Grassbird that kept popping in and out of the bushes. Wilma, meanwhile, saw some bright brown birds flying in and landing on the black muddy grounds at the other side from where Barney was preparing his gear. Wilma informed her husband about her discovery and they both moved closer to where the bright brown birds landed. Surveying the area with his binoculars, Fred was so ecstatic to discover that one of his "most wanted" bird species were there right in front of their very eyes. Lifer number two for the husband and wife team: Oriental Pratincole!  Dabba!

Satisfied that they have a photograph of the Pratincole, Fred and Wilma then joined Barney. Just as they were approaching, a flock of White-shouldered Starlings flew and alighted on the branches of a camachile tree. Barney suggested that they all get in his stonemobile and use that as a blind so as not to spook and therefore be able to get pictures of the very uncommon starlings. It was so that the tree was on the side of both Fred and Wilma. Gallant and gracious Barney waited until both had gotten their shots (he can't see the starlings from the driver's seat) until he slowly opened his door so he can take his turn. Unfortunately the Starlings all flew off just when he poked his head out. But for Fred and Wilma, they were able to garner their third lifer! 

In fairness, Fred told Barney where to find the Javan Pond Herons. Sure enough the rare waders were there where they usually hunt for food. And for Barney he got his lifer, too!  Doo!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Missing Details

Age finally caught up with me. That was made quite evident last Saturday when my wife and I  went to the Candaba wetlands. Strangely, birds were few and uncharacteristically skittish. Perhaps it was the several gunfires that we heard early in the morning that made them so. Now given that the birds were shy and preferred to stay at some distance from us made photography a little difficult. And in most situations I had no recourse but to handhold my big lens. This was where the age factor crept in. At first I can pretty much focus on the small feathered subjects perched way yonder. But as the day progressed my stamina conversely regressed. So much so that the result of my photographic endeavors became increasingly, maddeningly blurry. The sharp details that mark an outstanding photograph started to disappear in a most heartbreaking fashion.

Oh how I miss my tripod/gimbal head!

Such was the case when Cynthia and I saw our only lifer of the day, a Pheasant-tailed Jacana. Even in its non-breeding plumage it was still a beauty to behold. My photograph unfortunately cannot do justice to its exquisiteness.

On the other hand, here are a couple of intensely graphic presentations of missing "de-tails", albeit in a more literal manner.