Saturday, May 21, 2011

Four off the Bench

All four of us were seated, chatting idly as we waited for some action. Occasionally we would exchange pointers on how to improve our game. Sometimes we would reminisce the thrills we had from places we've been to. At about seven, we stood up, took our positions, and looked intently ahead filled with great anticipation.

Soon they came. A trickle at first, then followed by a flock.

Cynthia and I were enjoying the hospitality of Ramon and Poch at Ramon's house at the slopes of Mt. Banahaw in a place called BK Valley (the BK stands for Bangkong Kahoy or Wooden Bench). Ramon had been telling birders and bird photographers that the trees in front of his balcony hosts a variety of birds. And boy, he wasn't kidding! There before us were birds galore! Led by the colorful Blue-headed Fantail (lifer!)

the mixed flock also consisted of two kinds of White-eyes; the Yellowish and the Mountain (both lifers!)

the active Citrine Canary-Flycatcher (lifer!)

the gorgeous Sulfur-billed Nuthatch

and the black-and-yellow Elegant Tit. 

Ramon later described it as having a furious 15-minute photography session with these tiny, active birds. As is the nature of any mixed flock of forest birds, they eventually moved on. Recovering from the burst of adrenaline rush, we relaxed a bit. I took that opportunity to answer the call of nature. Upon my return, my wife was frantically waving at me and pointing at the tree in front of her. I noticed that Ramon and Poch were already firing off shot after shot from their vantage points. I looked at where Cynthia was pointing and was amazed to see a Brush Cuckoo perched insouciantly some 7 meters away!

A little past eight and bird activity died down somewhat. We thanked Ramon profusely and returned to the resort's restaurant to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Which was interrupted by the appearance of a Red-crested Malkoha alighting on the tree right next to the restaurant. I grabbed my wife's camera, almost scrambled on the way to the tree where the big black bird was, tried to get it's photograph but bungled the job miserably.

Back to our delicious breakfast, Cynthia and I were so happy to have visited this quaint resort in the town of Dolores, in Quezon province. Our gracious host, Dion Pullan, made sure that our stay at BK Valley was comfortable and pleasant. 

Did I mention that I got four lifers off the Wooden Bench?


Lydia said...

I enjoyed reading your blog, Bob. What you wrote about BK Valley should be in a magazine, more for how you narrated your experience and the photos you shared.

Larry said...

Wow, what a day! Four lifers from the bench!

All great shots Bob! Those White-eyes are amazing, and the Sulfur-billed Nuthatch, WOW!

BTW Bob, where have you been?

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Love the eyes on that nuthatch! What a treat.

NatureFootstep said...

So many beautiful birds you have there Bob. The nuthatch look really odd. Never seen it before. Colored like that must be unusual.

Gerry Brett said...

Great blogging, Bob. I've filed this in my brain under "must go" for our next trip to the Philippines. I am so pleased you have not been deterred by your recent misfortune.