Monday, October 31, 2011

A Matter of Thrush

I recently turned 65. Such a milestone age should have been reason enough for some grand celebration but sadly, it didn't turn out that way. For the simple reason that I got sick. Somehow my digestive organs picked this day to stage a revolt against my internal constitution. And made me an unwilling participant in the occupy the bathroom movement. Repeatedly. For several days.

By Saturday, October 29th, things were all quiet on the digestive front. Everything seemed as normal as can be. Time to go birding. Inasmuch as I was still leery about my health, I thought it prudent to just go to nearby University of the Philippines' campus.

As I was parking our car at the MSI (Marine Science Institute) grounds, I was thinking aloud whether the annual visitor, the Blue Rock Thrush, would already be there. 

"What's that bird on the ground?" Cynthia asked.

I looked. 

"Blue Rock Thrush", I replied in the calmest, most insouciant way.

Unfortunately, it flew away even before I could get my camera gears out of the trunk. Hoping that it would return in the not too distant future, I whiled away my time by photographing the antics of a Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker.

"Do you think the Thrush would come back?" my wife was curious.

"I trust it would"

"What's that bird perched on the palm tree?"

"Blue Rock Thrush", I replied in the calmest, most insouciant way.

Unfortunately, it flew away before I could focus on it.

This time a Pied Triller provided me the much appreciated entertainment as we waited for the Thrush to reappear. 

Cynthia, on the other hand, was losing in the game of hide-and-seek with a Yellow Wagtail. Several attempts at locating it turned out futile. Soon she gave up and as she approached the tall acacia tree, she started to ask,  

"What bird....."

"Blue Rock Thrush!" I excitedly interrupted her. And began taking pictures of the bird lest it decide to take a leave once again. Thankfully, it didn't. It was one of those what my wife aptly termed "modeling sessions" where our subject just stood there - facing left, facing right, turning around, moving to an area with a different background, etc.

Having had our fill of the Blue Rock Thrush, I thought I'd push our luck and go for the Philippine Hanging Parrot that hangs out in a nearby gated community. Having obtained our permission from friend Jv Noriega (who lives in that subdivision), we sought the tiny green bird. And found nothing. Unfortunately, some men were clearing the tall grass nearby which probably spooked our target bird.

As in any birding trip, we had some good sightings and there were disappointments. One thing that came out from my sick days was that I had time to reflect on many things. Turning 65 and being under the weather put me in a cogitative state. I resolved that at this age, I need to enjoy life even more. I will not allow disappointments, envy, and other petty stuff to ruin my day. I am blessed with a wife who loves me and shares the same passion I have for birding. Simply being with her as we look at the beautiful feathered creatures, whether common or a lifer, is something that I treasure with all my heart.

Postscript: As I write this, I have once again fallen ill, albeit not as insufferable as the one I had a week ago. Still it cost us a trip to Los Banos. The way my body is behaving right now could affect future birding trips. But I put my health and my life in the hands of God. I know He will be there for me. It's a matter of faith and trust in Him.


Felicia said...

Glad you're feeling better, Bob! Those birds look freaky to me--it must be fun birding in your corner of the world!

Gerry Brett said...

Hey Bob many happy returns on your recent landmark birthday. Hope your health improves. Great shots especially that Blue Rock-thrush. How I envy you being able to walk into a bird like that! Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob, my husband and I, birders who live in Arizona, are going to be in Manila in a couple of weeks for about a week. Neither of us have ever been anywhere in Asia before and we are both excited and hoping to pick up a few lifers while there, although work rather than birding is the main reason for our visit. Any suggestions, advice would be most appreciated. Thanks, Jen and Steve

Bob Kaufman said...

Hello Jen and Steve,

You're in luck inasmuch as migration is now in full swing over here in the Philippines. I am assuming that you will be based in MetroManila during your stay. Would it be okay if I ask what particular day/time will you be available for birding? That way I can be more specific on what birding place(s) you can visit and possibly if my wife and I could accompany you and your husband.

Hope to hear from you soon! Please reply in private to my email address: