Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Almost Forgotten Art of Bird Observation

The morning sun was playing hide-and-seek among the clouds...first concealing itself behind the gray curtains then bursting forth in warm bright sunshine like a child in a frolicsome mood. 

Cynthia and I, responding to our birding itch yet not desiring to get trapped in the chaotic traffic that was expected to happen this time of year, decided to go to nearby University of the Philippines' campus in Diliman.

Mesmerized by the changing colors brought about by Phoebus's frivolity, we wanted to see the brilliantly hued Blue Rock Thrush. Like a gift from the sun god we found our bird so impervious to our photographic approaches even displaying a trait heretofore unobserved by us. 

A certain palm tree near the MSI Building was heavily laden with bright red fruits. Our beloved thrush would perch on the concrete ledge of the college structure and from there would sally forth, grab a fruit while on the wing, and fly back to its original perch. Such behavior was certainly interesting to note, considering that we thought that this species was strictly insectivorous. Another thing was the method by which it plucked the fruits while in flight unlike the competing Yellow-vented Bulbuls that alit on the bunch before gobbling its bright red food. 

Having had our birding itch scratched, so to speak, my wife and I decided to pass by the area next to the Vargas Museum to find some icing on our cake. Well, we did find a lifer - a most intriguing one at that. Previous knowledge regarding this kind has now been been disproved. We discovered that it was not really hateful as it remained calm all the while we were observing it. We noted that it peacefully fed among the palm leaves. Moreover, no pigs were harmed nor even threatened at all. 

By being diligent in our observation process, we were able to discover some new characteristics of the birds we saw, perhaps even adding some valuable information to ornithology, both local and...virtual.

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