Saturday, June 30, 2012

Puerto Princesa Birding - Day 1

Carlos "Angel"

Cynthia and I checked in at Palo Alto Bed & Breakfast at around 2 pm. The vicinity around the hotel was forested and looked promising bird-wise. Since we had nothing planned for that afternoon and the sun was shining gloriously, we decided to explore the surrounding areas. 

The very first bird we saw was a female Olive-backed Sunbird enjoying the gumamela blooms. And where there's a female could the male be far behind? 

There was an empty lot nearby except that it was not "empty" in the fullest sense of the word. For trees abound on it - avocado, star apple, mango and a flowering tree which we couldn't identify. Beneath were low shrubs competing for the sliver of sunlight that filters through the leaves of the tall trees. Among these shrubs dwell a juvenile White-vented Shama.

Cynthia heard some chirping coming from the trees inside a compound. The gate was ajar so we sort of sneaked in to locate the source of that sound. That's when a young man came out of the house perhaps suspicious of these two elderly people who were pointing their cameras at their residence area. We told him that we were looking for birds.

"Can you hear that call?" Cynthia asked him.

"Tamsi", was his curt response.

"Sunbird", was my short explanation to my wife.

We asked him his name.

"Carlos", he replied tersely.

For the rest of the afternoon Carlos guided us around his neighborhood, listening and then pointing the birds to us. Thanks to him we saw and photographed the Brown-throated Sunbird, also known as Plain-throated Sunbird, also known as NOT-the-Copper-throated-you were-hoping-for Sunbird. 

Aside from the sunbirds, a flock of Palawan Flowerpeckers also joined them in picking at the tiny flowers. These birds were so small and active that we had a difficult time taking their picture.

He also pointed to us some Ashy-fronted Bulbuls also known as Olive-winged Bulbuls. As we discovered during our stay in Puerto Princesa, Ashy-fronteds were the equivalent of the Yellow-vented Bulbuls here in terms of ubiquity. We also had fleeting glimpses of the Black-naped Monarch. 

Ashy-fronted Bulbul

We were chasing a Drongo when it rained. Hard driving rain that lasted about 30 minutes. When it let up a little bit Carlos borrowed an umbrella from their neighbor (in whose premises we got caught in the rain). He let us use the umbrella and accompanied us as we returned to the hotel.
While Cynthia was drying up at the hotel room, I wandered over to the deck. The rain finally stopped and the sun was slowly emerging from the dark clouds. I was looking at some movements below the deck and was surprised to see a Rufous-tailed Tailorbird! I sprinted back to our room with the speed of a fleeing antelope, grabbed my camera and dashed back to the deck. But the Tailorbird was gone! I waited for a few more minutes - still nothing. Just as I was preparing to go back to our room to get ready for our trip to the Badjao restaurant, it returned to where I first saw it.

We went to the restaurant around 5:30 while there's still light so we can hopefully see the Copper-throated Sunbird. It's a sure thing there, our friends assured us. But there was no Sunbird. Only a very busy Pied Fantail. 

We went inside the restaurant and asked one of the waiters if they have seen any kingfishers nearby. Only Stork-billed was his reply. We were excited since this would be a lifer for us as well (like the Copper-throated Sunbird). We waited for the food we ordered and kept an eye on the mangrove trees around us. Darkness soon fell and no Stork-billed ever came. At least the food arrived right on time. And it was delicious!

1 comment:

maiabird said...

The juvenile White-vented Shama looks sooo interesting! =) And the shot of the tailorbird is amazing!!!