Thursday, July 12, 2012

That IRRI Feeling

As per our friend, Prof. Tirso's suggestion we moved from the TREES to the IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) ricefields. It was a big change from craning our necks to looking below. From the frustration of not seeing the birds we wanted to see to getting good looks at our target species - lots of them even!

Not surprisingly, it was Prof. Tirso who first spotted them. We were all "dude" birding (birding from our vehicles) and Prof. Tirso drove ahead to scout the area for the Greater Painted Snipes. Soon we got a text message from him: "GPS here near where I'm parked". Tina and myself drove our respective cars to where he was. Bingo! Although the birds were skulking behind the tall grass, we still had nice views of several individuals.

But before this fortuitous event, we were driving on the muddy roads next to the ricefields looking for anything interesting to photograph. Once in a while we would stop when we would spot some movements on the rice stalks. Now why on earth did these birds always show up on Cynthia's side is beyond me. Also on occasion we would both get off the car and scout the surrounding areas on foot. We were returning to our vehicle after one these walking explorations that I saw my wife with a smirk on her face. I can tell from her expression that she had something to show me. I was already forming in my mind the new blog that I will perhaps be writing which would most likely be "Better Half Part 2". And of course, she did. It was an almost close-up shot of a Buff-banded Rail.

Add to that the photos she took earlier from her side of the car: A Paddyfield Pipit.....

---- and a gorgeous Zitting Cisticola

I had my "revenge" of sorts in a most interesting, even embarrassing way. I was answering the call of nature when to my surprise a White-browed Crake suddenly flew from nowhere and landed on the wire fence a few feet in front of me. I had with me Cynthia's camera at that time, the shorter 300mm lens. Let's just say I got a quick shot before the bird crake realized I was there and startled, it flew off.

Before we even realized it, it was almost noon. Prof. Tirso, gracious host that he already was invited us to a sumptuous lunch at Kamayan sa Palaisdaan at the nearby town of Bay.

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