Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sweat Indulgences

My wife and I were bathed in sweat. Salty, sticky sweat. The sun was shining brightly and the morning humidity was surprisingly high. It seemed incredible that just a few days ago Metro Manila had experienced a devastating flood and continuous heavy rainfall for about ten days straight.

But this gloriously sunny Friday morning we were able to relieve the birding itch that hounded us during those wet monsoon days. The number of birds we saw made the perspiration that deluged our bodies more bearable.

Aside from the usual suspects like the Golden-bellied Flyeaters and Pied Fantails we also saw both Kingfishers - the White-throated and the Collared. Pied Trillers and Philippine Magpie Robins represented the black-and-white group.

As the hours passed and getting soaked in sweat, Cynthia and I both agreed to just stand still under the shades of the trees along the street and enjoy the refreshing breeze that occasionally blows by. In front of us was a copse where we encountered some interesting species in our previous visits to this place.

"Wait and they will come" I assured my wife as I drank heartily from the bottled water that we brought to alleviate the onset of dehydration while visions of Kevin Costner building a ballpark played before my eyes.

And come they did. A glimpse of orange at first. Then a full frontal view of the colorful female Mangrove Blue Flycatcher.

After the adrenaline rush caused by the flycatcher sighting subsided we once again settled into our semi-torpid state as the gentle wind provided a much needed comfort. Then a flash of brown. Question marks popped above our heads. We were going cuckoo trying to figure out what it was. Then..enlightenment! Could it be a cuckoo? Finally we got a better look albeit a little too steep as it chose to perch on a higher branch. As Cynthia was photographing it, I saw another movement farther back. Same size but much lighter in color. An immature methinks. Both disappeared as quickly as they appeared.

ho-hum, these guys are boring
Mom, are those weirdos gone?
The real story however focused on the feeding habits of birds. There was a huge fruiting tree where several species were feasting. My wife and I had the pleasure of observing how different the way one species eat from the other.

The Yellow-vented Bulbul
pick -em up off the street..that's the best way
Lowland White-eye
you have to nibble and savor each bite
Philippine Bulbul
first, grab the fruit in your beak

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