Sunday, September 23, 2012

Birding as an Excuse?

Friday night. My wife and I were playing word games on our respective computers. Buckets of rain were pouring outside our bedroom window punctuated now and then by apocalyptic roars of thunder and flashes of lightning.

"So, are we going birding tomorrow?" Cynthia asked without looking up from her laptop.

Rain, thunder, lightning were foremost in my mind. And I hate admitting it to myself - even a touch of lassitude sort of dampened the tiny vestiges of birding enthusiasm in me. Then it hit me.

I turned away from my iMac and faced my wife. Somehow she sensed that I have an earth-shaking announcement to make. She set down her laptop and looked at me with eyes that sparkled in anticipation albeit tinged with the slightest amount of suspicion.

"Why don't we go to U.P. Diliman early tomorrow?" I suggested, my own eyes twinkling.

"How early?"

"Oh, about 6 am."

She knew! Our vibes were so much in synch that Cynthia was able to figure out right away that I was just using birding at U.P. as a convenient excuse.

We were at the campus grounds even before six. At the parking area in front of the Marine Science Institute (MSI) building we hoped to see the colorful annual migrant, the Blue Rock Thrush. It probably was still too early in the year for its arrival for we did not see it despite a very thorough search.

What we saw, thanks to its very loud "pi-piyaw" calls, was a Black-naped Oriole raiding the fruits of a ficus tree.

A Collared Kingfisher also presented itself rather loudly.

We then went to the parking area of the Main Library. After a short while we met some members of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP): Jops, Maia, Ternel and Tin-tin. They were there to lead the members of the U.P. Mountaineers (UPM) on a bird-watching tour. While waiting for the UPM group to arrive, we were all entertained by Coppersmith Barbets, themselves gorging on the fruits of a nearby tree then perching to enjoy the early morning sun.

At about eight am, we hurriedly bade our friends goodbye. They must have wondered why we were in such a rush. But we were too embarrassed to tell them the truth that our real reason for being at U.P. that morning was not just because of the birds. It was definitely shamefully something else.

It was the mouth-watering crispy adobo flakes and oh so crunchy boneless dilis (small dried fish) that nearby Cafe Via Mare was serving for breakfast.

crispy adobo flakes
crunchy boneless dilis

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