Saturday, February 01, 2014

"The Scream" Birding

The story goes that when Edvard Munch, the famous Norwegian painter, was walking with two friends, and as the sun was setting the sky suddenly turned blood red. He paused, and feeling exhausted, leaned on the fence. His two friends walked on and he just stood there trembling with anxiety and sensed a scream passing through nature. That inspired him to create an art masterpiece which he titled Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature).

My wife and I were back at the La Mesa Ecopark yesterday (Friday, January 31). This was our third visit in a week. Again our primary purpose was to look for a lifer - the Eyebrowed Thrush. We staked out the possible places where we hoped the thrush would appear. We were soon joined by fellow birders, Bong Nabong, Steve Albano and Chin Fernandez. Another fellow birder and new acquaintance, BJ Capacite, also joined us. Three hours passed and no thrush showed up - not even the resident Ashy. BJ, who had been going around the area, showed me a photo of a bird that he, being a newbie, wanted me to identify. 

"Mangrove Blue Flycatcher," I said congratulating him on his find.

"There's another bird that I saw right after this," he said showing me the photograph. My eyes fell out of their sockets.

"Eyebrowed Thrush!" I shrieked. "Where'd you find it?"

"Not far from where we are now," he replied and quickly led the way.

"There was where I saw the flycatcher, then I heard a bird call and there (pointing to a fruiting tree) was where the thrush was!"

All six of us stood there with our cameras pointed at the tree that BJ referred to. Half an hour dragged by. Not even a sound came from the trees. An hour passed. The mini-forest was now filled by loud voices of school children having a field trip. We all agreed to call it a day.

As Cynthia and I slowly trudged along the trail on the way out it seemed that the sky just turned blood red. Our companions walked ahead. I stopped by the fence feeling exhausted, trembling with frustration and sensed a scream passing through nature.

I felt what Edvard Munch experienced 121 years ago.

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