Sunday, March 02, 2014

War and Peace Birding

The loud cawing attracted our attention. Following the source of those angry calls my wife and I saw a pair of Large-billed Crows circling a tall tree. Alternately they would dive at something while continuously berating at the object of their wrath. I slowly inched our vehicle closer to the tree of contention. Then I saw it (Cynthia, unfortunately was on the passenger side and therefore could not see what was going on) - the crows were mobbing a Philippine Hawk Eagle! Despite it's bigger size the Hawk-Eagle was unable to ward off its attackers and could only manage some squawks of protest.

We've been to this subdivision in Antipolo City many times to go birding, and this was the first sighting I had of Nisaetus philippensis here. For about fifteen minutes the black marauders harassed the large raptor until finally not being able to stand the hostility and to save face, the Hawk-eagle flew away. Interestingly, the pair of crows did not give chase. Perhaps they have a nest nearby that they were trying to protect from the predator, thus the enmity?

The war between two species now over, the other birds became more active in their foraging for food. A surprise was an Elegant Tit displaying its black and yellow color in the blue morning sky.

Then there was a very active Grey-streaked Flycatcher living up to its name. It would dart after some unfortunate insect and then return to its original perch - just a few meters from us.

After saying thanks to our hosts, the Webbs, we were returning to our vehicle when I saw something big and brown fly across from us. It was my wife's great spotting abilities that eventually located the whereabouts of the mystery bird. I grabbed her camera with the shorter gear so I could be more mobile and chased after it (it kept flying from tree to tree). It was only later that day when I was processing my photos that I was able to determine what the unknown species was - a Philippine Hawk-cuckoo! I thought it was serendipitous to see two uncommon birds whose names start with "Philippine Hawk" in just a few hours birding.

As we were driving out, we encountered a pair of lovey-doveys. Two usually skittish Spotted Doves were side-by-side on a branch cooing to one another, oblivious of their surroundings. 

What started with the ugliness of war, our birding day ended with the beauty of peace…and love!

1 comment:

trinket said...

Hawk eagle and Hawk cuckoo! Love love love! <3 Great photos of 2 handsome endemics!