Sunday, August 24, 2014

Robin's 'Hood

Yes, there were Lowland White-eyes. Scads of them as a matter of fact. But it was the Philippine Magpie Robins that claimed the place as their 'hood.

My wife and I were at the La Mesa Ecopark early Saturday nursing a slim hope of seeing the Rufous Paradise Flycatcher. At the parking lot we met fellow bird photographer Arnel Ceriola. He was the one who posted to Facebook a photo of the said bird last Thursday. He wanted to see it again and maybe get a better shot he told us.

We staked out the place where he last saw the bird. Cynthia, on the other hand, decided to explore the surrounding areas. Almost an hour passed and there wasn't even a twitter from the uncommon flycatcher. I texted my wife and asked if she found anything interesting. "Mangrove Blue Flycatchers" she texted back. I excused myself from the stake out and told Arnel I'd be joining my wife. It was not long after I met up with Cynthia that I saw the Mangrove Blue. "Told ya!" my wife said with a smug smile.

Overhead we could hear the constant "pi-piyaw" of the Black-naped Orioles.

Flocks of hyperactive Lowland White-eyes were constantly moving from tree to tree.

Still, as I mentioned earlier, the day belonged to the Philippine Magpie-Robins. Juveniles and adults were scavenging tidbits from the horse feed that fell on the ground. The bullying tactics of the Yellow-vented Bulbuls never fazed these black-and-white birds. It was, after all, their 'hood.

A little after 10 am, we decided to call it a day. On our way out, we met more fellow bird photographers who were intent on finding the fabled "paradise" bird. Bert and his friend, May, were lucky enough to get a photo of a Cuckoo (ID still to be confirmed). Rocky, Roy and Fr. Auckhs were starting their own stake-outs. Arnel decided to leave earlier satisfied at having photographed the immature Red-bellied Pitta.

Cynthia suggested we do a quick look from the view deck before leaving the park. The waterway was almost completely covered by grass and weeds and there were no birds in sight. We were about to give up when a small flock of Scaly-breasted Munias took a break from their flight and gave us enough time for some photo-ops.

Even though we missed on our "target" birds, we were happy with what we got and especially enjoyed the local 'hood.

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