Sunday, December 07, 2014

Come Before the Storm

We woke up late Saturday morning. We did not make any plans to go birding because we thought that the incoming super typhoon named "Hagupit" would bring torrential rains this weekend. However as we looked out our window, we saw blue skies and the sun shining gloriously! 

"Do you still want to go birding?" my wife asked, knowing what my answer will be.

"Since it's already late, let's just go somewhere relatively near. How about Antipolo?"

Antipolo it was. We skipped our regular breakfast and just had coffee and "ensaymada" on the go so that we could catch up with the morning activity of the birds.

As we entered our favorite birding place, I was surprised to see four, yes, four! Coppersmith Barbets in one tree. I always thought that this species was the loner type.

While we were taking shots at the Barbet community, a Long-tailed Shrike flew near to where we were and looked at us as if saying, "What about me?" So I humored the poor bird.

The rest of the morning had been rewarding even if we only saw the usual avian inhabitants of this still forested subdivision.

Three species in particular gave us quite a challenge albeit in different ways. The Arctic Warbler (or Kamchatka or Japanese Leaf Warbler - it was relatively silent during its foraging) was popping in and out of the dense leaves and never stopped moving even for a second.

The Grey Wagtail, on the other hand, restricted its movement at ground level, and like its arboreal counterpart, was always on the move. What made photographing the wagtail more difficult was that we were inside our car thus restricting our coverage area.

The third bird that posed a challenge was a Grey-streaked Flycatcher. We were already driving on our way out when I caught a glimpse of this tiny bird perched atop a leafless tree. As soon as I stepped out of the car it flew away.

"Wait for it, it will come back," Cynthia assured me.

So I did. It did come back and then flew off again even before I was able to lift my camera to take its picture. This happened several times pushing my patience to its limit. My wife, meanwhile, was off searching for other subjects to photograph. Well, she did get a more cooperative one, a Large-billed Crow.

Eventually, when I was at the edge of my patience, the flycatcher perched once again at the leafless tree and stayed long enough for me to get off a few shots.

"That's it!" I told my wife, "we can now leave."

Cruising down Sumulong Highway, Cynthia suggested we go to the Holy Garden Memorial Park located along the way. This was the second time she made this suggestion. The first time was several months ago and I refused to go then. She stopped talking to me the rest of the trip home. Learning from that experience, I now happily obliged. Good thing I did, too. We added two more species in the short time we stayed at the cemetery grounds - a Paddyfield Pipit and a pair of Pied Bush Chats.

Paddyfield Pipit
male Pied Bush Chat
female Pied Bush Chat

As were enjoying lunch at Wendy's (the Baconator with Mushroom melt was fabulous!) we talked about our birding adventure. We both agreed that we were glad we came before the storm.

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