Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Birds and the Beach

Cynthia made a commitment to join her high school batch mates for a Monday mini-reunion at a beachfront residence in Nasugbu, Batangas. Inasmuch as that would be a ladies only affair, we agreed that I would do some bird photography to pass away the time while waiting for their gathering to be over. That would take about half a day, she told me.

Not knowing if there would be any birding places nearby, we decided to "case the joint" by going to Nasugbu on Sunday afternoon. Our original plan was for me to go back to Mt. Palay-palay (a favorite birding place of ours - which was along the way to Nasugbu). When we realized how far that was from our final destination, Cynthia was a bit worried as to where I will spend my time alone.

Another thing was we don't know exactly where the house of her friend was. After checking in at our hotel, we inquired the locals as the where the compound of Cynthia's classmate was. "It's up the road going to Ternate", was the unanimous reply. Thankfully, a tricycle driver volunteered to show us the way since he was going that route anyway.

As soon as we entered the compound we were amazed to see a pond and a bit of forest along the unpaved road. "Kingfisher!" I yelled and pointed the bird to my wife. It was on her side of the car so I hurriedly unpacked the gear and handed it over to her. She got a shot of the Common Kingfisher.

A few minutes later, "kingfisher!" yelled Cynthia. This time a White-throated one was perched on a tree. It was already quite late in the afternoon and the bird was in a shade so her photos were not sharp. Farther down the road Pied Bush Chats were hunting before the onset of darkness.

We were both smiling as we drove back to our hotel. Now we know where I would be spending the morning of the next day. And in case my bird photography would not be as fruitful, there's always the beautiful, serene, and uncrowded beach where I could spend time lolling and basking in the morning sun.

Monday morning, after a sumptuous breakfast prepared by the host, I left the ladies on their own and started walking around the area. Just behind the house was a tall tree where bird activity was starting to pick up. It was a surprise to see a Coppersmith Barbet peek through the leaves as I was aiming my camera at some noisy Yellow-vented Bulbuls.

I returned to the pond but the Common Kingfisher was a no-show. What showed up was the White-throated and this time I was able to get some good shots at it.

A Pied Triller even joined in.

Soon I got a text message from Cynthia asking me to return to where they were. On the way there I saw my third kingfisher - the Collared one. Surprisingly, it was more skittish than the other two species, thus I only got a so-so picture.

It was almost noon when I arrived at her friend's residence. Once again lunch was a feast. 

And oh, I did spend some time at the beach. It's not very often that one will find a lovely seashore devoid of tourists such as this one. The sunset was absolutely gorgeous!

The sunrise was equally enthralling and having breakfast while looking at the calm seas was an unforgettable experience.

I even managed to do some wading photography.

By two o'clock my wife and I were already on our way home. She had a grand time with her schoolmates and I was glad I came along. The birds and the beach were fabulous.

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