Monday, February 22, 2016

DRTy Looks

Dona Remedios Trinidad is a first class municipality in the province of Bulacan. It was created in September 13, 1977 by a decree issued by then President Ferdinand Marcos in honor of his wife's mother. It is the largest town in Bulacan. It lies on the southern edge of the Sierra Madre mountain range. (source: Because Filipinos love abbreviations, this place had been commonly referred to as "DRT".

It was in the forests in DRT that our birder friend, Jonet T. Carpio, encountered the uncommon White-browed Shama. Although usually a skulker and is more often heard than seen, this particular individual in DRT was not as shy as the others of its ilk. Inasmuch as this species would be a lifer for me and my wife, we made arrangements to visit its home on the range.

Early Saturday morning, the four of us; me, my wife, friends Peter and Wenxing, met up with Jonet near the Balagtas exit of the NLEX. About an hour later we arrived at Jonet's place. "It will be another 15 minute hike from here," he informed us, "and we will be fording a couple of streams." It was a bit of a trek, but with the help of the local porters, we got to the site in good time. 

part of the trail
With us were Benjamin Go and Conrad Olayres. A few minutes after we got settled in, our lifer popped into view. It was so accustomed to the presence of humans (photographers even) that there were times we had to move back just to have the bird in focus. 

a close-up view of the White-browed Shama
Wenxing, me and Peter taking pictures of the shama
Soon we were joined by Paolo Dolina and Steve Albano. Another session with the White-browed Shama ensued for almost two hours. There was even a time when it hopped right in front of Cynthia!

We were relaxing while the shama pursued some prey outside of our photographic range when two more bird photographers came. Mark Chang and Christopher Ferrer who had just some good shots of the Scale-feathered and Red-crested Malkoha were now looking forward for a friendly encounter with the star bird of DRT.

DRTy bird photographers
Having had our fill of the Shama, we all agreed to go for the Indigo-banded Kingfisher which Jonet said can be found by the first stream we crossed earlier. It being a Saturday, there were quite a number of picnickers in the place. "Not likely to show up," Jonet said a bit pessimistically, "because there are a lot of people here."

waiting for the Indigo-banded Kingfisher to show up
But luck was still with us because it was Steve who first saw the kingfisher. It was right in front of us across the gurgling stream. Another photo session took place until the increasing volume of music from a nearby radio drove the tiny bird away.

It had been a beautiful day. Not only did we get close looks at our target birds, but we also had a delicious lunch offered by our awesome host which was even enhanced by good company.


vespanay said...

Great captures and good narrative as alwasy Bob!!!

trinket said...

Beautiful photo of the shama! Congratulations on your lifer. The White-browed Shama is one of my most favorite birds.