Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fordham Moment

Cynthia and I did our morning walk around our subdivision a little bit earlier than usual. Hoping to see some birds, I brought along my pair of binoculars. When we reached the corner of Fourth and Fordham we stopped for a while to catch our breaths (Fourth Street is a bit steep). That was when I saw an unfamiliar silhouette of a bird perched on a rooftop. It was bigger than the common Eurasian Tree Sparrows and stouter than the slim Yellow-vented Bulbuls. Looking through the bins I could tell it was some kind of a thrush. All I could see was its back so identifying it was a bit of a problem. I gave the binoculars to my wife and told her to keep an eye on the bird because I need to go home to get the camera. Then I ran. For three blocks. (It was downhill so it was relatively easy.) I rushed to our room, picked up the 5D3 with the Tamron lens, loaded the CF card and hurried out of the house. This time it was uphill going back to Fourth and Fordham. My tongue was hanging and I was practically crawling when I handed the camera to Cynthia. Thankfully, the thrush was still there. She took several shots but they were all backlit. Having regained a little bit of strength, I took over the photographic duties. I was trying to open up the aperture a couple of f-stops but the camera wasn't cooperating! Anyway, the thrush was now facing us and looking at the dark photos I was able to get, I was able to confirm that it was an immature Blue Rock Thrush! After a while, the thrush flew off. 

Then a pair of black birds of about the same size flew across the street and landed on top of a water tank. "Crested Mynas!" I yelled as took several shots at the one perched in plain view.

Both birds took off soon after. We returned our attention back to the rooftop hoping that the thrush would return. That was when my wife saw a pair of Chestnut Munias gathering some nesting material from a clump of bamboos in front of us.

We saw the Blue Rock Thrush again when we tried to look for it at the next street. However, it was on a rooftop that was even higher and farther from where we were. Did I say even more backlit than before? We gave up on the migrant bird and walked back to Fordham. Cynthia heard a twittering noise. "There's a bird up there," she said, pointing to the leafy tree at the side of the road. I looked and was thrilled to see a Pied Triller! That was the first time we've seen this species in our neighborhood. 

Then two Black-naped Orioles made a pass over. One of them stopped by to take a look at us before joining its companion.

As we neared the corner of Fourth and Fordham, my wife pointed to a palm tree two blocks away. "There's a colasisi there," she assured me. I looked through my long lens and sure enough, there was indeed a Philippine Hanging Parrot living up to its name and screaming at the Yellow-vented Bulbul perched on the palm stalk across from it. We tried getting closer but somehow the said palm tree was not visible because it was behind a tall house. The colasisi could only be seen from Fordham because this street was on a higher level than the one two blocks from here.

It was almost 8 am and we both were sweating from all that bird chasing. As we slowly walked towards our home, we were so glad that we had that exciting Fordham moment when some not so common birds showed up for us.

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