Maybe it's because I don't have my good luck charm (aka my wife) with me. It was one of those rare occasions where I went birding without Cynthia. It was a mutual agreement anyway: I go birding in the morning while she house sits then she goes to a baby shower in the afternoon and my turn stay at home.
The day before I got a message from birding buddy, Bong, that a female Spotted Wood Kingfisher had been seen at the La Mesa Ecopark. Although not a lifer, it would a welcome break from my long hiatus in going out to take pictures of birds.
Saturday morning, Bong, Raymund, myself, and resident birder, Anthony, staked out the kingfisher. After two-and-a-half hours, the only kingfisher we saw was the Collared kind.
The weather wasn't cooperating either as the skies were blanketed with grey clouds. And the local birds - the Pied Trillers, Lowland White-eyes, Black-naped Orioles and Pied Fantails - frustratingly kept staying in the uppermost branches of the tall trees. Backlit photography all the way!
Around 9:30 I bade my friends farewell. As I turned my car around, I noticed my buddies frantically taking shots at something. "Cuckoo!" Raymund said. I unpacked my gear, jumped out of the car and joined the frenzy. The Rusty-breasted Cuckoo played with us as it perched on a branch, stayed for a couple of minutes, then fly to another branch, posed a bit then fly again, until it was out of sight.
And that was it. I renewed my farewell to my friends and drove home all the while thinking: Fie on you, Spotty bird! Disappointing four birders who were drenched in sweat on that humid morning. And thank you, Rusty-breasted bird, for giving those four birders the much needed thrill and driving them cuckoo with your antics.
Gedau Estate, Sandakan
13 hours ago