Sunday, August 20, 2017

Purple Train

A vast majority of our bird photography friends had already seen and posted pictures of the Purple-throated Sunbird in Facebook. This species had been a sure sighting in the garden of another birding friend, Prof. Tirso Paris in Los Banos. So the remaining few of us who still have not yet availed of this opportunity decided to ride the Purple-throated Sunbird train this Saturday. When I contacted our dear Prof. Tirso to request permission to access his sunbird haven, he said he may not be able to guarantee any sightings since the banana flowers that this species feed on had been reduced to only three stalks. The day before, it took almost two hours of waiting before they appeared, our friend told me. Nevertheless I told him that we would still try our luck.

Early Saturday morning, while we were driving to his place, Prof. Tirso messaged me advising us to take our time since it was raining in Los Banos. Indeed it was as we exited the freeway and was on the road along Calamba. After a leisurely breakfast at Jollibees, I got another message from Prof. telling me that we can now go to his garden as the sun was already shining. 

(For Cynthia and myself, it had been like this for several occasions. There was a time when we were going to Kinabalu Park in Sabah. Our driver was telling us that we were so lucky because it had been raining non-stop the past few days there but now the skies were clear.)

As we were unloading our gear, another car also parked behind us. We were pleasantly surprised to see friends Maia and Djop. They were also going after the sunbirds. We settled in Prof. Tirso's garden and traded some stories. After two hours (just as our host predicted) the sunbirds came. First it was an immature. Then there was the female. Finally the colorful male completed our set of photos. This happened again twice within 30-minute intervals. At past 11, the four us - me, my wife, Peter and Wenxing - agreed to call it a day since our collective stomachs were now groaning for some lunch. Maia and Djop decided to stay and look for other species in the area. We thanked Prof. Tirso profusely for his kindness and hospitality.

A short drive to the APEC area yielded only Wood Sandpipers and scads of Munias (both Chestnut and Scaly-breasted) which were either too far or partially hidden among the tall grass for a good shot.

And guess what...after lunch it started to rain again.

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