Saturday, February 10, 2018

Before and After

Sometimes fate has a strange way in dealing with bird photographers. Like when the results of our photographic endeavours were much better at the places along the way to and from our planned destination.

Inasmuch as we will be busy with some personal errands on Saturday, we decided, sort of in a spur of the moment, to go birding in Infanta on Friday. In our previous trips to that place, we had seen, on several occasions, some Rails foraging by the roadside. Since we did not have our gear out when that happened (we were still more than an hour away from our destination) we hadn't been able to take pictures of the Rails. This time we were prepared. Good thing we were, for there nonchalantly walking on the grass was a Barred Rail.

Then there was a pair of Striated Grassbirds that appeared to be drying their feathers on top of a stone wall. Here is one of them.

I thought those encounters were a good omen for our birding day. Unfortunately, they were not. Our experience in Infanta was close to frustrating. We would see birds but either we would not be able to take their photos or if we did, the results were not up to par. Take for example this Philippine Fairy Bluebird. Cynthia got a picture but it was too dark and covered with twigs.

Or this Rusty-breasted Cuckoo that was backlighted.

Another backlighted shot was that of the very common Philippine Bulbul.

One of the better shots we got was that of a Paddyfield Pipit. This was the first time we saw this species here so that somehow boosted our rapidly waning enthusiasm.

Then came another heartache. Our friend, Anthony, who was guiding an Englishman, saw a Philippine Trogon (another first sighting for us here in Infanta). However, before I could take a shot at it, it flew off and landed on a branch that was partially covered by leaves. Of course, that resulted in another bad photo.

Closer to noontime, it was Anthony again who pointed to a wave of a mixed flock of birds. First was a Yellow-bellied Whistler. (As I mentioned earlier, this was not the best bird photography experience we had.)

Then followed a Sulphur-billed Nuthatch.

The Elegant Tits, though plentiful, were very active, never stopping even for a single moment.

Finally, the Yellowish White-eyes came. These group preferred the upper level of the trees.

After the wave had passed, my wife and I agreed to call it day. Close to our favourite restaurant which was about an hour away, Cynthia pointed to a black bird perched on a fence. "Pied Bush Chat!" she exclaimed. What followed was a photo session with a very willing and cooperative model.

Reviewing our photos, it was apparent that the best shots were taken before and after our birding sortie in Infanta.

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