Thick, soupy fog blanketed the road as we approached our destination in Infanta. Droplets of rain pelted our windshield. Our moods were as gloomy as the weather we were experiencing. Would we even see any bird? was the question all three of us were brooding on.
A little farther up the road, the mist slowly lifted revealing the lush forest.
The rain also gradually abated offering hope to this three determined birders. Then we saw a bird running by the roadside. "Quail!" I shouted excitedly. Peter grabbed my camera, which was sitting on my lap, and took some shots of the brownish creature streaking at his side of the road. The bird then scurried inside a thick clump of vegetation and completely disappeared. Peter then showed me the photos he took which unfortunately were mostly blurred. Not his fault, though, the lighting was bad, his car's engine was running, and the subject was constantly moving. At least the pictures were good enough for me to be able to properly identify that bird - a Spotted Buttonquail, and a lifer!
Elated, we proceeded to the area by the brook. As we approached the stake out place we heard the murmuring of a dove. It went on and off for about an hour but the source of that low humming never showed up. In its place came a pair of Philippine Fairy Bluebirds. A lifer for Peter. Somehow these fairies took away the gloom from the precipitation that once again dampened our morning sortie.
Several forays along the rain-drenched road yielded zero sightings. As it was nearing noon and the drizzle was continuously pouring down, we all decided to settle in at "The Hulk" - a lodge with a dining area near Km 97. We met birder friend, Sean, who will be staying overnight there. After lunch the skies stopped shedding tears and slowly inhaled the haze that covered the valley across from us. It was then that Sean came rushing towards us with glowing exuberance and said "hornbill!" We knew what he meant and we eagerly followed him to the edge of the property overlooking the valley. There a teenaged boy named Jay, described (in fluent English) the exact location where the Rufous Hornbill was supposedly perched. Squinting our eyes and looking through our camera lenses we eventually located our hoped-for bird. Yes, it was about a kilometre away and was just a reddish dot in the green forest below where we were standing.
It was a total surprise when three more individuals joined the one we were photographing initially.
This species had been one of our targets in our repeated trips to this place and at last we found them. A whole family even!
It was a joyous trip back home having garnered several lifers (three for Peter and two for me and Cynthia). What started as a foggy, gloomy morning had a fairy tale ending.
A brilliant reminder about life ♥️
3 days ago