Monday, May 21, 2018

When Dove has Gone

We were met at the gate by the husband-and-wife caretakers of the property. "The Cream-bellied Fruit Dove is gone" the husband informed us, "because the young ones have fledged." That was sort of expected. Before I could even ask about the other dove, he said, in an apologetic manner, "the Yellow-bellied is no longer there. There was heavy rain with thunder and lightning the other night and when we looked the following morning, the nesting dove had already left." "It never came back," he added.

As they say, when it comes to dove, there is no forever. So we did what anyone who lost their dove had done - we moved on. 

Was it by chance that we found redemption at a place not that far from a chapel? We were waiting for the hoped for Grand Rhabdornis - which was once again a no-show - when Cynthia saw a small bird perch on a tree at some distance from where we were. "What is it?" I asked my wife. "I don't know," she answered, "but it looked like a munia."

"A munia??" I exclaimed doubtfully. "In this kind of environment?"

So I looked though my long lens and my face reddened from extreme embarrassment. It was indeed a munia. A White-bellied one even. I mean who would expect a bird that prefers lowland forests and ricefields to be this high up on a mountain. This was the first time that this species had been seen here, as far as I know.

After almost an hour of waiting and no other birds showing up, we both agreed to return to our car. As we approached the chapel, there were some bird calls emanating from a fruiting tree. It didn't take long for one of those sources to come into view. A black bird. Philippine Fairy Bluebird was my guess. But wait, the eyes are not red. I hoped that it would be the uncommon Blackish Cuckooshrike. But...I was right the first time! The reason for the eyes not being red was because it was a juvenile! (Thanks to Rob and Mhark for the confirmation).

As if that wasn't enough, the mood changed from blue to green as a pair of Guaiaberos posed for a few minutes for us. Again, this was another first time sighting of this species for us in Infanta.

Then, a Coppersmith Barbet came in full view, at eye level, offering us our best shot of the day.

Back at the roadside, we chanced upon a fruiting hagimit tree. And where there are fruits, there will be birds. Although not as many this time. Two kinds of Flowerpeckers were feeding on it - the Orange-bellied and the Bicolored.

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
Bicolored Flowerpecker - male
Bicolored Flowerpecker - female
A family of Philippine Bulbuls also came, the parents feeding their young ones.

At around 11 am we decided to call it a day. As we delighted in our sumptuous lunch, we both agreed that even in the absence of dove, there can still be happiness.

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