Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Twice Around the Block

It had become almost a daily routine for my wife and I to walk around our condominium area; first at the "Great Lawn" then around the block. Of course, each time we do so, we do some birdwatching on the side. Lately we've been seeing some new species, aside from the regular ones we see daily since we started our routine almost a year ago.

This morning I decided to bring along a camera, the one with the shorter lens. As we walked around the lawn, I was shocked that there were no birds at all! Even the very common Eurasian Tree Sparrows (ETS) which were always feeding on the grassy area (we even counted about 15 of them). This time there was just one and it was so skittish that I wasn't able to take a shot at it.

At the ground level, as we were about to finish going around the block, we were again surprised at the scarcity of the avian population. Even the distant bare tree where Collared Kingfishers used to hang out was devoid of any species of birds. We even joked that the reason for that was because I brought a camera along.

As we passed by the guard house at the entrance, we heard the "kurukutuk" of a Zebra Dove. Cynthia tried to locate the source of that call and failed miserably on that. Then we saw a brown bird fly from the tree in front of us and landed on the roof of the restaurant across from where we were.

As we neared our building, the ETS seemed a bit friendlier. Now some individuals were actually posing to be photographed.

Even the Pacific Swallows decided to perch on a ledge.

Then I noticed some commotion by the palm trees near where cars were parked. I moved a little closer and was thrilled to see a couple of Lowland White-eyes searching for their breakfast. As is their habit, they were hyperactive in their search for insects and quite difficult to track.

Encouraged by the apparent turn around of our birding luck, we decided to take another walk around the block. As we approached the entrance to the workers area, a Yellow-vented Bulbul was greeting the morning.

All of a sudden a flock of Asian Glossy Starlings came and fed just a few meters in front of us.

We then moved to the place next to the river. This was where had observed both Philippine Pied Fantails and Scaly-breasted Munias regularly the past week or so. However, when we stopped by this place in our earlier walk, both species were absent. This time we searched the area again and still neither showed up. We were about to leave when, the Fantail popped up at its usual perch on top of the wall.

Cynthia then went to look at the other bare tree where Collared Kingfishers usually roost. They (there were always a pair) were not there when we passed by this place earlier. This time my wife waved at me and pointed at the now present kingfisher.

While photographing the distant and backlighted bird, we noticed a munia fly by carrying a piece of grass. We returned to where the Pied Fantail was because it was below that wall that the munia picks the blade of grass it carries to its nest. Sure enough, the tiny brown bird was now doing its routine.

We agreed to go back to the entrance to the workers place and see if any bird would perch at the far tree across. There was a White-breasted Woodswallow waiting for its turn to soar over the grove of trees.

What surprised us was a flock of nine Coppersmith Barbets all perched on that tree!

A closer look at one of them
What started off as a disappointment turned out be a productive photo session with the local birds. Maybe we should walk twice around the block from now on.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Thanks to the Parrots

It was a short unproductive trip to Infanta last Saturday. The skies were gloomy and the birds were scarce. Despite that we still had some good encounters. There was this Sulphur-billed Nuthatch that kept on creeping and hopping all over the branches looking for insects.

Then a mixed flock flew by but we only had a good shot of the Blue-headed Fantail. The Elegant Tits and Yellowish white-eyes were just so quick or behind the leaves most of the time.

We finally got to the place where the hagimit tree was fruiting. I set up my tripod and waited for the birds to come. It seemed that the Orange-bellied Flowerpecker bullied the others because it was the only flowerpecker we saw.

A flash of green and a Colasisi flew in and feasted on the red berries.

Cynthia then waved at me and pointed to another green bird on her side of the tree. It was a guaiabero also enjoying the bountiful fruits.

Then rain fell. We stood under an umbrella hoping it would soon abate. After 30 minutes it even became a heavy downpour. It only made sense to call it a day. It was still raining heavily when we reached the town of Tanay so we both agreed that we made the right decision.

It would have been a disappointing birding trip but thanks to the bright green colors of two endemic parrots that saved our day.