Sunday, April 21, 2019

Francis of Assist See

We kept hearing the "cu-cu-cu" coming from behind the trees. We looked at where that sound was supposedly coming from but didn't see anything. After a while it came out and for a couple of minutes dried itself in the sun. The Philippine Coucal was our first bird that morning along the road going to Infanta. 

From there we stopped by the places where the hagimit trees were. The fruit of this tree is a favorite food of several species of birds. Unfortunately, summer had come and the fruits were all gone at the areas we visited. Except for one place. We saw friends Conrad and Ralf inside a compound as we were driving by. We quickly joined them and they introduced us to Francis, the overseer of that place. Close to their lawn was a huge hagimit tree with lots of fruits still. While we were catching up with our friends, Francis pointed at the tree, "Buzzing Flowerpeckers," he said. Indeed a pair of that species came and started feeding on the red berries. 

There was a lull after the flowerpeckers left. Then, "Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker!" Francis once again pointed to the fruiting tree.

This routine had become the norm of that morning. Francis, who was lounging on a hammock, would get up when he hears some bird call, look for the source of that call, and assist us to see the bird that would appear in the area. Two more species were shown to us: the Elegant Tit..

and the colorful Olive-backed Flowerpecker.

Around 9 am Cynthia and I decided to go visit the area where the Paddyfield Pipits are sure sightings. We promised to be back by 10:30 as that was the usual time that the Philippine Hanging Parrot was supposed to come to the fruiting tree.

Unfortunately, there were some "tourists" at the Pipit domain. We did see the bird but it was a bit skittish, unlike before, and I never got a good photo of it. On the other hand, farther down the road, a Striated Grassbird posed for us.

By 10:30 we were back at Francis' place. But the Parakeet never showed up. Only the Buzzing and Olive-backed Flowerpecker returned. Conrad told us that about 3 minutes after we left, a Stripe-headed Rhabdornis came, followed later by a Flaming Sunbird. Ah, if only we had stayed and benefited some more from Francis' assistance at seeing the birds in his neighborhood.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Show us no Pitta

For more than two hours we waited. Two hours of being drenched in sweat and enduring the humidity of a summer. We were at the Mini Forest of the La Mesa Ecopark for a particular purpose: to  photograph the Hooded Pitta and the Mangrove Blue Flycatcher. We sadly dipped on both.

But please show us no pity.  The morning was not a total disaster. For one thing a Black-naped Oriole - a species that prefers to stay high among the branches of tall trees - came out in the open and posed for us for a few minutes.

Then a pair of Lowland White-eyes cavorted just above us.

An overstaying(?) Brown Shrike was still hanging around perhaps aware that it was still quite cold in its home in northern Asia.

A surprise was a Philippine Bulbul which have not been seen much in this area.

Also the morning was about people. As we were about to get into the mini forest we met a young guy. He was a campus missionary from our church (Victory Christian Fellowship) in Novaliches. They will be holding a youth ministry at the Ecopark he told us.

While waiting for the Pitta we met an old friend, and fellow birder, Jenny de Villa. We spent some time together catching up and sharing our birding experiences.

Finally, as we were already driving on our way out, I saw a guy dressed in camp and holding a camera with long lens. "Bird photographer!", I told my wife. I waved at him and parked the car. He came over and introduced himself and we did likewise. We just added a "lifer" to our birding friend list - Rey Ibay.