Saturday, September 28, 2019

After the Long Tail, the End

It was a nice and sunny morning as we birded the campus of the University of the Philippines in Diliman. The area around the MSI Building parking lot was unusually devoid of birds, except for the Yellow-vented Bulbuls.

Both Black-naped Orioles and Brown Shrikes were calling but refused to come out in the open. Cynthia suggested we go to the place where the Long-tailed Shrikes were regularly seen. Sure enough, as soon as we got there, the shrike did not disappoint us. 

Next we visited the pond. Unbelievably, we didn't see any birds. Not a single species! No Common Kingfisher, no White-breasted Waterhen, no Grey Wagtail. Nada!

We both agreed to try and visit St. Ignatius Village - the subdivision where we used to live. During our morning walks there, we always encountered some birds and we hoped we would do so again. As soon as we entered the gate, I saw some Golden-bellied Gerygones out in the open! But before I could reach my camera, they flew away. A little further up, some Olive-backed Sunbirds were feeding on the flowers of a tree. I quickly parked and before we could even get out, the sunbirds were gone. We drove around the village and drew a complete blank.

With saddened hearts we ended our birding sortie for that day.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Going for the Shrike

We first saw this annual migrant in our neighborhood a week ago. However due to inclement weather I wasn't able to take a photo of this bird. This morning, a gleam of sunlight finally broke through. I brought my camera and prepared to go for the Shrike. It didn't take us long to find it, albeit at quite a distance. Knowing its habit of not going far from its chosen territory, we followed its short flights from one tree to another and eventually got a good enough shot.

A small flock of Scaly-breasted Munias then flew in. It looked like these were siblings that were the result of a nesting couple we observed early last month. Two of them seemed like they were having a spat.

While we were enjoying watching these young Munias frolic around, three small birds came flying by and landed on a small tree next to us. To our surprise they were juvenile Olive-backed Sunbirds.

Happy that we got our target birds at the great lawn area, we continued our morning walk at the ground level hoping to get a shot at the Zebra Doves. Unfortunately, only one showed up and it was a "heard only" experience. As we approached the retail row area we hoped that we would encounter the Philippine Pied Fantails we saw yesterday. This time they were a no-show and we discovered the reason why. Another migrant bully was staking claim on that area.

Of course, I had to take an obligatory shot of the very common Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

As we were about to return to our condo, I saw a huge wader fly overhead. It was too high and backlit that I am not 100% sure of its ID. For now I'd say it was a Purple Heron.

And that ended our quick morning sortie around our condo grounds.