Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Flame and Fortune

Having seen the recent posts in Facebook lately of the Flame-breasted Fruit Dove by our birding friends, I told my wife that I wanted to do that too. Early Tuesday morning, we drove to Infanta. 

It was foggy as we approached our destination. Despite the directions given me by our friend, Bong, I (being direction-challenged) still couldn't locate the place where the Fruit Dove was seen. It was good fortune that while I was pondering where to proceed, another friend, Loel, stopped his vehicle when he saw our car. He told us that he and his friend Joel were actually going to the Fruit Dove place and asked us to follow them.

As we entered the site we met fellow birders Fidel, Steve, and George. It was about 8:30 in the morning and Kamote (who is the caretaker of the place) informed us that one of the parent doves would leave the nest between 10 to 11 am and perch on a nearby branch. That would be the time for the photo-ops.

While waiting, we experienced some strange weather phenomenon (climate change?): It would drizzle a bit, clear up, then a bit of sunshine, followed by a heavy downpour. This happened about 3 times in a span of one hour. Once again, good fortune was on our side - at around 9:30 there was a lull in the precipitation. That was when one of the parents perched in full view. All of us took the opportunity to take photos of our target bird.

Having met our "quota" for the day, we told our birding buddies that we will explore the road until kilometer 106. Unfortunately, there weren't any birds along the way and when we got to Km. 106 there was another heavy downpour. 

After the rain ceased we saw a few Pacific Swallows drying up.

Along the road in one of our stops, a Philippine Serpent Eagle flew by taking advantage of the bit of sunshine.

A little after 11 am we checked out Kamote's place again. Apparently the Fruit Dove never showed up again after our encounter with it earlier. Except for Loel and Joel, the other bird photographers have already left. As we were about to board our car, Cynthia noticed some movements at the trees across the road. We were fortunate enough to add two more species to our list that morning: The Elegant Tit and the Flaming Sunbird.

Was it fortune that had our birding sortie start with a Flame-breasted Fruit Dove and ended with a Flaming Sunbird?

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Chin Up

We still don't have a good picture of the Black-chinned Fruit Dove. Recently, there had been a spate of photos of this species in Facebook. Nice open shots even! So my wife and I visited La Mesa Ecopark early Saturday morning hoping to get a good shot ourselves.

There were already a group of bird photographers in the area. We introduced ourselves and while we were talking shop, the Black-chinned Fruit Dove showed up and began feeding on the red fruits of the MacArthur palm. Not even 30 minutes had passed and we already got our target bird.

After the dove left, one of our fellow photographers saw something not far from where we were. We all hurried next to him and he pointed to another surprise - a Spotted Wood Kingfisher was perched about a couple of meters away...and at eye level!

As if that wasn't enough, the other star bird of Ecopark, the White's Thrush, was seen by another bird photographer. We were all excited as we tried to get a better view of this uncommon migrant.

We told our new friends that we already met our "quota" and that was it for us. On the way out we took some obligatory shots of the Brown Shrike and Yellow-vented Bulbul.

A pair of noisy Black-naped Orioles was our grand finale.

That was one of the most productive and satisfying one-hour birding we had experienced.