Sunday, September 05, 2021

Kingfisher In, Kingfisher Out

Saturday morning we decided to go birding in Baras. As we entered Palo Alto, it was foggy and the road was wet. 


Doesn't augur well, I thought to myself. I opened my car window and looked at the electric wire at the other side of the street. "White-throated Kingfisher!"(or Brown-breasted Kingfisher - depending on which list you follow) I told my wife and started taking photos of it. 


After having our take-out breakfast from Jollibee, Cynthia heard some singing. "Philippine Magpie Robin!" she said pointing to the very active black-and-white bird.


From there we moved on and got the expected Pied Bush Chat pair.



At the East Road we encountered a Spotted Dove.


We were surprised to see two species that are usually staying on the grassy areas perched on a tree limb. The male Pied Bush Chat was so close my wife could not get a full body photo, with her shorter lens at that.


The other species was a Paddyfield Pipit drying itself in the morning sun.


The Cattle Egrets were few this time and I managed to get a shot of an individual.


On the way to Cancun, we got the Collared Kingfisher.


At Cancun, we were amazed at how friendly the Barred Rails were!


Not only the Rails but the Scaly-breasted Munias as well.


Near the water tank we were so sad to see a White-eared Brown Dove in a cage. Apparently it was a trap to lure other birds into that cage.

Inasmuch as the migration season has already began, we wondered if the Grey Wagtails are already here. We finally saw one at Jerez!


We also got a close up shot of a Little Egret.


At the waterway, a Common Sandpiper finally showed up - again it was quite far.


Of course, we had to take an obligatory shot at the White-breasted Woodswallow.


Around 10 am, we decided to call it a day. And as we were about to leave, guess what bird, we saw? - The White-throated Kingfisher, of course! The species we saw coming in, and the species we saw going out.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Birding Taytay

There had been several postings in Facebook recently of birds seen in Taytay. That, of course, piqued our curiosity. Thanks to our birder friend, Linda Gocon, who gave us precise directions on how to get to the birding place, my wife and I went early Saturday morning.

We were surprised that on a small patch of wetland just beside the road were a number of birds! The first species that we saw were a bunch of Crested Mynas frolicking on the muddy area.


There was also a small flock of Little Egrets and a single Intermediate Egret feeding on the wetland.


Then we noticed small brown birds moving about. Upon closer look, we were surprised to see Wood Sandpipers, Common Sandpipers and a bunch of Little Ringed Plovers.

Wood Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper

Little Ringed Plover

There were also a few Black-winged Stilts.


Cynthia even got a shot of an immature White-browed Crake.


At around 8 am, someone came and waded through the said wetland, spooking all the birds there. And that ended our short birding trip in Taytay.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

U.P. for Breakfast

To be honest, the reason I told my wife that we're going birding at U.P. Diliman, was because I wanted to have breakfast at Rodic's to enjoy the best Tapsilog there is. But before reaching our destination, we decided to stop over at the Hardin ng Rosas. We were surprised to discover that the pond was almost completely covered by vegetation! The Black-winged Stilts were gone and we didn't see any Moorhens also. Thankfully there were two immature Black-crowned Night Herons there.


We arrived at Rodic's just as they were opening. Inasmuch as they don't allow on-site dining yet, Cynthia and I both agreed to savor our breakfast at the parking lot of the MSI Building. Unfortunately, there were a few birds there and we noticed the Security Guard cordoning off some parts in the area. After breakfast off we went to the Astronomy place. The resident Long-tailed Shrike was there of course! I think there were two individuals even.


Behind the fence, three Collared Kingfishers were at their usual perch.


There were also a couple of Crested Mynas on the roof of the building.


As we were leaving and passing by the Genome building, we saw some Orioles frolicking about. I quickly parked the car and we were so excited  photographing a family of Black-naped Orioles at such a low level!


Other than these species, there weren't that many birds which was fine with us. After all we went to U.P. just for the Tapsilog at Rodic's.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Hood Have Thought?

Our birding trip to Baras last Saturday, July 10th, was filled with surprises. We saw some species that we have not seen there before. Considering that we've been to that place for quite a number of times already, we were so thrilled with our latest encounters. Let me relate the highlights of our trip.

It all started as we were about to have our take-out breakfast from Jollibee. Cynthia heard some melodious singing and soon she was able to locate where it was coming from. There were three Philippine Magpie Robins frolicking among the branches! One of them even flew down to the ground to go after its prey. Although we've seen this species here before, this was the first time that an individual was so cooperative to allow us to get some good shots.


After breakfast, we proceeded to the grassy area. It was there that we encountered the first species that we had not seen in this place before. We've seen its cousin, the Zitting Cisticola, a few times but this time we were surprised to see a Golden-headed Cisticola!


At the "tank" place, we witnessed a pair of Balicassiaos in a courtship mood. Again, we have seen this species at this particular place before but this time they were out in the open!


As we were exiting the Palo Alto East Road, we saw a flash of bright colors land on a very low branch. 

"Kingfisher!" I yelled. 

"No way!" my wife replied.

Slowly the colorful object emerged from the dark spot where it landed before.

"Hooded Pitta!" we both gasped in unbelief.

We wasted no time taking shots at the bird we never expected to see here, at the side of a street even!


Joyful with our unexpected blessing we moved on. At Cancun Street, a Common Emerald Dove was foraging on the ground. We've seen this bird once before but this one stayed for a long time unmindful of two happy birders taking its picture.


The final surprise was when we were  turning a corner, I saw this White-breasted Waterhen right beside our car nonchalantly looking for its breakfast. Another species that we've never seen here before. It was so close that I got a full frame shot!


As we ended our birding day, we couldn't believe the luck we had. Who would've thought that we would see, and even take pictures of, three species that we have not seen here before.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Imus Go There

 When our friend, Linda Gocon, posted photos of some unusual birds taken in Imus, Cavite, I thought "I must go there."

Early Saturday morning (June 26) my wife and drove to the place not that far from SM Center. Only to discover that the "birding" place was teeming with joggers, cyclists, and even motorcyclists. Forget about the Grass Owl I whispered to Cynthia. Thankfully, despite the abundance of human beings, there were still birds that inhabit the nearby grasslands. The most common of which (aside from the Eurasian Tree Sparrows, of course) was the Zitting Cisticola!

Something really weird happened next. We both saw some movement on the ground. So we both took pictures of the bird that was roaming around. I knew that my subject was a Paddyfield Pipit and I assumed that Cynthia was photographing the same species. However, when I was processing our photos at home I discovered that the bird my wife was taking pictures of was an Oriental Skylark!

Paddyfield Pipit

Oriental Skylark

Next came the doves: A Zebra Dove was also foraging among the grass.

Cynthia was lucky enough to get a shot of a Spotted Dove making a landing.

We then moved to a place where some trash had been piled up. From there my wife saw a Cinnamon Bittern in a distance. Eventually it flew off and of course, Cynthia got a perfect BIF (bird in flight) shot! 

To console myself after failing to get my BIF shot, I took an obligatory photo of a Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

Speaking of BIFs, a couple of Oriental Pratincoles were flying around providing a challenge for us.

Cynthia's sharp eyes got her a White-browed Crake.

From the roundabout, we proceeded to a road nearby. Feeding on the grass stalks were a horde of Munias - both Chestnut and Scaly-breasted.

Chestnut Munia

Scaly-breasted Munia

I also saw an immature Striated Grassbird preening on barbed wire.

Near the narrow road, we were surprised to see an Intermediate Egret!

Perched on the electric wire were some Pacific Swallows

Past nine o'clock and we were soaked in our sweat, so we both agreed to call it a day. As we were about to leave, we got our "lifer" - penguins!!