Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Impromptu Birding

Me: Remember the overstaying Brown Shrike we saw in U.P.  early this month but we didn't have a camera then?

Cynthia: Yes, what about it?

Me: Remember I told you we would come back and take pictures of it?

Cynthia: Yes, and.....?

Me: Let's go and do it now!

It was nine o'clock Monday morning - an unusual time to go birding, especially with the ongoing heat wave. Perhaps it was the boredom of being cooped up in our condo that made be do such an impromptu decision. Thankfully, my wife agreed.

Off to U.P. we went. Our first stop, of course, was the parking of the MSI (Marine Science Institute) where we saw the Brown Shrike. It didn't take long for us to see our target bird. The photo I got could be perfectly captioned as "Were you looking for me?"

 From there we went to the Astronomy area to look for the Long-tailed Shrike. For the longest time, seeing this species here is a guarantee. However, this time it was a no show. I thought that was strange and hoped that it was still alive and thriving elsewhere. What we saw, and quite unexpectedly, was a friendly Collared Kingfisher.

 Another surprise was a few White-breasted Woodswallows. This was the first time we saw them in this place.

 Of course, the uber common Yellow-vented Bulbul was frantically calling our attention to take a shot at it.

 Also nearby was a pair of Zebra Dove, which surprisingly, were skittish that we only got a documentary photo of one of them.

 We returned to the MSI and got even got better shots of the Brown Shrike.

 And an obligatory shot at the Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

 Then we heard the repeated calling of a Black-naped Oriole. I located the source of the sound and even got a good photo of the Oriole.

Cynthia, on the other, heard the pecking sound of a woodpecker. She eventually saw the tiny bird and we got a good enough image of the Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker.


Happy that we saw and photographed a good number of birds, we both agreed that it was time to go home. As we were leaving, Cynthia suggested we pass by the Temple Drive hoping we would see some birds there. Unfortunately, the grass where the Munias feed had been cut down. As we were about to get back to our car, my wife said, "There's a Myna behind the fence just in front of us!" I looked and voila! That was the best picture of the day and an exciting end to our impromptu birding.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Baras Birding

The ongoing pandemic has limited our birding activities. Friday night I told Cynthia we had to go birding the next day in Baras - a place about an hour's drive away - just to escape the ennui of being cooped up in our condo. My wife warned me not to expect a lot of birds inasmuch as the migrating season was already over and that the weather lately has been extremely hot.

We set off early Saturday morning and arrived at out destination just a little after six am. I parked at the side of the rotonda and unloaded our gear. As I got back to drive, we saw birder friend Linda Gocon looking at some bird on top of an electric post. I quickly drove next to them (she was with another birder, Bambi). Linda told us it was a Stripe-headed Rhabdornis. Unfortunately it was gone when we arrived. We bade our friend goodbye and proceeded to Campeche Road where we partook of our take-out breakfast from Jolibee. While we were enjoying our meal, we saw a pair of Luzon Hornbills perched on a bare tree about a block away from us. Surprisingly it was still there after we were done eating. I picked up my gear and moved slowly toward the insouciant pair and took shots at the slightly backlit subjects.

 Also in the said tree was a Large-billed Crow and on another tree nearby was a Coppersmith Barbet. Unfortunately both were too far for a good photo. At another bare tree a White-throated Kingfisher was basking in the morning sun.

Then I saw an Eastern Cattle Egret fly in and landed right next to what else but a cow. As I tried to come closer the Egret got spooked and flew away. Luckily I was able to get a BIF (bird in flight) shot.

From there we drove to Jerez street to look for the Savanna Nightjar. We didn't see it. On the other hand, Cynthia saw and got a photo of a White-eared Brown Dove.

As we were exiting the road I saw an overstaying Brown Shrike. It was on Cynthia's side so I told her to take pictures of the bully bird.

We made another stop because my wife heard some bird songs. As she was trying to locate the source of that twittering, I took an obligatory shot of the very common Yellow-vented Bulbul.


As I was photographing the Bulbul, Cynthia found her quarry. It was a Black-naped Monarch.

Moving on, she got a Pygmy Flowerpecker while I had a female Pied Bush Chat.

As we were driving along Almansor street, a Paddyfield Pipit landed on a dead tree trunk.

 A few meters beyond, another Paddyfield Pipit did the same this time even closer.

We then went to the pond. Sadly it was now dry. Good thing, another White-throated Kingfisher was still there along with a male Pied Bush Chat.

We looked at the waterway and was surprised to see a pair of Red Turtledoves drinking from the shallow stream.

Further down the road, the White-breasted Woodswallows were busy hunting for food. 

Going back to Palo Alto East road, we finally saw a Whiskered Tree Swift perched on an electric wire as usual.

One more drive along Almansor  and we got a shot at a Striated Grassbird.

Back at the dried pond, we got a very unexpected bonus - a young Guaiabero!

It was almost nine am and the heat was becoming unbearable. As we were driving along Frontrera road, a place we have not visited before, I told my wife that we still have not seen a Long-tailed Shrike. And then, lo and behold, a pair just popped up right across from us!

That was a nice ending to our birding day in Baras.