Sunday, October 02, 2022

Baras Less

After several weeks of intermittent raining, the skies finally cleared up Saturday, September 30th. Cynthia and I both agreed to use this opportunity to go birding in Baras - a place we haven't visited since April. We arrived at the subdivision a little after 7 am and as we approached the rotunda, we saw a Whiskered Treeswift perched on the electric wire. It had been a while since we saw this species so I quickly parked on the side, took out my camera and took photos of this lovely bird.
From there we went to Jeres Street to have our take-out breakfast from Jollibees. As we entered the area we were greeted by several Grey Wagtails. It was another awesome photographic opportunity.
As soon as I parked our car, I caught a glimpse of a Rough-crested Malkoha. But before I was able to get my camera it flew off and never showed up again. While I looking for it at the leafy treetop, I saw a White-eared Brown Dove. Again before I could lift the camera to my eyes, it flew off. After breakfast we drove to the open space and there we encountered the expected Paddyfield Pipit.
At the aratiles tree near the waterway, which was still not fruiting, a Red-keeled Flowerpecker was busy hunting for food. It was so active that I only got a documentary shot.
The waterway,surprisingly, did not have the usual Common Sandpiper or Little Ringed Plover. Moving on we got the starbird of the day - the plentiful Pied Bush Chat.
On a bare tree we spotted a Spotted Dove.
White-breasted Swallows were flying above and sometimes would perch on an electric wire.
Then there was a small flock of Eastern Cattle Egrets. They were a bit skittish (just like most of the birds we saw) but patience enabled us to get a few shots.
The place where the water tank is was completely devoid of birds! Leaving that place we got the migrant Brown Shrike perched where else but on an electric wire.
We went to the "hill" and again we never saw any bird except the Pied Bush Chats. The Blue Rock Thrush apparently was a no-show this year. The always present Long-tailed Shrike was there but it was at quite a distance and the moment we saw it it pursued a prey that was out of our view and never showed up again. A little after 9 am we decided to call it a day. On the way out as we passed across Alfaro Street, we chanced upon a Brown-breasted Kingfisher. We've seen other individuals earlier but as had been the mood of the day, they were skittish and would fly off before we could take a picture. Thankfully this one stayed long enough.
Before going out we dropped by Jeres Street again. And guess what? No birds! As we were mulling about this, I noticed some movement on the sidewalk. I looked and saw an immature Black-crowned Night Heron crawling (!!) into the vegetation. Curious as to why it was crawling, I came closer and noticed that there was a plastic string tied to its foot. I called Cynthia and pointed the bird to her. She must have read my mind as she asked me to pick the up the Heron and loosen the string. I did and released the poor bird. The foot must have been injured because it was still unable to walk. Again it crept slowly into the vegetation and we just let it be and hoped that it would survive.
As we were about to exit, I saw a Barred Rail by the roadside. I told my wife to take pictures of it as it was on her side.
As we suffered the horrendous traffic going home we wondered why there only a few birds now at Baras. And quite a number of those that we saw were overly skittish. Were they being hunted or trapped (like the Heron)? I certainly hope not.