Friday, September 16, 2011

Solo Birding Side-Trip

During my first few months as a birder, I would sneak solo birding trips in nearby places before heading off to work. I feel very lucky to live near green places like UP Diliman and Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife which are just 5-10 minute drives away from my home (sans traffic). But, as my schedule got fuller and fuller, these solo birding trips became rarer.

Today, I found myself with a free morning. It was a perfect opportunity for a solo birding trip and since I was beginning to feel overwhelmed with so many things, I needed some place and something to clear my mind. I needed to bird.

I got in my car and drove to the nearest green, quiet and possibly birdy place I knew: the Beta Way in UP Diliman. Plus, it's free. And it was where I fell in love with the Oriental Cuckoo =)


As soon as I stepped onto the path, I was greeted by a flock of 20 or so Lowland White-eyes flying from one tree to another. Their noisy chirping made me smile as I headed towards the middle portion of the path. The weather was so pleasant this morning! It was just the right amount of cloudy and the wind was blowing soft and cool from time to time.



It was nice and green on both sides of the walkway and the water running through the small stream (or creek? or canal?) was surprisingly free of garbage. 

I was enjoying the cheerful singing and hopping around of a couple of Golden-bellied Flyeaters before they were chased away by a Brown Shrike! I looked around the area and saw at least 4 of them calling loudly in the area, hunting in the overgrown grass and perching proudly in their newly-marked territories. No wonder I just heard the Pied Fantail from a distance. A shrike had taken over its usual spot in the bamboos!

By this time, my gasps and chuckles were making the students passing through either curious or scared of me. Some would look up at the spot I was staring at and would look back at me while walking just a bit faster away.

After almost an hour watching the shrikes, plus a Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker and a couple of chubby White-collared Kingfishers, I decided it was time for me to go. The wind had stopped and it was getting a bit hot. My mind was clear, my new birding notebook written on. I was re-energized and no longer feeling overwhelmed. I found some peace when I was just standing quietly in the middle of the trees and grass and wind and bird song. And then the UP Ikot passed noisily by and signaled my return to the real world.

Til my next solo birding side-trip.

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