Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Ruddy Good Morning!


Adjective: Having a healthy red color

I remember looking at the kingfishers plate in my Kennedy Guide to the Birds of the Philippines. I remember staring at the illustrations of the Stork-billed Kingfishers and beside them, the Ruddy Kingfishers, surprised at their large size and their large bills compared to the other kingfishers. I also remember saying to myself: "Good luck, Maia if you get to see these birds!" (especially upon reading the word "uncommon" at the start of their descriptions.) So, I didn't really think I'd see a Ruddy Kingfisher this year. But I did. Just before lunch today.

When reports and photos of a Ruddy Kingfisher sighted in Quezon City came out recently, I got excited at the possibility of seeing this bird (although there still was this tiny voice that said "Don't get your hopes up too much!") Jops and I didn't schedule a twitching trip, no matter how close to home the sighting was. We were gearing up for a birdwatching activity in La Mesa Ecopark this Sunday but I guess the Ruddy Kingfisher was at the back of our minds the past few days. So, when we found a couple of hours free this Saturday morning, we decided to give in and check if we would be lucky enough to see it.

It was already 11AM when we reached the area where the bird was spotted and I needed to be back home for lunch! I said a silent prayer and scanned the trees. Brown Shrike. Yellow-vented Bulbul. Another Brown Shrike. Time check: 11:15. No Ruddy. We also kept our eyes open for the Spotted Wood Kingfisher recently spotted in the area. Negative. SOS Sir JV. =)

With more directions so generously sent our way (thank you Sir JV!), we backtracked a bit and immediately saw a reddish bird flying among the trees. The Ruddy! After a few minutes of scanning, we finally saw it perched with its back towards us. Its back was a solid reddish brown color with some blue peeking out on its rump. The bird suddenly faced us and allowed us to admire the fine markings/barring on its white throat and chest and, of course, its huge orange bill! It was just too bad that it was perched too far back for a good photograph.

It transferred once more, much closer to us but partially covered. This time we could only see its head and neck. But what a wonderful view! I could clearly see its eyes and the white patch running down the side of its neck. 

Jops' documentary shot of the immature Ruddy Kingfisher

It flew deeper into the trees and we could no longer see it. We waited a bit for it to come out again. Time check: 11:45. I really needed to go! So, very thankful that we were able to see it, we said goodbye to our lifer for the day with a silent promise to come back and spend more time with it. With 15 minutes left before noon, I can say it was a very ruddy good morning!


  1. I know! We were really lucky we saw it with only an hour to bird! =) Thanks Kitty!!!