Friday, November 11, 2011

I'll Do My Birding in the Rain

Oh yes, I am singing that line to the tune of the Everly Brothers' "Crying In The Rain". 

Last weekend, despite forecasts of heavy rains, Jops, Jun, Jelaine and I (yes, I was Jaiabird for the day) trooped to Los Baños, Laguna to bird in Mt. Makiling and some surrounding sites. The morning was cloudy but we were blessed with sunny patches and just a couple of light rain showers (more on this on my previous post). We came down the trail half past noon and went straight to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) canteen for lunch. Half-way through my curried vegetables and beef with gravy, it started to rain.

I think we were all silently praying that it was only a passing downpour. But as we packed away our plates and trays, the rain hadn't stopped but had at least weakened into a fine shower. We walked towards the back of the building where we were parked and were pleasantly surprised to discover the field dotted with birds!

We took refuge from the rain and settled in one of the concrete sheds just beside the field. We got out our binoculars, scope and cameras, notebooks, field guides and cupcakes and just watched. 

It was quite pleasant for me, sitting there staring out onto the green, enjoying the cool wind and occasional spray of rain, knowing there were birds on the field. They were Richard's Pipits and some Yellow Wagtails. They were standing in the rain, looking for food in the wet soil. Some birds were bathing in the puddles too! There were also some White-breasted Woodswallows and swallows flying above and around us. A couple of Brown Shrikes would dive down onto the grass, easily pick out a worm from the ground and fly back to a nearby perch to eat. Curiously, the Shrikes did not prey on a frog who was hopping just a few inches from them as they landed on the ground. We concluded that the Brown Shrikes of IRRI prefer a diet of worms than a meaty frog.

I really enjoyed the hour we spent there, waiting for the rain to stop. It was a nice, cool break from all the walking we did up the Mt. Makiling trail that morning. I usually don't take a nap after lunch but I almost fell asleep if not for the birds that refused to leave the field even though it was raining.

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