Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Thrush's Concert

I have never been to any major music concert. But earlier today, I felt what I imagined people feel when they watch an amazing singer or band perform live. The only difference was that I wasn't watching a human perform. I was watching a bird. I was watching a solo concert of the Ashy Ground-Thrush. And we had front row seats!

Presenting... the singing Ashy Ground-Thrush.

Jops, Jun, and I had just decided to go to the La Mesa Ecopark to do some birding for the morning. We were walking towards the trail where we usually bird in, and we already heard Oriental Magpie Robins calling. We also heard White-collared Kingfishers, Black-naped Orioles and Philippine Pygmy Woodpeckers. Among the many bird calls, one stood out as really loud and new to us. We looked at each other with inquiring faces, "Ano yun?!" ("What is that?!")

We stopped and tried to spot the bird making the beautiful call. It took only a few minutes before Jops was pointing excitedly at a branch just in front of us. Perched quite low was a gorgeously spotted Ashy Ground-Thrush, singing for all to hear! It was such a wonderful feeling seeing it singing the song that got our attention in the first place. I honestly did not expect to see the Thrush as the bird making the call.

The call was very melodious, the tune going up and down alternately. The Thrush would also make a very low purring sound at irregular intervals. The first time I actually saw the Thrush make that particular sound, I couldn't help but say "Cool." even though I knew I was taking a video of it (1:22)! We also saw the Thrush change the "tempo" of its call, at one time slowing it down to a drawl.

video

It stayed long enough for me to digiscope photos and short videos before it flew deeper into the trees. Jops and Jun were able to take photos and sound recordings of the Thrush. We stayed in the area to try and spot a Hooded Pitta that we also heard calling.

After a while, we heard the Thrush singing again. It sounded pretty close and after some scanning, we spotted it again, still perched quite close to where we were. This time, we could hear another Thrush answering farther away! I think I was able to capture the more distant Thrush singing in this video (0:36):

video

It flew away, maybe towards the other singing Thrush (I can only assume.) It did come back again, still very close to us. We were able to scope it and show the bird to some park goers who were interested in what we were doing and in the call they were actually hearing.

After a while, the Thrush flew away and we decided to hit the trail. More and more people were passing by the area too. The trail was pretty quiet and we didn't stay too long. I guess, for that morning, nothing could beat the concert we had just seen.

6 comments:

  1. Hello Maia. Great Video. What is your digiscoping setup? How did you record the audio of this?

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    1. Hi Paul! Thank you! I used a Nikon scope with a Canon Powershot A590, no adaptor. These videos are compact video size (as compared to the standard video option on the camera) that's why they're small and quite pixelated. The audio was recorded by the camera too, no external mic. I was lucky the bird was calling so loudly! =)

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    2. You are using a Nikon scope with a Canon camera? I can imagine the engineers at Nikon and at Canon collectively screaming,"The Horror! The Horror!" ;)

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    3. Hahahaha! Oh my, I didn't realize what I just did! =P See you on Sunday!

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  2. thanks for the link maia. what a truly enjoyable way to spend free time. all for the love of birds, and for the love of caring for the habitats. it is infectious! in the first video i could hear philippine taylor birds singing from a distance. ang sarap ng feeling.^_^ nice blog, too!

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    1. Thank you Ka Rene! =) I hope the rains stop na so we can "resume" birding =P

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