Jun, Jops, and I entered the park surrounded by bird song. Just past the entrance, the tailorbirds were already singing loudly from the undergrowth and the tree tops were bustling with flitting birds. We stopped at certain areas to check out the birds calling around us: Black-naped Orioles, Olive-Backed Sunbirds, flowerpeckers, and Philippine Pygmy Woodpeckers were all joining the chorus. We entered the trail and it was refreshingly alive with bird song. It has been a while since we last heard the trails so "noisy."
An hour passed, but aside from the usual suspects, all we saw was a tree frog clinging adamantly to a thin branch.
While we were busy observing and photographing the frog, a Mangrove Blue-Flycatcher decided to have its breakfast beside us. It would perch on different branches, sometimes high and once very close to the ground, snatching a meal, but staying very close to us. After observing the flycatcher and listening to its beautiful song, I realized it is a very strong candidate in becoming my favorite bird!
|A very handsome-looking Mangrove Blue Flycatcher.|
In the same area, another handsome bird made its appearance. An Ashy Ground-Thrush took its time posing and searching for food on the ground, giving us fantastic unobstructed views.
|A handsomely spotted Ashy Ground-Thrush.|
When the bird flew away, the three of us explored the trail separately. I found a small flat rock to sit on, facing the inside of the trail, watching out for movement on the ground. Nothing. Bikers and joggers raced past behind me but in front of me, only a rooster with his harem of hens appeared in my chosen area.
And then Jun called me. I knew it at once... the boys spotted the Scaly Ground-Thrush. I trooped to where they were standing: exactly where we saw the Mangrove Blue, Ashy, and the frog (which was still there on its branch!) Jops was photographing the frog again when the thrush landed in the clearing beside him. I scanned the area they were pointing to and there it was... out in the open, busy foraging for food, handsome in its perfect camouflage.
|Another handsome bird! The Scaly Ground-Thrush.|
On the drive back home, reviewing my bird list and my photos, I couldn't help but feel really lucky to have practiced using my camera on three extremely handsome birds =)
P.S. On our way out, Jun spotted a Monitor Lizard sunbathing on a tree trunk. It was our first time to see one in the trail!