Two Thrush Lifers!

We spent another early evening owling with friends Adri and Trinket who brought Singaporean birder, Albert along to see the Philippine Scops Owls in the city. After owling, we all went out to have dinner and they mentioned they will be going to the La Mesa Ecopark the next morning and invited us to join them. Over sizzling sisig and after much internal deliberation, it was decided that any other morning plans (i.e. work) would be set aside so we could all bird.

Honestly, this was a twitching morning for most of us, having heard of a Brown-headed Thrush being seen and even photographed in the park recently. We were hoping to see it before it moved on up north.

After our group observed a very hungry Red-bellied Pitta near the entrance of the trail, we bumped into Bram in the trail and we tried to spot the thrush. We basically stayed in the area near the fruiting palm trees, waiting for the thrush to show. It didn't. High up a gemelina tree, we were able to spot some of them! But they flew off revealing quite a big flock of around 8 thrushes. They would come closer to us in smaller batches, and one individual gave us good views of its underside and side profile.

One of the Brown-headed Thrushes

Here's a short video of the Brownheaded Thrush downing a ripe berry:

The birds would fly in, usually on the fruiting palm tree, eat a berry or two, then fly off again. Their appearances would last only seconds to just a couple of minutes, but long enough for us to observe them and their field marks.

During one "appearance," Adri pointed out the very distinct white eyebrow on the thrush: Eyebrowed Thrush! We all focused on the bird again before it flew off. We all looked at each other and everyone definitely saw the white eyebrow. We actually couldn't believe we were seeing two kinds of new (for me, Jops, and Trinket) thrushes this morning.

After a few minutes of waiting, the thrushes returned to feed and we were all able to see both the Brown-headed and Eyebrowed Thrushes! Two thrush lifers for me, Jops, and Trinket and one thrush lifer for Albert, Adri, and Bram!

Eyebrowed Thrush. Note the diagnostic white eyebrow.

When the birds flew off again, we decided to check out the trail again. We saw a very handsomely spotted Ashy Ground Thrush perched on an open branch, warbling softly without opening its beak. When the bird flew away, Jops and I said our goodbyes as we still had to catch up with the reality that it was a workday after all. =P

Bram walked with us to get a drink in the food kiosks and along the way, we were able to see a pretty Emerald Dove as well as Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker busy boring a nest hole. It definitely was a morning very well-spent =)

Common Emerald Dove
Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker


  1. That was fast! haha, I'm still pretending to work but I'm actually writing for my blog! It's a good thing I left my camera with Adri. It would look suspicious if I had a long lens camera on my desk on top of exam papers waiting to be checked!

    Enjoyed the morning with you guys, I'm glad we all talked each other into going! Thanks and til next time!

    1. Haha, at least no obvious evidence of your blogging =P

      Had another great birding adventure with you guys too! Always memorable =)

  2. I'm so envious! Those birds had to appear while Cynthia and I are overseas!

    1. Aw! When do you get back? Hopefully, the thrushes will still be there =)