|Just a couple of houses along this road|
We rolled our windows down and immediately heard the distinct calls of Tawny Grassbirds coming from the grassy lots. We stopped and tried to stop them but the first birds we saw were a couple of Barred Rails on the road. Jops exclaimed that the two birds out in the open were actually calling! It was the first time we actually SAW Barred Rails making all that noise! Usually, it's either you see them OR you hear them. I was so happy to have been able to see and also get a short video of this behavior.
A passing motorcycle flushed the birds away and so we drove on. We reached a dead end and got out to survey the area. A small flock of Scaly-breasted Munias perched on some tall grasses close to us while lots of Yellow-vented Bulbuls flew in the area.
The Munias soon flew off and we decided to turn back and explore another area. As we were driving back, we saw a couple of Tawny Grassbirds preening atop some blades of grass. It was nice getting to observe all their field marks out in the open as they are notorious skulkers.
While we were watching the grassbirds, a tiny Bright-capped Cisticola suddenly started calling from a very high and exposed perch. Silhouetted against the brightening sky, all we could really see was the shadow of a small, round bird! It flew away, calling noisily as it did. We decided to move to another area and stopped when we heard an Elegant Tit! We didn't see it but we saw some Buzzing Flowerpeckers joining the morning chorus.
We moved to another area and stayed there the longest. The birds seemed to be all coming out to sing and have breakfast. The Black-naped Orioles came out to sun themselves and the Collared Kingfishers started becoming noisy. As we were observing some flowerpeckers above us, something white and chicken-like started gliding from one tree to the next! Was it really one of my most-wanted birds??? It was!!! A white-morph Philippine Coucal! It was soon followed by a Philippine Coucal. How exciting!
But, just like any self-respecting coucal, they both just stayed out in the open for a few seconds, just enough for a good, brief view through the bins, before skulking into the leaves to hide.
|I FINALLY see the white-morph coucal!!!|
Well, this photo shows only its back and tail...
|It was followed by this regular Philippine Coucal|
The white-morph even glided over the street we were in and settled into a mango tree, yes, unseen. Jops and I were thrilled at the sighting and I was thankful I had my wish granted! To top off the experience, a Plain Bush-hen also crossed the same street! I asked Jops what bird he wanted to see, since I got my wish, he might be lucky too! He answered: pitta. I laughed. And then it started to drizzle.
We got in the car and decided to start driving back down. The rain started to pour but as we neared the exit, it stopped and the sun came out. Birding potential! We decided to explore a much greener part of the area and as we passed a thick clump of vegetation I heard it: Hooded Pitta. I asked Jops to stop and when he stepped on the brakes, I found myself staring at a bright blue Hooded Pitta in the middle of an opening! Jops got his wish too!
|Spot the jewel on the forest floor!|
We slowly got out of the car but as we did the pitta flew above us to perch on some electric wires, giving us great views of its bright red bottom =)
|Such bright, wonderful colors!|
The pitta flew back to the trail but was flushed further into the vegetation when a tricycle passed by. The people in the neighborhood were starting to go about their business and so were the Grey-backed Tailorbirds! One was singing very close to us and we could see it hopping around the low branches. We waited until it perched out in the open and sang!
Really happy with this pic!!!
It sang and sang and sang until another motorcycle drove past. Two tailorbirds actually just stayed in the area, singing very loudly until we left.
We were starting to spot an Elegant Tit that started singing above us when a group of young boys came out to inspect what we were doing. Luckily, Jops was able to spot the black and yellow tit and was able to show it to the boys through the scope.
|Spotting the Elegant Tit|
When the bird left, a little birdwatching crash course was due for these curious boys. It was nice to see them genuinely interested in what we were saying. Soon they were calling us to point out a bird that was singing (it was the Tailorbird.)
|Look at those attentive faces!|
(Oh, a teacher's joy! =P)
Before we left, we gave the boys the new brochure that our friends Adri and Trinket put together for the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines featuring the common birds one can find in the city. Happy with our morning spent birding and both our wishes granted, we left the kids with reminders to "just watch and don't catch" the birds. As we drove off, we saw the kids sitting on the sidewalk, seriously studying the birds in the brochures we gave them. =)