Sunday, November 15, 2015


I found myself back in La Mesa a week after seeing my first Violet Cuckoo there. I was really happy to see my birder friends and also meet some new ones as well. Of course, I was also thrilled to see the cuckoo again.

I only had a couple of hours to bird that morning so I went directly to Neptune's pond. I only had my bins and camera with me since I knew it would be a "bird-and-go" morning. I approached the trio of birders intently observing a bird I assumed to be the Violet Cuckoo. I was right! But first, I said my hello's to Matthew and Irene, introduced myself to Muel, then viewed the handsome Violet Cuckoo up the tree. It stayed for quite a while but even if it perched for some potentially good shots, I didn't get any since I didn't have my tripod with me. So, no good shots in this blog post ;)

Violet Cuckoo
Violet Cuckoo

Like my previous visit to La Mesa, the Violet Cuckoo shared the tree with a Rusty-breasted Cuckoo. At one point, the Rusty-breasted even chased the Violet around the branches!

Rusty-breasted Cuckoo

We were soon joined by Rob and David who just came from the mini-forest and were rewarded by a very obliging Ashy Thrush. The cuckoos stayed for a while and soon a curious group of boys had gathered around us. I showed them some (bad) pictures of the Violet Cuckoo and chatted to them about what we were doing. I had to answer the usual questions as "Pwede bang hulihin yan, ate?" ("Can we catch that, miss?") but was quite pleased when some of the older boys retorted "G*go! Kaya nga birdwatching e! Bawal hulihin yan!" ("Stupid! That's why it's called birdwatching! It's illegal to catch them!") And so, the "Intro to Birdwatching" talk began =)

Showing some bird photos to the kids and chatting to them about birdwatching.
Photo by Irene Dy (Thank you, Irene!)
They were a very interested group. I hope they remember what we told them =)
Photo by Rob Hutchinson (Thank you, Rob!)

The kids were able to spot the cuckoo moving around the branches (that got them excited) and David generously showed them his awesome video of a Philippine Eagle Owl (which really wow-ed the kids!) The group left us to bird in peace and soon Karen arrived with some friends she was taking out on their first birding trip.

By then the cuckoo had moved on, so our group trudged to the mini-forest where a Barred Rail was foraging by the entrance of the trail. We flushed the Indigo-banded Kingfisher from its perch and while we waited for it to return, entertained ourselves with the other birds around us. A Pied Triller sunned and preened on a high perch while Philippine Magpie Robins chased each other around noisily. A Colasisi perched for a few seconds before being displaced by an Olive-backed Sunbird

An overexposed Pied Triller

When the kingfisher didn't show, we each went our own ways in the mini-forest. We were all hoping to see the Spotted Woodkingfisher, but only some of us in the group saw it that morning. I was also hoping to see the Ashy Thrush which I hadn't seen in a while, but sadly didn't see any. I did see a Hooded Pitta skulking in the darkness which was a treat! It's always nice seeing pittas =)

Hooded Pitta in the shadows

Walking around the trail, I lost track of time and when I checked my watch it was time for me to go. I was able to say goodbye to Karen and her friends and just sent a text message to Irene. I spent just around two hours in the park with great company and awesome birds. I also got to talk to some kids about birding which I really missed doing. All in all, it was a fruitful bird-and-go trip =)

Post Script: This is the sculpture of Neptune and Aphrodite atop a giant turtle by Philippine National Artist Napoleon Abueva. I have yet to find the story behind this sculpture =)


  1. Looks like you now have an open communication with the cuckoos. They waited for you to comeback hehe. Anyway, This is another enjoyable chronicle of your short LMEP experience. Very clear and pleasant. I like the sharing part that went with it. Youngsters need to appreciate wild birds and nature in general. There is more to know about our natural surroundings and what they can appreciate/contribute to alleviate its condition.Cheers!

    1. Thank you po! I used to volunteer a lot for the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines guiding first time birders =) It's really a lot of fun seeing more people become aware of the birds around them and redirecting them towards true conservation =)