Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Unicorn on All Saints' Day

Just days just after I blogged about how my unicorn bird, the male Narcissus Flycatcher, has eluded me after another attempt at finding it... I saw it.
I was working on my blog post about my recent trips up to Bangkong Kahoy when I decided to give in to the inner twitcher in me and take my chances to see the Narcissus Flycatcher. It was seen and photographed by friends in the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran the previous day (and they had AWESOME photos!) I took an early morning train to Baclaran and after a short walk was inside the church compound looking for the coffee shop and the patch of trees where the Narcissus was said to frequent.
The Redemptorist Church, which is also the National Shrine of
Our Mother of Perpetual Help,
and more commonly called the Baclaran Church

I immediately knew I was in the right area when I saw the huge cameras and people in varying shades of green and brown looking up at the trees. I entered the Sinirangan Coffee Shop and greeted friends, old and new. After learning the bird hasn't shown up yet, I ordered my coffee (and an ensaimada to be claimed when I saw the bird.) I sat down beside Chin (who was very relaxed, having photographed the bird already the previous afternoon hehe) and chatted a bit. I brought out my binoculars and scanned the movements up in the trees. I spotted a  flycatcher far up a tree and thought it was a female Narcissus Flycatcher. Bert and Roy decided to go in for a closer look and saw it was a Ferruginous Flycatcher! What an unexpected bird to see! But still not what I was after =P
More people arrived to try for the Narcissus and I was getting a bit anxious. Will I miss out on it again?
Waiting for the bird

And then... Chin was gesturing for me to come closer and pointed to the trees in front of him. It was there. I put down my coffee cup and tiptoe-ran towards him. I pulled out my bins and voila! My unicorn!!! I took in all its details... the yellow and black, the whites, the bill, the eyes, the tail, the wings. After six long years, I was finally looking at the male Narcissus Flycatcher. I took out my camera and got some horrible back lit shots!



The bird flew around us and was very skittish because a Brown Shrike was chasing it! I really did not want to see my much-awaited lifer get torn apart by the butcher bird just minutes after seeing it! What a horrible story that would be!
  



Thankfully, the Brown Shrike let it be for a while and it stayed in the area. It flew around the courtyard and even perched low, giving us many amazing views and opportunities to photograph it. I know I could've gotten more and even better photos of the bird but I am content with my "haul" for that morning. After all, I waited six years to see this bird and it showed itself very well (plus it did not get eaten by the shrike!) Hooray!

  
It perched very low at times!

My favorite shot, as usual, gives the feeling of
looking through the leaves to see the bird =)


Thank you, Mr. Narcissus! It's been a great 6-year adventure chasing you. Now, time to find a new unicorn to chase ;)
(Oh, and yes, I did claim my celebratory ensaimada after seeing the bird.)

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