Miguel is my peg when it comes to hospitality and I dream of being as generous a host as he is! Seriously! Over and above from the hassle-free travelling arrangements from Iligan to Cagayan de Oro, the warm accommodation in his beautiful home, the birding was of course a highlight. Of course! Since I got a lifer! =)
|My year-end lifer for 2018: Black-shouldered Kite|
But let me backtrack a bit...
After touching base in Miguel's beautiful home in Cagayan de Oro (did I mention it was a beautiful home? I did, did I? Let me say it again: Miguel has a beautiful home!), we convoyed to his farm in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.
|Beautiful gazebo! That's Whistler, the giant puppy!|
|Insert: Maia, coffee, and a good book|
|The short walk to the hide|
|That's the hide facing the mango trees where the cuckoos usually perch|
Miguel, Djop, and I comfortably fit inside the hide which was lined with banana leaves. Miguel's resident guide, Dynos, made sure we were all seated and had good vantage points to see the birds.
|That's Dynos helping us setup inside the hide|
When we were finally settled inside the hide, we began our wait. Of course, birders will never run out of stories to share with each other! So in hushed voices and darting eyes on the lookout for the cuckoos outside, we chatted and laughed and exchanged stories. The conversation was so much fun, I did not realize it had been hours! The cuckoos sadly did not show, possibly because of the constant presence of some bully Collared Kingfishers in the area.
Djop and I went out first to have some lunch while Miguel stayed behind inside the hide. While having lunch we enjoyed the quiet and the fresh air while watching some Pied Trillers, Olive-backed Sunbirds, Red-keeled Flowerpeckers, and even an immature Brahminy Kite in our surroundings.
We returned to the hide after lunch to wait for the cuckoos to show but sadly they didn't. After a while, we decided to go for our other target bird for the trip: the Black-shouldered Kite.
I was excited to see this handsome bird and I was not to be disappointed! We were still on the road when Dynos announced that the birds were there in their usual site. We parked closer and got out the car and I got to view my year-end lifer for 2018.
We saw them chasing a crow, perching atop African Tulip trees in between aerial attacks. I was also attacked when I walked away from our group to get a closer look at the birds. I actually got scared when I saw the Kite angle its wings towards me in a dive and give a harsh squawk as it passed over my head! I brisk-walked back to our group, shielding my eyes but still seeing the bird circle around me to prepare for another attack! It screamed at my retreating form three times before it finally let me be and I reunited with my group, who were all smiling at my being attacked by the bird.
|I just wanted a closer look at this!|
|Djop, me, and Miguel:|
Thumbs definitely up after observing the Black-shouldered Kites!
We returned to the farm but the cuckoos were nowhere to be found. So Djop and I boarded our vehicle to return to Miguel's home for dinner, stopping first for a toilet break. As we were leaving from the toilet break, our driver Jan got a call from Miguel: the cuckoos were there!!! We rushed back to the farm and as the last light of day faded into night, the mystery immature cuckoo called the distinct call of a Philippine Hawk Cuckoo. Mystery solved!
|I told you it was dark!|
|Thank you again and again, Miguel!|