Monday, October 13, 2014

Capayas and Jolo Revisited

I was itching to try the Tamron 150-600 in Coron. So on the day I arrived, one of the first things I did was to wait for the Olive-backed Sunbirds at our garden in Darayonan.  I did not wait long before I heard the familiar chi-weeet call.  

Male Olive-backed Sunbird, local name Chiwit

But what I really wanted was to try the new lens at Capayas, Coron's main birding area at the moment. I got my chance two days later when I accompanied fellow birders Lisa Paguntalan and Godo Jakosalem to Capayas.  With us was Coron's most renowned photographer, Al Linsangan III.  (SSTDI and Birdwatch Coron, among other orgs, were the lead organizers of the 3rd Birdwatching Training to be held Sept 24-27 at Darayonan. Al and yours truly are connected with said NGO's). 

We got to Capayas around 6:30am.  It was not as birdy as previous trips but we did notice a couple of Yellow-throated Leafbirds in the mango tree in front of birdguide Erwin Edonga's house.  While having coffee, we also saw an Ashy-fronted Bulbul, and a large butterfly in the flowers outside Erwin's front window.  We decided to go  near the creek to look for the kingfishers but Erwin warned us that the vegetation was very lush at the moment so it was hard to see the creek.  Still we pushed on.

A few minutes after we entered Capayas Creek Bird Preserve, we saw the Ruddy Kingfisher through a gap in the bushes.  I fumbled with my tripod which was quite difficult to set up, given the overgrown trail.  I managed only one shot before the bird flew off.  Still, considering that my tripod was not even set firmly, (one leg was dangling over a downward slope), I am satisfied with the quality of said shot. 

Ruddy Kingfisher

We saw it again on a nearer perch a few minutes later but no clear shot because it was covered by leaves and branches.

We walked some more and exited the property on the other end.  We walked towards the creek hoping to see the Ruddy or the other kingfishers of the area.  But what we saw were two Capayas regulars, a White-vented Shama and a male Blue Paradise Flycatcher.

White-vented Shama, local name Saya-saya

WVS, making sure that our visitors from Bacolod, know that it has a white vent.

Male Blue Paradise Flycatcher

Male Blue Paradise Flycatcher, in another pose

After getting our fill of the Shama and the Blue Paradise, we moved up the trail in search of the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher.  We actually saw it but it was hidden inside a clump of bamboo on the opposite bank and no matter how hard we tried, we could not get a clear shot. 

We also saw some Palawan Flowerpackers pecking on some caimito fruit (star apple). Causing me again to wonder how come it is called a flowerpecker when everytime I see it, it is feasting on a fruit (bananas, guavas and now caimito). Hehehe. 

While standing around and waiting (more like hoping and praying) for the KF to come out, I saw Lisa and Godo photographing something on a bare twig.  I had to strain my eyes to see what it was.  It turned out to be a blue Dragonfly.  
Blue Dragonfly, would appreciate help with the ID :-)

After a few more minutes, we ended our sortie because Al and I had to attend the fluvial parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Coron Bay.

The following morning, we brought the newbie birders to the Jolo area.  Starting from the Dipulao bridge, we birded going towards the Jolo-Pinamalayan area. We saw the usual suspects, namely, Ashy Drongo, Olive-backed Sunbird, Ashy Fronted Bulbul, White-vented Shama, Zebra Dove, and Brown Shrike.  We reached the crossroads where one of the roads lead up a small hill.  We saw a bird hopping up and down on the ground.  I snapped a couple of shots of what I think is a Paddyfield Pipit.
Paddyfield Pipit, local name Taringting

While looking for birds up the hill, I looked back and saw something scurrying across the dirt road. It was a Barred Button Quail, Umbok in Cuyonon, and one of my target birds.  Though I am aware of said bird and I may have seen one in my childhood (but I am not really sure),  I still consider it a lifer.  
We were milling around the area while watching a distant Ashy Drongo and Brown Shrike, when a smaller Barred Button Quail, most likely a juvenile, scurried across the road.  Again, it was too fast for me.  We soon called it a day.

We were back in the same area the following morning with the seminar participants.  Following the same route, we again ended at the crossroads.  Some of the participants were busy peering at a couple of Malkohas on a tree several meters away when a Yellow-throated Leafbird perched on a tree in front of me. While I was pointing my camera, it went up a bare twig above the leaves and stayed there as if wanting me to take it's photo without any obstruction.  
Yellow-throated Leafbird, creatively called "greenbird" by the locals. 

At approximately the same time as the previous day, two Barred Button Quails, crossed the road.  I was photographing a crow perched on a tree when this happened and I had just enough time for a single burst of five shots.  My setting was for a darker area so the shot was overexposed and not that sharp.  Using Photoshop Elements, I managed to save one.  Not really a "to die for" shot but still it was a lifer and an addition to my BY2014 list (where I am now lagging behind).

Barred Button Quail, Umbok in Cuyonon

Since most of the participants still had work, we soon left the area and went our separate ways. 

As for my Tamron lens, I continue to be satisfied with its performance. Long reach and handholdable (and I will be the first to admit that I don't have the steadiest of hands). It is definitely a keeper. Next, I would like to try it on some BIF's. 

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