Saturday, January 10, 2015

BY2014, the year that was...

Twelve months, more than seventy birding sorties (both planned and random), almost sixty trip reports submitted. At the beginning of the year, I set modest goals of seventy (70) lifers and one hundred and seventy (170) total species. By my count my year-end totals are seventy-one, (71), lifers and one hundred seventy-three, (173), total species. Funny how the figures ended up. At a certain point during the middle of the year, when my father was ill and my wife and daughter were abroad, I didn't think I would even reach a hundred and forty species. But that is the joy of birding, you never know what nature will give you.  I do not know who won the race because the committee has not yet announced the final tally.  But I would like to congratulate not only the yet to be proclaimed winners but all those who joined from BWP and BWC (kahit yung hindi nag submit ng trip report ;-)).  To borrow a phrase from another birder, well done and mabuhay!!! 

Sharing some of the images I was able to take during this incredible year... 

Philippine Falconet, January 4, 2014, Mt. Palay-palay. One of my first lifers for the year.

Ruddy Kingfisher, January 16, 2014, Capayas. I took almost 200 shots of this bird.  The last few, we were four meters apart, face-to-face. It never left. I was the one who gave up.

Citrine Canary Flycather, Feb 8, 2014, Bangkong Kahoy. One of my 12 lifers that day.

Scale-feathered Malkoha, Feb 8, 2014, Bangkong Kahoy. Part of the big haul that day.

Blue-eared Kingfisher, March 12, 2014, Capayas.  This photo made it as the banner page of the WBPP page for a week.  My first and so far, only photo to do so (hopefully not the last).

Philippine Duck, April 1, 2014, Kingfisher Park, Coron. I was surprised to see this duck in the Calamianes because the Kennedy Guide does not list it as present in Palawan.  It is most likely the FIRST photographic record of this bird in the Calamianes. 

Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, April 14, 2014, Capayas. My first time to photograph the male and female together.

Black-hooded Pitta, May 21, 2014, Capayas. A sentimental favorite. My first target bird when I started birding in 2012. 

Red-bellied Pitta, May 21, 2014, Capayas.  A very difficult bird to see, much less photograph in Coron.

Indigo-banded Kingfisher, June 10, 2014, Bangkong Kahoy. 

Elegant Tit, June 10, 2014, Bangkong Kahoy. I just love the composition of this shot. 

Coppersmith Barbet, June 25, 2014, UP Diliman. Taken on the day before I would leave for Beijing.  I had a ton of things to do that day in various locations around the Metro but I went to UP early to get this shot, thanks to the directions given by fellow birders.

Eurasian Magpie, June 28, 2014, Beijing. A very common urban bird in Beijing.  Nevertheless, it is a lifer for me. 

Palawan Hornbill, July 12, 2014, YKR, Coron. Of all the times to be without my SLR and telephoto. Taken with my SX50 point and shoot.

Long-tailed Shrike, September 3, 2014, UP Diliman.  First bird post using the new toy (Tammy 150-600mm).  Taken while waiting for my son to finish his math class. 

Buff-banded Rail, Sept 21, 2014, IRRI, Los Banos. First time to bird after the passing of my father, first time in IRRI. Thanks to Prof. Tirso Paris.

Hill Myna, Oct 7, 2014, YKR, Coron.  Thank you Philippine Airlines for a three-hour flight delay. 

Ferruginous Flycatcher, Nov 1, 2014, LMEP. One of two lifers that day. 

Greater Racquet Tailed Drongo, Nov. 6, 2014, Penang.  One of 20 lifers on that fateful day.

Red-wattled Lapwing, Nov 6, 2014, Penang. Another one from the Penang bonanza.

Male Olive-backed Sunbird, Dec 21, 2014, Darayonan. My spark bird, the bird from which this blog is named after, my "friend" who always gives me something to "shoot" whenever I dip on my target birds in Coron.  The Chiwit of Darayonan.

Changeable Hawk-eagle, Dec 22, 2014, YKR, Coron. A rare lifer and the last bird I photographed in Coron for 2014.

A flock of Northern Pintails, Dec 26, 2014, Candaba. One of my last lifers for the year.

I hope you enjoy viewing these photos as much as I did in taking them. I thank all my birder friends who somehow helped make these images possible (too many to mention but you know who you are).  Of course, a big thank you to my wife, Lorna (for allowing me to go on birding sorties), and my children (for doing their best to understand the addiction).  To end this post, here are a three photos of me taken by fellow birders.  The things we do in pursuit of the birds...

Taken by Choy Wai Mun at Air Hitam Dalam, Penang, shooting the Streak-breasted Woodpecker

Trudging through mud and knee-deep water somewhere in Coron Island in pursuit of the Red-Vented Cockatoo.  Was so afraid that I would fall and damage my gear. Photo courtesy of Al Linsangan III.

Shooting the fantastic landscape in this corner of Coron Island.  This was after getting great captures of the Stork-billed Kingfisher. My normal lens was  left in the banca so I had to make do with my tele-zoom.  Photo courtesy of Al Linsangan III. 

Wishing everybody a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2015! 


  1. Wow! Looked like you had a fantastic year.

  2. I did Mun and thanks to you, the Penang trip was a big part of that!