It has been awhile since I wrote anything on my blog. Due to pressures of work and my CATE duties (in August) and my mom's medical condition (September and October), finding time to bird proved quite difficult. And even during the rare times that I had the time, I didn't feel like birding because my mind was focused on other matters. Last October 11-17, I had to accompany a group of foreign birders who booked a bird tour with My Blue Backpack (our tour company). The tour included stops at La Mesa Ecopark, Bohol, and Puerto Princessa. However, I am not going to write about that trip today. Today, I would like to write about an unplanned birding trip last Saturday, October 24, at La Mesa Ecopark.
I went to LMEP not to bird but to attend Rey Sta. Ana's Bird Photography Workshop. I had previously attended Sir Rey's seminar (actually twice already), so this was more like a refresher and also as support to him and to bird guide Anthony Balbin, (who was also going to speak about birding at La Mesa). Sometime after lunch, when the workshop attendees were already doing the practical part (shooting practice shots), Ven Rojas and I decided to go and photograph the Common Kingfisher.
When we reached the spot, we found a bird photographer waiting. He was Mr. Nes Santiago, whom we both met for the first time. After the introductions, Nes informed us that the bird showed up for a while and he showed us his beautiful shots. Being a gentleman birder, Nes, gave up his spot so we can also stake out the bird. He went to the other spot where another birder, Sean Melendres was also waiting. Ven and I set up our tripods and began to wait. For me, this was my first time to use Live-view and cable release so I pointed my camera on the perch where the bird was expected to land and took a few practice shots.
We settled down to wait. Ven's spot enabled him to sit but I had to keep standing. Soon, we both had our phones out, checking messages, facebooking and playing games. Sean Melendres arrived and left. Then Ven went to the spot where Sean was waiting. I stayed put. Some minutes passed, while looking at my phone, I heard Ven quietly say, "Chin, ayan na siya". I looked at the perched and true enough our target bird landed and before I could even press the shutter, it flew away, perched on a nearby branch with poor lighting and left again. And we waited again...
After one hour and twenty minutes, both Ven and I gave up. He went to the mini forest to look for Spotty and the IBKF while I went back to the seminar venue so I could sit down and drink some water. Soon the seminar was winding down. I decided to go back one more time. I found Ven back in his spot. It was almost five o'clock and we were losing hope. Ven said ten more minutes... then he stood up said he will check the other spot. As soon as he stood up, the target bird, flew across headed towards Ven's direction. I decided to stay and said to myself, I will stay until 5:10pm (it was already 5:00pm). And of course I began to pray and ask the Lord to make the bird come and give me even just a minute so I can fire a few shots. I cannot recall how many Our Father's and Hail Mary's I've prayed when suddenly our target bird was there. And I just pressed the cable shutter release. The time was 5:03pm.
The bird stayed for less than a minute giving me twenty-one shots in two poses - all using live-view and cable release. (I think I will start using this as much as I can from now on. hahaha).
This bird is not a lifer for me but I have never gotten a really good shot and have long wanted one. I didn't really expect to get one yesterday. As Lola Nidora (of Aldub fame), is fond of saying, "sa tamang panahon...".
Thank you Lord for giving me the opportunity to shoot this bird.