Monday, February 1, 2016

Finding Blue in Maroon Land

Migratory birds are just amazing.  They fly vast distances and appear in the same area every year.  One such bird is the Blue Rock Thrush. Almost every year, between October to March, it appears in a certain area in the UP Diliman campus.  Unfortunately, I was never able to get a good photo since I got into birding in 2012.  

Last January 26, I went to UPD to photograph the Philippine Scops Owl family and the Spotted Wood Kingfisher. I met up with fellow birders Jonas Liwag, Mark Chang and Albert Tamayo at the MSI parking lot. Before proceeding to the Owl area, Jonas suggested that we pass by the area frequented by the Blue Rock Thrush.  My face must have lit up at the mention of this bird.  Shortly after we arrived at the spot, the bird showed up but left before we could get good shots. It stayed in another tree too high and too far. I was crestfallen again. However, Albert was able to post a very decent shot of it later that day.  

We then went to the Owl area and met Nes Santiago, another fellow birder.  We saw the adult owl but not the babies.  And in keeping with our luck, there was no clear shot.  After a while we trudged to the new location of UP's Spotty.  Again, no such luck.  All we saw was a Pied Fantail and some Yellow-vented Bulbuls.

Going back we decided to swing by the Owl area again and found that one of the babies was there snuggled beside the parent. Again no clear shot. 

Philippine Scops Owl, parent and child

We left Jonas and Nes and went back to where we parked our cars. We looked at the Thrush again. Albert and I stayed a few minutes while Mark to the Philippine Nightjar. But no such luck and needing to work, we all called it a day.

The following day, January 27, after I dropped my younger son to his school in Katipunan, I made a quick trip to UPD to look for the thrush.  When I got to the place, I saw that there were people working on the roof of the building where we saw the bird the day before.  Grrrr.... Looking at the other (and taller), building, I saw the bird perched way up. I also looked at the owl family but saw only the parent on an even more difficult perch. I gave up and went home.

January 28, Thursday, my elder son had an early class at UP. So after I dropped him, I swung by the Thrush area and to my delight, there were no workers on the roof.  And saw that my target bird was already there.  It flew away before I could set up my gear. But within ten minutes, it was backed and I was able to get some decent shots.  

Blue Rock Thrush

Blue Rock Thrush

Encouraged by my luck with the Thrush, I decided to look at the owls once more.  Unfortunately, even the parent was not around.

Still I was very happy that I was finally able to get a decent photo of a Blue Rock Thrush, one of my favorite birds because of its color and because I find the name so cool.

Till the next sortie... 


  1. Persistence paid off! Congrats on nailing this beauty.

  2. Hi Chin,
    Thanks for this Chronicle about the BRT and the Scops Owl experience you had. I enjoyed reading it just like the previous ones. Your flare for writing is great. Mabuhay ka!