Because I was not that happy with my Spotty photos and because I wanted to be able to photograph the Cuckoos (Brush and Philippine Hawk), I was back at UP-D on February 11 where I again bumped into Jonas Liwag. Spotty and the Cuckoos were a no show but the ever reliable Blue Rock Thrush entertained us. This time on the big tree in the parking lot.
Blue Rock Thrush (juvenile male)
On February 12, I posted on Facebook that I predict a lot of people in UPD the next day. True enough, when I got there at 7am the following day, I saw fellow bird photographers Atty. Ramon Quisumbing, Wins Tornado, Prof. Bert Madrigal, Roy de Guzman Daantos, and Rocky Sison. Collectively, I call them the big guns on account of their big prime lenses (600, 800, 500, 600 and 800 respectively). Miss Becky Chung Santos was also there and of course Jonas Liwag, who is in UP almost daily.
The big guns were looking shooting the Blue Rock Thrush. Bert and I went to the biology forest in search of Spotty and the Cuckoos. We saw some Barred Rails and White-breasted Water Hens in a creek. Then a Cinnamon Bittern emerged from the bushes and flew across us and settled in some of tall grass. Bert and I parted ways after that. I went behind the Biology building to check if the Spotty was there but no such luck.
I was walking back to the Scops Owl area when I met a young bird photographer named Jon Villanueva. I pointed the Barred Rails to him and while he was shooting it, the Cinnamon Bittern did another appearance. I then met a group of bird watchers led by Jops Josef who told me that the Spotty and the Cuckoo appeared near the Sops Owl area. I hurriedly went there and found Jonas who showed me a photo in his LCD Screen - that of the Spotty with a grasshopper in its beak!!!
Somebody called us to go to the other side because the Cuckoo was there so off we went but it had already left. Then the big guns arrived but before they could even set up, we were called again by somebody (can't recall if it was Wins' or Ramon's driver) to go to the other side (near the Scops area). When we got there, both Jonas and Jon were clicking away at Spotty who was kind enough to perch on an open branch about 5 meters away from the concrete pathway. The big guns had to move back because it was not within their minimum focusing distance. And for the next thirty minutes, we happily pressed our shutters as Spotty obliged. I even had to change memory cards at one point. In the end, it was us who gave up.
Presenting, UP-D's Spotted Wood Kingfisher, in various poses:
Spotted Wood Kingfisher (male)
Thank you Lord for Spotty!!!
Postscript: The Brush Cuckoo appeared but true to its name, it kept under the brush so we didn't get many shots. Ramon and I both left at a little past 10am only to find out that the Philippine Hawk Cuckoo also made an appearance that enabled those still there full frame captures!
Ahhh... the joys of birding...but still thank you Spotty.