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Backyard Birding Quest

You’re wrong if you think I have a beautiful backyard. I don’t, as the place where I live – in Sitio All-Top to be exact – is near a dirty creek, which we fondly called “gillage” means beside the village, as it’s just few meters across the exclusive village named Merville Park in Paranaque City. However, the dirty stream on my backyard is still possessing some vegetation where birds can perch, rest, and eat. There are trees living on its bank such as the Talisay, Bangkal, Ipil-ipil, and fruit-bearing trees like Mango, Bilimbi, Guava and Star Apple, as well as cultivated trees like Papaya, Banana and Malunggay. Though not as dense as they were in the the 1990s, yes, there’s still life on our backyard. I still have a handful of luck because there are still remaining patches of greeneries from the past, where different birds live and pass through. On the other hand, my involvement in hiking and other outdoor activities for several years exposed me to the beauty of wildlife, specially birds; which I had the most experience in terms of wildlife encounter, in the form of listening and appreciating their flight. Birds are one of my fascination in the outdoor. It delights me to see the beauty of their presence and enjoyment from music they bring. Moreover, to see some of them within my neighborhood, is another great thing I truly celebrate. Making me have a pretty laid back birding spot, just on my backyard!

BACKYARD BIRD WATCHING

My backyard bird watching started when I brought home the Solognac 8×42 500 series Binoculars from Decathlon Philippines for test. I tried it countless time by watching birds on my backyard, which happened after the two outdoor trip I did – where I also brought the said optic – in the month of October and November last year. However, the binoculars testing I had on my backyard did not end as trial. Indeed, it resulted to a preliminary spotting, which followed with focus backyard bird watching. So, on November 17, 2017 around 6:30 in the morning – few days after my last outdoor trip with the optic – I visited my backyard to watch birds again. Through the Solognac 8×42 500 series Binoculars, I repeatedly watch birds, and recorded the color patterns on their feathers, wings, crown, vent, belly and tails, which eventually served as key for me to name them later on, with the help of the Internet. It made me happy to recognize variety of birds that morning – from Pied fantail to Yellow-vented bulbul, Eurasian tree sparrow to Asian glossy starling, and Brown shrike to Golden-bellied flyeater – showcasing  the power of their flight.

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On the other hand, watching birds through the binoculars is truly entertaining. I was ogled with the birds I’ve seen, and it piqued my interest to think of ways to share this kind of enjoyment. Then, I come up to plan a photo shoot documentation like other birders do. But it didn’t go easily.

BACKYARD BIRD PHOTO SHOOT

The backyard bird photo shoot I had – in the morning of February 02 to 04 this year – did not easily went through. I’m a beginner and I encountered difficulties dealing with the camera. There were times when I get over excited and I unconsciously made noisy moves, which made birds became intractable and fly away. However, learnings went along the way. I learned to deal with the camera, to hide myself, to silently observe them from distance and to carefully glimpse to see where they are mostly hop and perch, until I managed to take photo of them one by one.

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The Pied fantail (Rhipidura nigritorquis) – This bird has been the first product of my photo shoot. Mostly, I see it fly together with the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. It was very visible in the morning because of it’s fan-shaped tail, and black and white color combination. But taking a photo of it was not easy, as it is constantly moving, agressively attacking other birds, even the rat roaming on the tree branch. I just had a good timing to take a photo when it perched on the branch of Talisay tree.

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The Pied Triller (Lalage nigra) – At first, I thought it was a “shrike” because of the black-stripe passing through it’s eye. Then the pied (black and white) patterns on it’s wing confirming that bird is definitely a Pied triller. However, very few than the Pied fantail.
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The Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus) – This is the most dominant bird I always seen everywhere on my backyard. They are mostly very busy in getting dried stem to build nest on neighbor’s external ceiling, and sometimes joining the roosters eating on ground.
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The Yellow vented bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) – The most active among the birds I’ve seen during the quest. Very easy to recognise as they are mostly perches in inclined position, making it’s yellow vent to be visible. They flies and hop everywhere in a cluster.
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The Brown shrike (Lanius cristatus) – Same as Eurasian tree sparrow; this bird species is very common on my backyard. They hop in different trees and they are very comfortable to perch on barbed wire, wall and cable.
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The Zebra dove (Geopelia striata) – It has an occasional appearance – mostly in pairs – when I conducted the photoshoot. Perches on a high spot and not too much moving, yet active in surveying the ground like a chicken.

The Yellow-bellied sunbird – Though I’m unlucky to see again the Asian glossy starling and golden-bellied flyeater during my photoshoot, the presence of a Yellow-bellied sun bird which suddenly landed in tall Malunggay tree is a nice complementary.

The Philippine Pigmy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos maculatus) – The most intractable bird I saw during the photo-shoot. I’ve  seen it pecking the dried tree branch for only seconds and haven’t had a clear shot. Though I regret, yet still thankful for this very surprising encounter. To see my backyard accommodating an endemic bird, is such a pleasant discovery!

Overall, I am pleased to finally document different the kind of birds from my backyard. Hoping I could see again and take photo of their other breed I haven’t yet include in the photo shoot. Very thankful to Decathlo’s’ Solognac 8×42 500 serie sBinoculars! This tool exposed me to the idea of enjoyable wildlife discovery without leaving my comfort zone and left high importance to my “birding eyes”, in learning to identify the birds. For sure, I’m gonna bring out this optic again; to check out new birds encounter on my backyard or try it for a longer birding quest in the future.

 

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