fortunately, the afternoon showers let up just in time for our afternoon birding. together with adri, anna, jessie and gina, we took a small group on a leisurely guided bird walk around anvaya's great lawn. i was a little apprehensive as i thought that, minus the migrants, there would be less birds than last time. but i was not to worry as even as we were giving our introduction by the pool, there were already brahminy kites flying over plus white-breasted woodswallows, asian glossy starlings, colasisi and crows perched on a nearby mango tree! we even had a philippine duck flying across, seen briefly by those with quick eyes!
we were joined by a varied group: a trio of girlfriends, a family with three kids, parents, nannies and a lola, and some of the activities staff of anvaya.
|leisurely birding on the great lawn|
we were soon pointing out several birds easily seen around the lawn and ponds fronting the main activities building including yellow-vented bulbuls, chestnut munias, striated grassbirds, black-naped orioles. several glossy swiftlets flying overhead. there were large flocks of lowland white-eyes moved noisily through the trees affording everyone with a chance to see these usually hyperactive birds through their binoculars. the bright blue white collared kingfisher once again brought out exclamations of appreciation from everyone, and the little kids had a small tiff over who would look through the spotting scope first.
|chestnut munias are very common in anvaya|
philippine pygmy woodpeckers, golden-bellied fly-eaters and a coppersmith barbet provided good examples of distinctive bird calls to demonstrate that bird watching is also bird listening!
|golden-bellied flyeaters: noisy but hard to see|
as we rounded the lawn to the start of our walk, a male pied bushchat perched on a lawn lamp was a good last bird for the day. it was hot and humid so everyone was a bit tired and parched but were all smiles.
|all eyes on a male pied bushchat|
the next morning as we were leaving our overnight accommodations anna and jessie pointed out a flock of asian glossy starlings just outside our doorstep in a mini-murmuration.
|a small flock of asian glossy starlings|
as we were saying our thanks and goodbyes to our hosts at the main building, adri and i spotted a southern sunbeam flitting across the sunny path, flashing its orange upperside. how apt, as the staff was also asking about the butterflies at anvaya!
|Curetis tagalica showing its plain underside|
it was a beautiful and sunny morning as we left anvaya that day.
|a beautiful morning at anvaya|
who would've thought that just 2 weekends after, adri and i would be back!
this time, it was a more technical activity, as adri was invited by the staff to give a bird photography talk plus a short bird photography walk. we were not so lucky this time as the rain poured hard and long during the scheduled talk! our audience dwindled as most of the guests who had signed up decided to back out because of the rains!
still, we pushed through with the activity. under a small tent which barely protected us from the wind and rain, adri unflinchingly gave his talk. however, we could not ignore getting slowly cold and wet for very long and we finally decide to transfer to the kids playroom!
|hard core: bird watching & photography lecture in the pouring rain!|
after the talk, the rain had mellowed into a light shower. the overcast skies plus the approaching sunset were not ideal for bird photography. "we are waterproof but our cameras and lenses aren't!" exclaimed one of the participants! so we just birdwatched by the pool area, with a group of huddled white-breasted woodswallows afforded a brief photographic opportunity. we wrapped up the activity with smiles and vow to repeat the activity in better weather.
|white-breasted wood-swallows cuddling together: so that's why they're called git-git!|
the rains finally let up and as the sun set, the sky blazed a fiery orange, and we contented ourselves with landscape photos.
|a blazing sunset at the beach|
adri and i had planned for an early start at subic the next day, but it was a beautiful morning with blue skies and the call of the beach was irresistible. we lazed by the beach, myself immersed in a book and adri on the coast chasing a couple of white-phase eastern reef egrets.
|a pair of white phase eastern reef egrets|
when he came back, he said he had "gifts" for me, and it turned out that he was able to photograph a couple of Papilionidae butterflies puddling on the sand! a green dragontail and a common jay!
|a puddling Lamproptera meges - missing its long tail|
|another puddling butterfly: Graphium doson|
more butterflies! maybe next time we can fit in a little butterfly documentation in our schedule!
thanks again to anna g for organizing the our trip and to the anvaya activities staff for their continued promotion of the anvaya bird life!