Once you start, you can never stop birdwatching!

As I am on the mend it is progressively getting easier to walk though staying upright for long is still difficult. But I am getting out and about and I can confirm that adage that once you start birdwatching you never stop. On Friday afternoon after a big rain storm I was enjoying looking at the abundant Olive-backed Sunbirds in my mother-in-law’s garden when a Yellow-vented Bulbul perched high up on a tree and hung around for a while, like five minutes or so. I was surprised by how unfazed it was as there was a lot of human activity below. In Thailand I always associate this species with skittishness and it takes off at the slightest disturbance. Also for an area as built up as this, where the human pressure on every  square inch of land is palpable, I don’t really expect to see much more than Euarsian Tree Sparrows and Olive-backed Sunbirds. So while a relatively common bird, it was good to see the Yellow-vented Bulbul here.

On a hunch I decided to accompany my wife and mother-in-law to visit my deceased father-in-law’s grave in The Sacred Heart Cemetery in Sum-ag. Boy Baradero was a decent man sorely missed by his wife, daughters and his five nephews and one niece. I was very fond of him and was sad to see him go at a comparatively young age.

My hunch, bolstered by previous visits to the cemetery, was there might be some good birds to see here – it’s lush and peaceful and there are several “wild” sections. So I said my prayers and took a short stroll. The first bird to get my attention was a Chestnut Munia and as I progressed I could see it was here in very good numbers. I also picked out a couple of Scaly-breasted Munias and also a Java Sparrow, a really delightful looking bird; I am sure there must have been others but I only could pick out one. When I reached one of the wild places I picked out a green pigeon which flew in and parked high up in the canopy of some higher trees. It then disappeared. I really didn’t get enough time on it other than making out a dominant colour of green. Very interesting. A couple of largish Brown Shrikes and an Oriental Magpie Robin were perched on wires and a few Pied Fantails were also busy. I am sure this cemetery warrants further investigation and must give it more time on my next trip.

Saturday morning we flew to Cebu. There were a few Striated Grassbirds perched on wires as we approached the airport at Silay. Of much more interest was the number of Red-rumped Swallows visible from the departure lounge. These were unmistakable with their long forked tails and whitish, rufous rump patches. I think they must be nesting in the eaves below the departure lounge – whatever, a delight to get a grandstand view of these guys darting around. I don’t know their status – if they are nesting as I say then they are in all likelihood residents. So if you are waiting for a flight at Bacolod make sure you have a good look at the swallows.

As I said at the beginning you can never stop looking at birds once you have started – be warned!

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