The Philippine subspecies (gularis, endemic race) of this bird has a much smaller white throat than its cousins elsewhere in Asia. At 10.5 inches length, it is a medium large kingfisher. It is very shy when approached on foot, but the ones perching near roads or trails can be tolerant of vehicles. I used my car as a blind to get reasonably close to this fellow along a trail at Subic rainforest.
White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis, resident)
Habitat – Clearings, along large streams and rivers, and in open country.
About three years ago, I and several birdnuts were allowed access inside the fenced compound of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant through the recommendation of the Provincial Tourism Office of Bataan. There are quite many species of birds inside the restricted area because of its lush vegetation and secured nature. No hunter or poacher can enter and do harm to the feathered creatures here.
The nuclear plant itself is mothballed, still unfueled, and I hope it remains non-operational forever.
This male Pied Bushchat was foraging in a grassy area near the nuke plant. I used my vehicle as a mobile blind to get very near this normally shy bird, which is found in all major Philippine islands. It is a mere 5 inches in total length, so it is about lifesize as posted when viewed through 96 dpi displays.
The female is mostly mottled grey brown in color and looks very different from the all black male. Here are some video footage of a female fimed in-habitat at Candaba wetlands.
Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata, male)
Habitat – Drier open country, grasslands and cultivated areas.
This unidentified bee (or is it a fly?) was resting on a leaf and I had to mount 37 mm worth of extension tubes to be able to focus closer and make the tiny subject (between 10 – 15 mm long) bigger in the frame.
Here’s a simple portrait of a Brown Shrike, a common and widespread migrant, showing the delicate feather detail of its back. This one was a male (the female has barring on breast and flank).
It would’ve been more exotic sounding to say that I saw this in a remote location after travelling and hiking many hours, but I actually captured this photo in my garden.
The bird’s habit of perching at a conspicuous spot for extended periods was perfect for a fully manual focusing and exposure technique, a necessary workflow when shooting 1120 mm with AF not workable. The subject was in the shade, while the out-of-focus grasses in the background were illuminated by an overcast sky. With a total length of 7-1/2 inches, the bird is slightly larger than lifesize when viewed with 96 dpi screens. The Sigmonster’s image quality impresses, even with a 1.4x TC!
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus, migrant, male)
Habitat – Common in all habitats at all elevations.