Two New Bird Photos for the Farm Bird List!

This week I got photos of two birds that we’ve seen at the refuge but never photographed at the refuge before! It makes me so happy to add to our list of birds photographed at the refuge.

The first one is the Philippine Hawk Cuckoo Cuculus pectoralis that I thought I photographed during our previous visit to the refuge. This time I searched for it in the trees so I could take a picture. This bird was doing its best to stay hidden inside the tree, behind a branch. I have a lot of pictures of the branch! This still counts as a bird photo since the bird is recognizable!

Philippine Hawk Cuckoo .. can you see the yellow ring around the eye, gray head, and white throat? That’s the bird!
Philippine Hawk Cuckoo flying away from me

The second one is a Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca that silently showed up in the former round pen at around 6:15 in the morning. It stayed long enough for me to run into the cottage, grab my camera, and take photos from the veranda! It was walking back and forth, foraging in the grass like a chicken. I thought it was a wild chicken. It did not immediately register that this was a Ruddy-breasted Crake, a bird that is considered difficult to see. Aside from our refuge, the only other places we have seen this bird are in Tarlac and Tadao, Ilocos Norte.

Tonji first saw this bird in our refuge in August 2018. He saw two adults and one black chick in the mango area. Now, less than two years later, we have a photo!


All that time spent trying to get better photos of the Philippine Hawk Cuckoo was not wasted. I got better photos of other birds!

I had very close views of some Coppersmith Barbets.

And I got to watch the birds hanging out, eating fruits, and catching insects!

6 thoughts on “Two New Bird Photos for the Farm Bird List!”

  1. So nice to see that you guys are able to see more birds at your sanctuary. Love, love, love this!!!! Way to go Tonji and Sylvia!!!!

  2. Hi Sylvia! You are an amazing photographer. I could see the hidden bird. What kind of camera and powerful lens did you use?

    1. Thank you Arlene! I’m using a Canon EOS 7D Mark 2 with a EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L IS2 lens. This is my lighter bird photography gear. Relatively light compared to my bigger lens that needs a tripod. There are newer lenses and bodies though that are much lighter than my current set up.

      1. Thanks, Sylvia! I was watching the CBS Morning News and they featured a segment on David Sibley, and recommended his new book, “What It’s Like to Be a Bird: From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing–What Birds Are Doing, and Why (Sibley Guides).” that was released this April, which you may have heard about already. His illustrations look wonderful too.

  3. Dear all

    I’m staying with friends in Ayala Westgrove Heights in Silang, Cavite (I am a refugee from New York City), where I have been trying to do 10+K steps every day. Given what an urbanite I am, I find it funny that I now pay close attention to the plants I see on my hikes.

    I came across this blog when I was researching on tibig, the Philippine fig, of which there are several trees in this estate.

    Now that I’ve learned about your interesting project, I’d like to refer you to this interesting article:

    Email me ( if you can’t access the article. I’ll copy and paste it and send you a copy.

    Henry Ma

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