When it came it blew strong winds for a couple of hours and poured several millimeters of rain. And then as suddenly as it came, the rain stopped and the sky cleared. So there I was with nothing to do on a cloudless Sunday morning, too late to go to where I planned to spend the weekend.
Without thinking too much on where I was going, I grabbed my pack and headed to the bus station. By the time I arrived at the station, I had decided to catch the sunset in the bird sanctuary in Candaba wetlands. Its bird season and I thought I might get lucky with some bird shots, with a beautiful sunset as bonus.
Weather was perfect when I got there but the trails going to the usual birding areas were gone, buried under mud and lotus plants. So much for birding. I trekked back to the main road, found a tree with a nice shade and decided to just wait for the sunset. Luckily, the spot I picked turned out to be in front of a feeding area. The birds came soon enough.
The trick is to just stay put and not make too much noise. I found the usual Lesser and Greater Egrets foraging for food. Blackwinged stilts made occasional appearance, some straying to a few feet away from me.
But what really made my day were the flock of Whiskered Terns which arrived to feed an hour before sunset. The late afternoon sun made the terns glow golden. They dove for snails and small fishes a few feet away from my spot, practically ignoring me!
I snapped away with my cheap Nikkor 70-300mm lens (considered grossly inadequate if you are a serious birder). I caught a pair doing something like a choreographed dance while another showed perfect form.
Another one seemed like its tracking a target and planning a precise and surgical strike. The rest simply hustled about, constantly jockeying for key spots.
This went on for a good hour. I almost forgot that the sun's getting really low and I still have to verify if the location I scouted earlier was good enough.
By the time the feeding frenzy subdued, the sun was a few minutes from completely calling it a day. I moved to my sunset spot while most of terns headed home, or probably just to another feeding location.
As I watched the sky get painted with sunset colors I can't help but think that the day terned out pretty well.