Photo by Allan Gil Fernando
Flame-breasted Fruit Dove Ptilinopus marchei
I had the Flame-breasted Fruit Dove in my “next to impossible birds to see” list since I began counting lifers in 2010. Fast forward September 2017 and 300++ lifers later, the opportunity to see the dove was within reach. A Facebook post from a fellow birder reported that it was seen along the Marikina-Infanta road. Wasting no time, a schedule was made and several days later I found myself in the company of other birders who also wanted to see the bird.
The first attempt was not successful, despite arriving in the place early, staying in the place for four hours, and despite the fact that there are other birders in the area looking for the bird. Another schedule was set and the anticipation, excitement and fear of not seeing the bird again become stronger as the day approaches.
Arriving in the area earlier than the previous schedule, our hearts sank when we saw the thick fog cover and strong winds. Luck, however, was on our side this time. We didn’t just see one, but two beautiful Flame-Breasted Fruit Doves hopping from tree to tree, feeding on small red fruits. The birds gave us a five minute-show, enough to observe their behavior, marvel at their beauty and take decent shots to show friends that birds other than maya exist in the Philippines. – Allan