A couple of years ago, Bloomsbury Publishing in London got in touch with me and asked if I would want to join a pool of wild bird photographers from all over the world to contribute photos to the book “Owls of the World, A Photographic Guide” by Heimo Mikkola. I readilly submitted some photos grabbing the opportunity to have an international audience. Luckily, four of my photos made it to the book. I also soon discovered that only two Filipino wild bird photographers have their photos featured in the book. I was glad I was one of the two.
A year later, the Second Edition of the books came out with a total of 268 species of Owls with new splits. The First Edition listed 249 species. Three of the owls whose photos I have submitted in the book became full Philippine Endemic species in this new edition.
The Luzon Lowland Scops Owl and the Visayan Lowland Scops Owl were split from the Philippine Scops Owl, and so is the Chocolate Boobook from the Brown Hawk Owl.
New Philippine Endemic owl species include Camiguin Hawk Owl, Cebu Hawk Owl and Romblon Hawk Owl. Other new Philipine Endemic owl splits also include the Luzon Hawk Owl, Mindanao Hawk Owl, Sulu Hawk Owl and Mindanao Lowland Scops Owl.
I was able to photograph the Luzon Lowland Scops Owl (formerly Philippine Scops Owl) at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City with the discovery of fellow bird photographer Bert Madrigal on December 2009. It was just in front of the College of Human Kinetics. (Gears and settings: Canon 50D + EF 400mm + Benro Tripod + 2lbs dampener… 1/60, f5.6, iso800, almost uncropped, full frame)
The photo below of the Visayan Lowland Scops Owl (formerly Philippine Scops Owl Negros race) was taken in Bacong, Negros Oriental on June 2009 with the help of bird guides Rene “Manong Itti” Vendiola and Ronald Las Pinas. It was by far the most difficult picture I have taken then as I was in an inclining position where one hand is holding on a vine and the other the camera in a 60 degree slope inside a creek. I could have taken some more pictures and could have adjusted more if not for an attack from ants when my head touched another vine. Rene said this is the second photograph of the Negros subspecies, the first being that of an American/British? But they do not have a copy of that picture. Apolinario Carino of PENAGMANNAKI- Pederasyon sa Nagkahiusang mga Mag-uuma nga Nanalipud ug Nagpasig-uli sa Kinaiyahan Inc., however, said this is the first photo. (Gears and settings: Canon 50D 100-400mm@260mm… 1/45, f5.6, iso1600, handheld)
It was after attending the 1stGlobal Bird Watchers Conference in Gujarat, India that I was able to photograph the Mottled Wood Owl in November 2010. I and Nicky Icarangal were looking for the rare and endangered Asiatic Lion at the Sasan Gir Forest National Park when the guide showed us this owl. Our participation in the Conference and our extended tour was facilitated by Uttej Rao. (Gears and settings: Canon 50D + EF 400mm… 1/80, f5.6, iso1600, EV+1)
The Chocolate Boobook is a surprise catch! It was taken on October 2011 at Loyola Grand Villas at the subdivision of my friends Elmer and Susan Mercado and where fellow bird photographer and tv-movie director Jv Noriega also resides. (Gears and settings: Canon 7D + EF 400mm + Benro Tripod… 1/50, f7.1, iso400, EV+2/3)
“Owls of the World, A Photographic Guide, Second Edition” by Heimo Mikkola is available at Bloomsbury Publishing, Amazon and other online stores.
The photos may be viewed larger and higher resolutions by clicking on them.
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