By Mike Lu
April 24, 2020 – Bird Day Friday
With everyone stuck at home due to the quarantine, the club launched Bird Day Friday where members post bird photos on their personal Facebook pages to educate their non-birder friends to the avain diversity of our country. Photo below shows a Zebra Dove from the post of Mike Lu who focused on urban species.
May 9 – Global Big Day
Cornell Lab’s Global Big Day is a much-anticipated worldwide event when birdwatchers aroudn the world go out birdwatching and record as many species within 24 hours. With the quarantine, most birders can only make lists from their backyards. Birdwatchers from the Philippines reported 140 species from a total of 102 lists submitted. More than half of the 48 participants who participated are members of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines.
May 24 – Bombay Natural History webinar on Basic Course on Ornithology
Ravi Iyengar conducted a Webinar for his friends – many of them were his fellow participants of an annual program called Basic Course on Ornithology conducted by the Bombay Natural History Society which he attended in 2018-19.
The Webinar was entitled: An Introduction to the Birds of The Philippines and was also co-presented by Mike Lu who spoke on the history of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines. The link to the Youtube recording is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I13ibuATVck&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1DDqae-tmmRoUPPtUKnutueeu-JXEal7XSZg-O6dEcKelg_TTI2IHgmCs
June 27 – People’s NICHE Forum
NGO People’s NICHE (Network for Integrity of Coastal Habitats and Ecosystems) held a forum with the theme: Habang may dagat, may buhay: Dissecting the impact of the proposed Bulacan Airport. WBCP was ably-represented by VP Cristina Cinco who took part in the Asian Waterbird Census in the area for the last five years. Please read the news article interview with VP Cinco:
July 4 – Virtual Birding in Philippine Hotspots # 1 Mindoro
With birding grinding to a halt, some frustrated club members decided to test the waters with a “birding kapihan” via Zoom meetings on Saturday evenings where speakers share their birding experiences. After a few sessions, Saturday Night Virtual Birding was open to all club members with Cheta Chua and Allan Gil Fernando sharing their Mindoro island adventure.
July 11 – Virtual Birding in Philippine Hotspots # 2 – Zamboanga
The second Saturday Night Virtual Birding featured guest speakers Michael de la Cruz and Georgina Fernandez of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 9 to speak about birding sites in Zamboanga including the newly-found Philippine Eagle nest in Pasonanca Park.
July 17 – Asian Bird Fair Online Session
Mark Jason Villa was the featured speaker on the Asian Bird Fair Online Session # 7. He introduced birds and birdwatching sites in the Philippines, highlighting the endemic species of different island groups. The Asian Bird Fair Online Session is held every Friday evening and is participated by birdwatchers from around the world. Mark’s talk can be seen here:
July 18 – Virtual Birding in Philippine hotspots – Northern Philippine Hawk Eagle
Jelaine Gan presented Flight and Plight of the Northern Philippine Hawk-Eagle, an endangered species found only in Luzon and in Mindoro. She shared exciting new information about its breeding, diet, behavior and threats.
July 25 – Virtual Kamustahan
First WBCP Kamustahan participated by 34 members was a virtual get-together for members to get in touch with each other virtually. With MJ Bugante emceeing and Robby Alabado Zoom hosting,members who shared their and those who shared their lockdown experiences were Linda Gocon, Gwen So, Rodec de la Cruz, Ricky de Castro, Rex Durban, Mike Lu, John and Beng Ricarte, and Marites Falcon. Members agreed to hold a Kamustahan every month.
July 25 – Virtual Birding in Philippine Hotspots – Frugivores
Carmela Espanola gave a talk on the roles of avian frugivores on the ecosystem and how dismally low densities throughout protected areas in Luzon will lead to a collapse in populations with serious ecological implications.
July 29-30 – 2-night Online Auction
As part of the Club’s 17th anniversary celebration, the Club conducted a 2-night online auction exclusively for its members. Items on auction include books, pins, and the hotly-contested bird figurines.
July 31 – 17th Club Anniversary on Zoom
The 17th Club Anniversary and General Assembly was conducted online via Zoom due to the COVID quarantine. The program started with a well-received opening number by Yang Villa, followed by the Presidents’ report by Mike Lu, the Records Committee report by Arne Jensen and the Rarities Committee report by Christian Perez. The Club website after months of meticulous work was relaunched by Jops Josef and a book project in partnership with the Team Energy Foundation was announced by Willem van de Ven. The Elections Committee announced the re-election of Mike Lu as president, Tinggay Cinco as vice president, Bayani Barcenas as secretary and Jops Josef as treasurer. Jon Villasper launched the 6-piece Critically Endangered coffee mug series and Gina Mapua announced the program of activities in the upcoming 13th Philippine Bird-tual Festival to be held on Zoom and connected to the WBCP Facebook Live. The program was ably-hosted by Yani Barcenas and Gwen So.