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Pagbilao, Quezon

Date: 19- 20 January 2008
Purpose: Asian WaterBird Census
Location: Team Energy Pagbilao Plant
Municipality of Pagbilao, Province of Quezon
Birders: Alex Tiongco, Tere Cervero, Trinket Canlas, Adrian
Constantino, Drew Galano, Arnel Telesforo, Tintin Telesforo,
Carmela Balcazar, Eric dela Torre
Trip Report by: Carmela Balcazar
Bird Report by: Tintin Telesforo & Carmela Balcazar

1st Day - Jan. 19, 2008

Counting ducks in the rain at TeaM Energy Pagbilao Plant
Counting ducks in the rain at TeaM Energy Pagbilao Plant

It was the annual Asian WaterBird Census and it was happening in MY province. How could I miss that? Despite the gloomy weather, I was looking forward to my first birding trip out with the club's members.

Although not part of the census, the first birds spotted were Zebra doves pecking nonchalantly at the lawns of the Team Energy plant in Pagbilao. After a quick introduction at the administration building, we set off to the ponds. Birding conditions were far than ideal. As the saying goes, "like rain off a duck's back", the birders set off to identify and count the birds present at the ponds. The first ducks I saw were those flying and in the water.

With the naked eye, it was easy to miss the ducks on land. They blended with the color of the dumped soil in the ponds. With overcast skies, colors were dull and details muddled by the rain and yet it seems, these challenges just made it a little more fun for the birders. They pointed out details and discussed identifying marks such as head size, body position during flight, color patterns, bird size, etc. to i.d. the birds.

We started at 4:15 in the afternoon and ended a little less than an hour to head up to Brgy Pinagbayanan. Unfortunately, it was too dark to spot any waterbirds but Alex managed to spot a Phil. Hawk Eye Owl. The group decided to come back the next day.

Bird List:

1. Great Egret Egretta alba – 5
2. Little Egret Egretta garzetta – 1
3. Unidentified Egrets – 4
4. Northern Pintail Anas acuta – 26
5. Green-Winged Teal Anas crecca – 5 (2 males and 3 females)
6. Philippine duck Anas luzonica – 497
7. Tufted duck Aythya fuligula – 26
8. Common sand piper Actitis hypoleucos– 1

Non-waterbirds (not included in count)

9. Spotted doves. Streptopelia chinensis 4
10. Zebra doves Geolelia striata- 3
11. Phil hawk-Owl Ninox philippensis – 1
12. Swiflets sp. – X common
13. Striated grassbirds Megalurus palustris - 4

Day 2 ( January 20, 2008)

05:30 and the group was traveling to Brgy. Ibabang Palsabangon, where the Pagbilao Experimental Forest Eco-destination area was located. Turning off from Maharlika Hi-way and into one of the barrio roads, we drove past fishbonds, ricefields and small banana groves. Upon arrival, the group decided to split up to two teams. The land crew were composed of Alex, Arnel, Eric, Tere, Cynthia and me. We would head to the viewing deck, 790 meters deep into the mangrove forest. While the water crew made up of Trinket, Adrian, Andrew, Jules & Tin-tin took two (2) boats for the river and coastline assignment.

The 360-degree view deck put you at canopy level in the 149 hectare mangrove forest. One could see the nearby coast and mountains.

Group pix at the Mangrove Experimental Forest
Group pix at the Mangrove Experimental Forest

We counted the egrets, ducks and crows as they flew past. Familiar birds such as the Pied Fantails and Yellow-Vented Bulbuls darted among the shrubbery below. Olive-Backed Sunbirds, Lowland White- Eyes. Philippine Coucals, Pied Trillers, Pygmy Flowerpeckers, a Pompadour Green Pigeon and Pink-necked Green Pigeons were also seen during the brief interludes of sun. Among the personal lifers in this trip, it was the Black-Naped Monarch that became my favorite. On our way back, I heard a bird call that was very near. Tintin spotted the Mangrove Blue Flycatcher not 6 meters away. It was a lovely way to cap the trip to the view deck.

Banca ride to the Pagbilao bay mudflats with Andrew, Adri and Jules
Banca ride to the Pagbilao bay mudflats with Andrew,
Adri and Jules

By 9:00 am, the two teams got together at the viewing deck to share and compare sightings. By 10:30 am, we were on our way to Brgy. Pinagbayanan for the last census. Composed of fishponds, we were able to add a few more birds to the list.

In spite of the continuous rain, I was quite happy with the outcome. I was doing my share for conservation, and along the way, gained confidence in my birding skills, and picked up a few pointers too. My list of lifers expanded as well, but it was the unending stream of information from the birders that made this trip such an enjoyable experience.

Bird List:

1. Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 2
2. Great Egret Ardea alba 34
3. Little Egret Egretta garzetta 28
4. Little Heron (Striated Heron) Butorides striata 9
5. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis x Common
6. Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus 1
7. Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis 1
8. Heron/ Egret/ Bittern sp. Ardeidae sp. 53
9. Northern Pintail Anas acuta 7
10. Philippine Duck Anas luzonica 128
11. Duck sp. Anatidae sp. 12
12. Osprey Pandion haliaetus 1
13. Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus 3
14. Raptor sp. Accipitridae/ Falconidae sp. 1
***15. Blue-breasted Quail Coturnix chinensis 1
16. Barred Rail Gallirallus torquatus 1
17. Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus 3
18. Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 24
19. Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 3
20. Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 4
21. Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis 1
22. Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 7
23. Wader/ Shorebird/ Plover/ Sandpiper sp. Charadriidae/
Scolopacidae sp.31 30 Plover sp, 1 Curlew sp

Non-waterbirds (not included in count)
***Blue-breasted Quail not included in AWC count as well

24. Pompadour Green-Pigeon Treron pompadora 1
25. Pink-necked Green-Pigeon Treron vernans 3 (2 M, 1 F)
26. White-eared Brown-Dove Phapitreron leucotis x HO
27. Spotted Dove (Spotted-necked Dove) Streptopelia chinensis x HO
28. Zebra Dove Geopelia striata 2
29. Red-crested Malkoha (Rough-crested Malkoha) Dasylophus superciliosus 1
30. Philippine Coucal Centropus viridis 2
31. Swift/ Swiftlet sp. Apodidae sp. x Common; 1 Needletail sp.
32. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 1
33. White-collared Kingfisher (Collared Kingfisher) Todirhamphus chloris 8
34. Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus 4
35. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 7
36. Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica x Common
37. Striated Swallow Cecropis striolata 12
38. Pied Triller Lalage nigra 2 (1 M, 1 F)
39. Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier x Common
40. Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis x HO
41. Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos 10
42. Crow sp. Corvus sp. 3
43. Golden-bellied Flyeater (Golden-bellied Gerygone) Gerygone sulphurea 4
44. Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis 1
45. Striated Grassbird Megalurus palustris 3
46. Warbler sp. Syllvidae sp. Tailorbird sp x HO.
47. Mangrove Blue Flycatcher Cyornis rufigastra 1
48. Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica 6
49. Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea 2
50. Wagtail/ Pipit sp. Motacillidae sp x 1 Wagtail sp.
51. White-breasted Wood-swallow Artamus leucorynchus 5
52. Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus 3
53. Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis 6
54. Red-keeled Flowerpecker (Red-striped Flowerpecker) Dicaeum australe 1
55. Pygmy Flowerpecker Dicaeum pygmaeum 3
56. Lowland White-eye Zosterops meyeni 6
57. Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus x Common
58. Chestnut Munia (Black-headed Munia) Lonchura malacca 6
59. Parrotfinch/ Munia sp. Estrildidae sp. 9 Munia sp