news article was featured on the Philippine Daily Inquirer
dated July 19, 2004, p. D-2 and on the website www.INQ7.net.
Posted:11:48 PM (Manila Time) | Jul. 18, 2004
Inquirer News Service
in Manila? Of course, says the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines.
It is one of the most unlikely things that could happen in
pollution-choked Manila, but the club conducts regular and
successfully productive sightings around the city.
unexpected urban surprise spells hope for Manila.
It is hard to believe that a few locations in our
battered city still support nature.
of the sites are abandoned places like the mud flats
in the Roxas Boulevard reclamation area, La Mesa watershed,
and Nayong Pilipino, which has been closed for months
in anticipation of the runway expansion project that
will demolish a major part of the property.
sites are open spaces: the Arroceros Forest Park,
American Cemetery, University of the Philippines-Diliman
campus, and Manila Zoo.
is most surprising is that bird colonies are spotted living
in unlikely places like Kamuning in Quezon City.
president Mike Lu's report to members on their trip to Nayong
Pilipino says it all: "It had been raining earlier in
the morning, but it seemed to have cleared up at 5:30 a.m.
as Nilo and I headed for Nayong Pilipino. The park looked
very green as the grass grew in wild abandon.
Doves littered the road going to the lagoon area, that Nilo
had to warn me not to drive too fast lest we run over them.
The birds were starting the dawn chorus in the midst of a
slight drizzle. We could easily distinguish the calls of the
kingfishers and fantails. Two black birds perched high up
in the Anahaw trees turned out to be Crested Mynahs.
and I headed for the lagoon and set up the scope on the bridge.
A white-breasted Waterhen flew out from the vegetation below,
and everything seemed quiet until we saw a large bird fly
behind the trees.
crossed the bridge to the island which had mounds to simulate
the Chocolate Hills. As I passed under the Ipil-ipil tree,
I heard a loud wok and the rustle of leaves above as a Black-Crowned
Night Heron fled.
It was followed by more birds from the adjacent trees, until
they formed a small flock of 12 birds circling above. I retreated
to the bridge as I remembered it might still be the breeding
season, and I would not want to scare the birds away from
on another sighting at the Manila Zoo, Mike writes: "[After
breakfast] Nilo and I decided to drop by the Manila Zoo to
check out the Night Heron colony.
few years ago, a storm destroyed part of the dome aviary and
some of the Rufous and Black-Crowned Night Herons escaped.
However, the zoo administration sealed the damaged part, effectively
isolating the escapees from the other members of the flock.
The birds decided to stay around the zoo and go out to feed
in Manila Bay when the sun
Rufous Night Herons had bred successfully as can be seen with
the number of sub-adult birds. Nilo and I estimated there
should be at least 40 birds concentrated in the trees around
the aviary and monkey island.
also saw Black-Crowned Night Herons nesting. A flowering tree
attracted the Yellow-Vented Bulbuls and Eurasian Tree Sparrows.
Suddenly we saw a flock of birds that looked liked starlings
some activity on a fire tree in full bloom, we trained our
binoculars and were pleasantly surprised to discover a flock
of Asian Glossy Starlings pecking at the flowers.
Nilo noticed a good number of juveniles among the flock, as
evidenced by the silvery chest with black streaks.
After Intramuros, this is the second site in Metro Manila
where we saw starlings this year. Ann had related though,
that she suspected there was also a resident flock in the
Non-birders can download the Metro Manila Bird Gallery on
the club website, www.birdwatch.ph
to see how the birds look. Check out the website of photographer
Romy Ocon, www.pbase.com/liquidstone,
for pictures of other birds found in Metro Manila and in the
So that the Wild Bird Club can continue its sightings within
the city is another reason for stopping the indiscriminate
felling of urban trees. Trees are not only the lungs of our
city. They are endangered bird habitats.
Interested to sign up? To be acquainted with club activities,
it is essential to join one of their monthly guided tours
are free of charge, but the club rents out binoculars at P50
each. Join the club and the yearly dues include free use of
binoculars, assured space on club trips, and exchange bird
info on the lively e-group.
Reach the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines through e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Bird-watching adds an unexpected, surprising dimension to
life in our city.
E-mail feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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