Left home at 5:15 and passed through Tagaytay,
down through the market.
Weather was extremely windy (SE), though not
Drove along road past Puerto
Azul until came to the forest area. A large truck made us
slow down and I eventually stop to let it go ahead. This proved
to be very lucky.
The initial place we stopped
was for a single Brahminy Kite but when about 4-5 were in
the air ahead we stopped again. Watching them circling in
the heavy gusts we saw a mix of adults and sub-adult bird
well. At this time a Tarictic Hornbill was calling along the
cliffs to the left and I put the scope on it - a young bird
that looked fairly recently fledged. After a few minutes more
birds joined it until there were (it seemed) about 5-10 moving
from tree to tree along the cliff. Suddenly a mass of hornbills
numbering nearly 30 birds burst calling into the air above
the road as a large hawk dove through them.it passed less
than 100 yards away - time enough to see a brown streaked
body, large head and chest, an incredibly long tail and broad
powerful wings. I thought I saw an eye stripe but wasn't certain.
Having hardly had time to
think what this was we had more Brahminy Kites coming down
the road..when suddenly a new bird of prey came straight towards
us about 100 yards up. It was easy to identify a Black Kite.only
the 2nd record ever for the Philippines (the first in Palawan
in 1908 or something). The bird was a classic Kite, shallow
forked tail though not too much white at the base of the primaries
(compared to the birds in Europe) and only a slightly pale
head. I would think it was a 2 year bird.it was also light
in build but this may be just against the other kites and
not having seen one for several years (I will see though if
the asian sub-species is slighter than the european one).
It flew for 2-3 minutes right over us in full sunlight giving
us an excellent view.
Now I went back to the long
tailed bird and within a few seconds had made up my mind.it
was a Northern Goshawk. I just needed to check the size versus
the hornbills, which had seemed about the same.and indeed
they are. A 1st for the Philippines. The tail was almost ridiculously
long and being of this size and build leaves me with no doubt
about the ID even though this isn't a bird I know that well
(I have only seen a handful in europe).
After all this excitement
we were able to catch even more B. Kites and a single Rufous
Bellied Eagle all-swirling around very close over the road.
Calling in the forest to the side were a lot of Hornbills
(this group possibly had 30-50 birds in total - the largest
group have seen in the Philippines), Coleto, Phil Bulbul (v
common indeed), Balicasio, a couple of Stripe Headed Rhabdornis,
a flock of about 15-20 Ashy Minivets and a few other birds
calling including Yellow Bellied Fruit Dove and Barbets.
We then drove on around the
forest and saw even more Hornbills, Bulbuls, a few for Fruit
Doves calling and some other species including Orange Bellied,
Pygmy and Red Keeled Flowerpeckers, Olive Backed Sunbirds,
2 species of Malkoa, Grey Streaked Flycatcher, Arctic Warblers
and Blue Headed Fantail. We also managed to catch good views
of a pair of Flamebacks.
A walk up towards Pico De
Loro produced little new though thee were some small birds
in a forest patch there with a very liquid song that I didn't
know. Could possibly have been one of the Flowerpeckers. Also
got a quick look at a Grey Backed Tailorbird.
Finally returning to the road
we watched a large group of Red Rumped Swallows and the family
party of Falconets on the wires.though the latter's post is
already condemned for replacement by a concrete one (for your
reference it is 1.45 Km from the Petron station after the
Puerto Azul turn-off - easy to photograph). The raptors were
still circling though no sign the rare ones this morning.
One new bird did come around the corner though - extremely
slim winged and long tailed I initially called it a Honey
Buzzard since I couldn't place it. On checking through the
raptors in the book it clearly was a Jergons Baza.a new bird
for me. We didn't see any plumage details but in flight it
was a bit like a small thin-winged Honey Buzzard or a very
slim Grey Faced buzzard. Drove home and got back by about
1.30. A GREAT DAY!!!