Birding in San Pablo by Ned Liuag
Pablo was rather perplexing bird-wise this weekend. The dry
season had clearly set in, with cloudless skies and high,
dry winds throughout.
birds this weekend were two RED-KEELED FLOWERPECKERS in the
chico tree behind the orchidarium. This species is particularly
attracted to this tree, the branches of which are clustered
with a kind of an aerial plant, the kind that produces berries.
Every time I see these flowerpeckers feeding, they are always
in the act of dropping a bit of green plant material from
brother, two nieces and I hiked around Sampaloc Lake from
4:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon. Our bird walk only turned up
a few birds - five WHISKERED TERNS, 18 PACIFIC SWALLOWS lined
up on a rope, a handful of ASIAN PALM SWIFTS, one BROWN SHRIKE,
five EURASIAN TREE SPARROWS, and one YELLOW WAGTAIL.
waited till sunset for "5:45" to make its appearance, but
the Peregrine Falcon was a no show this afternoon. My mother
did report to me the appearance of a pair of night herons
in the neighborhood last month. One of the pair perched on
a neighbor's TV antenna. The nanny in my brother's employ
confirmed this sighting. Based on their description, I believe
the birds to be Rufous Night Herons, common residents in the
Seven Lakes area, but not known to stray into the city.
proved more productive, with the insistent call of a flowerpecker
rousing me from bed at 6:00 am. From our western room overlooking
the orchard, I spotted the first of two Brown Shrikes that
had taken winter residence there. These two were particularly
noisy and showy this morning unlike during the December holidays.
I spotted the female whose territory includes the orchidarium
at her tree top larder a bit later. She has been successful
in building up her reserves of fat for the flight back to
the Asian mainland, which should take place a few weeks from
observing the female Brown Shrike, I got a good close look
at a single LOWLAND WHITE-EYE in the lanzones tree in the
orchidarium. Shortly after it took off, a flock of four of
this species flew east in the direction of Mount San Cristobal.
Usually the most common species in the neighborhood, Lowland
White-eyes were conspicuously absent around Sampaloc Lake,
where they are quite tame.
the pair of YELLOW-VENTED BULBULS known to keep to the next-door
neighbor's garden has extended their territory into ours.
This pair was observed perching in various trees during the
next three hours. One thing I observed was that the number
and visibility of Tree Sparrows in the yard and surrounding
area has increased since December, when I could only report
did not get to see my favorite Red-Keeled Flowerpeckers as
much as I like today. A single bird zipped past as I started
counting swallows perched on their favorite TV aerial across
from the IFI church. Counted five Pacific Swallows and 18
BARN SWALLOWS, of the latter two belonged to the race saturata
(identified by the cinnamon under parts). An Asian Palm Swift
and an ISLAND SWIFT also made their appearances over the orchard
during this time.
caught sight of a male OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRD perched on another
TV antenna up the street towards the INC chapel and to my
surprise a male ORANGE-BELLIED FLOWERPECKER showed up on the
next-door neighbor's aerial - a new addition to my San Pablo
species list! (The endemic Pygmy and Red-keeled Flowerpeckers
are among the common visitors to our garden here.)
are three birds that I could not identify with certainty.
The first, I spotted on top of the Laguna College Science
Building in the adjoining lot was the size of a Yellow-Vented
Bulbul, with a strong bill and buff under parts. It might
have been an Oriental Reed Warbler.
second bird was seen in the rambutan tree beside the banana
plants, with the behavior and about the size of a Tree Sparrow,
which I think might be an immature Scaly-breasted Munia.
third bird, I am sure is quite unbelievable but I saw it four
times flying above the Laguna College campus with its distinctly
long tail - appeared to be a Wire-tailed Swallow! This species
is not known to reside in the country. According to the photographic
guide by Morten Strange, this swallow is a generally scarce
resident in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and possibly
Cambodia. Until somebody else can actually confirm the appearance
of this species in Luzon, let's put this down in the 2003
bird list as a mutant Barn Swallow.
LIST for ILAYA (unless specified)
1. Whiskered Tern - 5 (Sampaloc
2. Rock Dove - 5
3. Asian Palm Swift - a few (Sampaloc Lake), singles above
4. Island Swift - 1
5. Barn Swallow - 18
6 . Pacific Swallow - 18 (Sampaloc Lake), 5
7. Yellow-Vented Bulbul - 2
8. Yellow Wagtail - 1 (Sampaloc Lake)
9. Brown Shrike - 1 (Sampaloc Lake), 2
10. Olive-backed Sunbird - 1 male
11. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker - 1 male
12. Red-keeled Flowerpecker - 2
13. Lowland White-eye - 4
14. Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Common