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Mt. Makiling

by Mads Bajarias

Date: March 1, 2003
7am - 3pm
Birders: just me
Location: Mt. Makiling (extent: entry from UP Los Baños until the area where sari-sari stores have sprouted halfway to Peak 1)
Weather: humid, cloudless

I started out at 7 am and until 12 am i haven’t seen anything new except for 2 endemic Yellow-wattled bulbuls perched on a heliconia.

The Red-crested malkohas were noisome and showy among the trees near the Forestry Dorm. I also noted that they were quite larger this time. The Malkoha’s constant companion, the Balicassiao was also present.

At around noon, I haven’t seen anything else and I was beginning to feel superstitious. Silly little thoughts crept on me: Should have worn my lucky shirt, my lucky water bottle, my lucky socks, etc., etc. Then I got lucky. Three hairpin turns after the main trail coming from Flatrocks, I veered into a side trail to the left. The side trail is wide enough for a horse to pass through. While following this trail, a birdwave passed through. It sounded like a marketplace on Sundays. Whistles, churckles, hoots and whatnot.

First, Balicassiaos, Red-crested Malkohas, then a single female Rufous-Paradise Flycatcher. In the same area at the same time I also saw Stripe-headed Rhabdornis, Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker, Blue-headed fantail, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Philippine Trogon and Red-bellied Pitta.

A word on the Pitta: While I was chasing (futilely) after the Rufous-Paradise Flycatcher, hoping I might stumble into a male, I saw what looked like a child’s ball drop to the ground. The ball had a bright blue upside and bright red red below. The ball looked at me with eyes on a brown head.

The the ball hopped along. I noticed the Pitta flicking its stubby tail. It saw me but didn’t seem very concerned. I was only 10 feet from it. While I followed the Pitta, I went deeper into the underbrush and was disoriented. I spent half an hour looking for the trail when I stumbled into a stunning Philippine trogon. It was in dense understorey. Absolutely beautiful.

1. Yellow-wattled bulbul. 2
2. Balicassiao. c.20
3. Red-crested malkoha. c.10
4. Red-keeled flowerpecker. c.20
5. Elegant tit. 1
6. Philippine pygmy woodpecker. 6
7. Velvet-fonted nuthatch (yellow-billed). 1
8. Stripe-headed rhabdornis. 5
9. Ashy minivet. 1
10. Arctic warbler. 2
11. Barn swallow. c.10
12. pacific swallow. 1
13. Red-bellied pitta. 1. its colors are wild!
14. Philippine trogon. 1 male. beautiful too!. it was perched on a low branch.
15. Rufous-Paradise Flycatcher. 1 female. A bright orange individual in a sea of green. Absolutely stunning.
16. Philippine bulbul. c.10
17. Olive-backed sunbird. 218. White-breasted woodswallow. 2
19. Crested serpent eagle. 1. It was high over the canopy and yet I could hear its call. I saw this while I was going down at 3:15 pm.
20. Grey-faced buzzard. 1. 3:30 pm. It flew much lower than the CSP and landed on a high branch where it stayed for a few seconds.
21. Blue-headed fantail. 1 Rufous-Paradise and Philippine Trogon