The official website of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines
The official website of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines

Back to Home

Report from Talim Bay in Lian, Batangas

Date: April 23 to 24, 2003
Weather: Hot and humid conditions
by Annette Tamino

Haven't been birding lately for fun but was able to do it alone during the weekend when I brought my students to the De La Salle Facility in Lian, Batangas. Nothing really spectacular here (in terms of bird life) but the site is a good area to study for environmental stress and for transitions in various environments. It runs from the land to mangrove to seagrass to coral reefs and then open sea. There's a really clean mangal area (mangrove forest) planted five years ago abundant with mudskippers, more than 5 species of mollusks and scorpion lobsters. Heard a WHITE-COLLARED KINGFISHER and a PURPLE HERON calling in this area. After the mangal area is a site for seagrass (16 out of 18 species found in the country occur here) where there are lots of fish, some sea snakes, crabs and shells. The third area is the coral reef. Too bad dynamite fishing and cyanide fishing has not stopped here. But there are lots of terns feeding in the open bay during our first afternoon. I counted at least 15 terns.

Mount Tikbalang, located on the northern part of Talim Bay, rises less than 600 meters above sea level and is mostly rocky scrubland. The locals let their cattle and goats out to graze all the way to the peak. Too bad, the long-term effect of overgrazing is poor soil unable to support enough vegetation. I hiked up the mountain at dawn on Saturday, May 24. The peak proved a good vantage point from where I could observe my students at work. I heard a lot of birdcalls at 6:10 am and saw seven BLACK NAPED ORIOLES at one time! Following a small trail to a dried stream, amidst thickets and thorny bushes, I saw some movement and discovered a PHILIPPINE COUCAL. There were also lots of YELLOW-VENTED BULBULS, I saw more than 10 of these and I agree with the observation by [Philippine Birdwatch e-group member Mads Bajarias that the citified Yellow-Vented Bulbuls tend to be smaller. A solitary WHITE COLLARED KINGFISHER was also lost in the dry thicket along with a PIED FANTAIL.

At 7:00 am it was already very humid and dry. Good thing the sky was getting somewhat overcast and the birds were still out. Also observed a single LONG-TAILED SHRIKE and a pair of PIED BUSCHATS. I considered this the highlight of my birding trip - to see a pair together for the first time. The brown-feathered female was really a large contrast to the black-and-white male. They were singing together and wagging tails, their white rumps were very visible. Also encountered a number of ISLAND SWIFTLETS on the mountain. The only birds I saw at the top were the same Bushchats and three STRIATED GRASS BIRDS. I hiked down at 10:00 am since temperature at noon peaks at 42-45 degrees Celsius. To illustrate, the footwear of one of my students melted.

BIRD LIST (April 23 - 4:30 PM and April 24 - 6:10-10:00 AM)
1. Purple heron - 1 heard in mangrove area
2. Unidentified Terns (Dorsal side: black, boomerang shaped wings, white underside) - 15+
3. White-Collared Kingfisher - 1 seen on mountain, also heard in mangrove area
4. Island Swiftlet- 3+
5. Yellow-Vented Bulbul - 10+
6. Pied Bushchat - 2 (pair)
7. Striated grassbird - 3+
8. Pied Fantail - 1
9. Black-Naped Oriole -7+
10. Long-tailed Shrike — 1