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

The Adventures of Mike, Ned and Jon: Part 2
-caylabne cove and environs-

Yes, A Monkey But It Wasn't Eating An Eagle!
PART TWO of the adventures of Mike, Ned and Jon

Date: December 28, 2003
Time: 12:00 nn to 3:00 pm

We drove to Caylabne Bay resort soon afterwards. Mike easily found for us a pair of WHITE-BREASTED WOODSWALLOWS resting on the telephone wire just past the first guardhouse of the resort. I grumbled that in my rush to leave the house this morning, I'd forgotten to bring a camera. Even a small box camera would do, so we had no mementos of the breath taking seascapes of Fort Drum with its big coastal artillery, Corregidor island and the cliffs surrounding Caylabne Cove. Our position on the cliff allowed us an unobstructed raptor's view of a pair of Brahminy Kites pursuing each other above the waters. Our objective was to hike towards the lagoon where a hundred Philippine Mallards were reported by Romy Santos, a supervisor at the resort. We met him later in the afternoon and received a copy of his bird list.

After hearty lunch at the restaurant beside the boardwalk, where we shared tables and part of the buffet with several bold EURASIAN TREE SPARROWS, the three of us went to find the route to the lagoon. We came across a bunch of ISLAND SWIFTLETS in the parking lot, a beautiful BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE singing from a post in the tennis court and three ASIAN GLOSSY STARLINGS.

As we walked towards the footbridge leading to the private villas, we also spotted two White-Breasted Woodswallows perched in a dead tree nearby. Here, we saw our single OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRD (though we'd been hearing this species in the resort). A Stripe-Headed Rhabdornis and two PHILIPPINE PYGMY WOODPECKERS later showed up and gave us very nice views through the scope.

Our attempt to follow the channel towards the lagoon ended with my shoe deep in the mud and a thorny branch of the aroma bush snapping into Jon's arm. We decided to try another route near the helipads. On our way Jon pointed out the male BLUE ROCK THRUSH flying across the field before it shot into the eaves of the building that housed the locker rooms. As we walked across the field over a dozen ZEBRA DOVES flushed from the burned out section of the area. We couldn't find the path to the lagoon. My guess is that we were only about 20 meters from our position. Mike left us to get the car while Jon and I went up the road, occasionally pausing to watch the kites in the vicinity of the Administration Building.


Jon had gone farther up while I was washing the mud off my shoes so he missed the pair of Red-Crested Malkohas moving on the side of the road. We stopped at the junction near the bridge across the creek. Here we counted more than 70 PACIFIC SWALLOWS perched on wires or swooping low across the road. Across the field, we counted a colony consisting of at least 20 BLUE-THROATED BEE-EATERS flying from trees to pursue insect prey. A pair of CINAMMON BITTERNS flushed from the vegetation in the small pond near the resort employee housing. A flock of Philippine Bulbuls were raising a racket in the thicket beside the creek while more Bee-eaters were singing in the trees near one of the houses.

Romy Santos drove up on his motorcycle while we returned to birding at the junction. It turned out he had been waiting for our arrival but had not been informed by the office about our inquiries. He had his list on hand and Mike pointed out the bee-eater colony as an addition. He also said that we'd missed the trailhead to the lagoon. It was the overgrown trail near the burned section of the field back of the beach. Romy mentioned that at first there were only about a dozen ducks a few years ago. These would congregate in the protected lagoon for the night. We learned that the ducks usually arrived by mid to late afternoon. The population, Romy observed, has risen to about a hundred birds.


While Mike and Romy were conversing, Jon pointed to me a Brahminy Kite flying behind them at tree top level. Later, we went to the bridge across the creek that fed into the lagoon. This was where Mike had seen the albino Coucal on a previous trip. It didn't show but we added a second White-Throated Kingfisher to our list. We piled back into the car at 3:00 pm. On the drive up, we came across a Long-tailed Macaque foraging by the roadside.

We decided to pull up by the sign that said Monkey Eating Eagle View point for a last look at the cove. We should do something about that sign, Jon said. Yes, we quipped. We did see a monkey. But it wasn't eating any eagles i.e. Brahminys aka Black-and-Red Eagle-Kites. We want our money back!

No other birds on the way to the exit, except three White-Breasted Woodswallows on the wire again.

Caylabne BIRD LIST:
1. Cinammon Bittern - 2 in pond near employee housing
2. Brahminy Kite - 9+
3. Zebra Dove - flock of 12+
4. Red-Crested Malkoha - 2 in wood near Administration Building
5. Island Swiftlet - 6+
6. White-throated Kingfisher - 1
7. Blue-throated Bee-eater - Colony of 20+
8. Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker - 2
9. Pacific Swallows - concentration of 70+ near employee housing
10. Yellow-Vented Bulbul - 2
11. Philippine Bulbul - several in thickets near employee housing
12. Black-Naped Oriole - 1 in tennis court
13. Stripe-headed Rhabdornis - 1
14. Blue Rock Thrush - 1 male
15. White-Breasted Woodswallow - at least 5
16. Brown Shrike - 1
17. Asian Glossy Starling - 3
18. Olive-backed Sunbird - 1 seen, though heard throughout the resort
19. Eurasian Tree Sparrow - 6+ picking at serving spoons in restaurant EN ROUTE TO MANILA Somewhere in Ternate, we had the driver pull up by the road so we could have a long look at three CATTLE EGRETS and an INTERMEDIATE EGRET feeding in the western rice paddies.

The rest of the way to Las Piñas, we added nine white egrets and dozens of WHISKERED TERNS in the salt pans, fishponds and waterways.

1. Intermediate Egret - 1 in Ternate rice paddy
2. Cattle Egret - group of 3 near previous species
3. White Egret species - 9 probably Intermediates
4. Whiskered Tern - 100+ total
5. Barn Swallow - 4