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