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Amadeo (Cavite) to Nasugbu (Batangas)

Date: March 14, 2003.
Time: 7:30 am - 2:00pm

Sites birded:
1. Balete Falls, Amadeo, Cavite
2. Batulao Forest, Nasugbu, Batangas
3. Evercrest Golf Club, Nasugbu, Batangas
4. Caleruega, Nasugbu, Batangas

Site 1: Amadeo, Cavite
Report prepared by: Mike Lu
Bird list by: Nilo Arribas Jr.
Date: 03/14/2004
Site qualifier: Balete falls, Banay-banay
Time in the field: 0730H-1030H
Weather/environment condition: Sunny with partial cloud covers
Observer: Mike Lu (O), Ann Andres, Nilo Arribas Jr, Ricky de Castro, Jon Hornbuckle
Contact information of observer: myckle@thenet.ph
Equipment used: Bushnell Spotting Scope, 12x50, 8x40

Club member Ricky de Castro invited the Wild Bird Club to conduct a birdwatching activity for members of the Makati-based United Trekkers who are undergoing a Basic Mountain Course in Amadeo, Cavite. I invited Jon Hornbuckle and Nilo Arribas to join us. Nilo's girlfriend, Ann, who is visiting from Cebu also came along.The campsite is located in the far end of a dirt road that cuts through a coffee plantation. A few feet away is a ravine that opens up to reveal a refreshing waterfalls lined with huts for daytime picnickers. The campers have just gotten out of their tents when we arrived so we thought we were going to look around the place first. We followed the trail down to the stream and were dismayed to find out that garbage from the picnickers have accumulated just within sight of the waterfalls. At first only the noisy YELLOW-VENTED BULBULS could be seen until we followed the trail that goes uphill again. A flash of blue revealed a pair of WHITE-THROATED KINGFISHERS. Nilo set up the scope to zero in on the RED-KEELED FLOWERPECKERS across the ravine. While I hiked a bit uphill to see a couple of OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRDS. Suddenly we saw 4 tiny brown birds heading for us and perched on a bush dangling on the edge of the promontory. The first thing I noticed was the white patch on the belly before I realized I was looking at a lifer I thought I would never ever see - WHITE-BELLIED MUNIAS and there were 4 of them! A LARGE-BILLED CROW flew overhead as Ricky called us to join the group. Ricky related that he saw a noisy flock of 4 PHILIPPINE COUCALS atiop a bamboo grove. Halfway downhill we saw some movement in the undergrowth and suddenly the bird came out of the shadows and paused for awhile to let us identify it as a BLACK-NAPED MONARCH. It was getting hot but the mountaineers were attending a mass. We followed a grassy trail from the campsite. Just a few meters in, we startled a large bird that flew to the top of a mango tree. I knew it was a coucal but the sun was in my eyes. Jon Hornbuckle swore it was an all-white PHILIPPINE COUCAL ! Walking further, we encountered SCALY-BREASTED MUNIAS, CHESTNUT MUNIAS & a STRIATED GRASSBIRD.

White coucals. There was no mention of white form or albino coucals in the Kennedy Guidebook but when I discussed this phenomenom with James last year he was not at all surprised having seen a few himself. The club records would show that we have continuosly seen these white coucals in different locations. The first time at Jesuit Novitiate in 2002, one each at Taal lakeshore, Westgrove Hts and Caylabne Bay in 2003, and again Caylabne Bay in 2004. Would any of the more experienced birders comment on these records ?
 
Amadeo Hills
Amadeo Hills

The birdwatching activity with the mountaineers did not push through as it was too late. Instead I just gave a pep talk and invited the mountaineers to join the Ateneo birdwalk next Sunday. Now I was in a dilemma as to where to go ... the birds of Pico de Loro were calling out to me but I guess we should try the Batulao Forest at least once.

BIRD LIST (COMMON NAME / SCIENTIFIC NAME ):

223 Common Emerald Dove [Chalcophaps indica] -1
263 Philippine Coucal [Centropus viridis] -7, 1 White-form Coucal
294 Glossy Swiftlet [Collocalia esculenta] -many
315 White-throated Kingfisher [Halcyon smyrnensis] -2
318 White-collared Kingfisher [Todirhamphus chloris] -2
369 Yellow-vented Bulbul [Pycnonotus goiavier] -many
374 Philippine Bulbul [Ixos philippinus] -4
390 Large-billed Crow [Corvus macrorhynchos] -1
392 Elegant Tit [Parus elegans] -2
427 Pied Bushchat [Saxicola caprata] -2, 1 male and 1 female
451 Striated Grassbird [Megalurus palustris] -1
492 Mangrove Blue Flycatcher [Cyornis rufigastra] -1
519 Brown Shrike [Lanius cristatus] -2
554 Red-keeled Flowerpecker [Dicaeum australe]-2
560 Lowland White-eye [Zosterops meyeni] -1
533 Olive-backed Sunbird [Nectarinia(Cinnyris)jugularis] -2
572 White-bellied Munia [Lonchura leucogastra] -4
574 Scaly-breasted Munia [Lonchura punctulata]-2
575 Chestnut Munia [Lonchura malacca] -2

Site 2: Nasugbu, Batangas
Date: 03/14/2004
Site qualifier: Batulao Forest
Time in the field: 1100H-1215H
Weather / environment condition: Sunny with no cloud cover
Observer: Mike Lu (O), Ann Andres, Nilo Arribas Jr, Jon Hornbuckle
Contact information of observer: myckle@thenet.ph
Equipment Used: Bushnell Spotting Scope, 12x50, 8x40

Along the way to Batulao, Ricky had to attend a family matter and bade goodbye. I am familiar with the location of the Batulao Forest as I remember a hike through the forest when I was boy scout in high school. I parked my car at the entrance to the Evercrest Golf Club and followed Rick's advice to ask permission from the security guards to enter the forest across the street.

It just seemed strange that a community had sprung up beside the highway on the edge of the forest. As sson as we entered the forest, bird calls could be heard in the top canopies. In a clearing, I startled a WHITE-EARED BROWN DOVE.

 

Batulao Valley
Batulao Valley

Without our knowing it, the security guards were following us from behind, keeping at a distance but well within hearing distance. Jon identified the calls of a SPOTTED WOOD-KINGFISHER and a WHITE-BROWED SHAMA. Nilo echoed Todd Pepper's previous comment that the undergrowth had been cleared. There was a dried up stream bed with gnarled roots from the massive trees reaching out to the opposite banks - it looked like a scene from the Lord of the Rings. We paused for a while as Nilo finally located one of the noisy birds - an ELEGANT TIT on the scope. Colasisis were calling from above us but we cannot even see any movement. All of us wore shorts which had the forest mosquitoes feasting on our legs. After an hour of fruitless birding we went back to the highway and saw a small flock of LOWLAND WHITE-EYES and a couple of BROWN SHRIKES by the roadside.

BIRD LIST (COMMON NAME / SCIENTIFIC NAME):

201 White-eared Brown-Dove [Phapitreron leucotis] -1
243 Colasisi [Loriculus philippensis] -heard
319 Spotted Wood-Kingfisher [Actenoides lindsayi] -heard
374 Philippine Bulbul [Ixos philippinus] -heard
392 Elegant Tit [Parus elegans] -1
422 White-browed Shama [Copsychus luzoniensis] -heard
496 Blue-headed Fantail [Rhipidura cyaniceps]-heard
519 Brown Shrike [Lanius cristatus] -3
560 Lowland White-eye [Zosterops meyeni] -7

Site 3: Nasugbu, Batangas
Date: 03/14/2004
Site Qualifier: Evercrest Golf Resort
Time in the field: 1220H-1400H
Weather / environment: Generally sunny with occasional cloud cover
Observer: Mike Lu (O), Ann Andres, Nilo Arribas Jr, Jon Hornbuckle
Contact information of observer: myckle@thenet.ph
Equipment Used: Bushnell Spotting Scope, 12x50, 8x40

The fringes of the golf course is lined with mature dapdap trees crowned with the last of the season's fiery red blossoms. Nilo alerted us to the sounds of the PHILIPPINE PYGMY WOODPECKER above our heads and soon enough the little birdie showed itself. A few trees away was a flurry of activity, my binoculars revealed a female BLUE ROCK THRUSH while perched on the adjacent branch was the more colorful male. All the other birds were only YELLOW-VENTED BULBULS. We had lunch at the clubhouse with a good view of the golf course. Jon pointed out the STRIATED SWALLOWS overhead while a WHITE-COLLARED KINGFISHER made a brief appearance. Conversations over Hainanese chicken, noodles and bangus belly covered wide-ranging topics from birdwatching and the challenges facing the bird club to standard cost of living in the Phils vis-a-vis UK to wedding plans in June or October <guess whose !?!>.

BIRD LIST (COMMON NAME / SCIENTIFIC NAME):

294 Glossy Swiftlet [Collocalia esculenta] -common
318 White-collared Kingfisher [Todirhamphus chloris] -1
334 Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker [Dendrocopos maculatus] -1
349 Barn Swallow [Hirundo rustica] -common
351 Striated Swallow [Hirundo (Cecropis) striolata] -2
369 Yellow-vented Bulbul [Pycnonotus goiavier] -5
429 Blue Rock-Thrush [Monticola solitarius] -2, 1 male and 1 female
451 Striated Grassbird [Megalurus palustris] -1
516 White-breasted Wood-swallow [Artamus leucorynchus] -3

Site 3: Nasugbu, Batangas
Date:
03/14/2004
Site qualifier: Caleruega
Time in the field: 1220H-1400H
Weather / environment condition: Hot mid-afternoon with partial cloud cover
Observers: Mike Lu (O), Ann Andres, Nilo Arribas Jr, Jon Hornbuckle
Contact information of the observer: myckle@thenet.ph
Equipment Used: Bushnell Spotting Scope, 12x50, 8x40

After lunch we had a stop-over at Caleruega, a retreat compound with a church perched on a ridge surrounded by beautiful flower gardens. We walked past the crowd and headed downhill for the camping grounds. A solitary LONG-TAILED SHRIKE showed itself atop a mango tree. There was a section with a steel walkway where one can bird from under the mango trees. I saw 4 OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRDS to the right and right before us a blue bird suddenly appeared. I thought it looked unusually blue and seemed larger than the others I have seen in Pico de Loro but Jon Hornbuckle was convinced it was a PHILIPPINE FAIRY BLUEBIRD. Still it was my first time to see this bird in Caleruega.

BIRD LIST (COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME):

263 Philippine Coucal [Centropus viridis] -6, 1 seen, 5 heard
318 White-collared Kingfisher [Todirhamphus chloris] -1
369 Yellow-vented Bulbul [Pycnonotus goiavier] -4
387 Philippine Fairy-Bluebird [Irena cyanogaster (cyanogastra)] -1
517 Long-tailed Shrike [Lanius schach] -1
533 Olive-backed Sunbird [Nectarinia(Cinnyris)jugularis] -4