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Sampaloc Lake and Bunot Lake

Location: Sampaloc Lake environs and Bunot Lake
Date: April 7
Time: 5:45 am to 9:00 am
Weather: Mist and clouds in early morning, later with sunny skies and high humidity

by
Ned Liuag and Harvin


In lieu of a hike in the Makiling forest, I decided to take Harvin on another of our rigorous early morning hikes around the lake. We covered five kilometers, two villages and two lakes between 6:45 and 9:00 am.

I added seven new species to my San Pablo list and gained a better understanding of the bird life in the area. The San Lucas I and Concepcion area above Sampaloc Lake was especially alive with birds this morning, but conspicuously there were no egrets or terns in Bunot Lake. The only bird I saw in this lake appeared to be an immature night-heron.

We also heard the same "chuck-chuck-chuck" calls from the resort area beside Sampaloc Lake and in the papaya plantation above the site of the 1970s landslide. This bird could not be located but it might be a coucal.

Of coucals, my barber mentioned that he snared a white morph coucal back in the 1950s in their coconut plantation in San Crispin on the boundary between San Pablo and Alaminos. The village elders said the white morph is the "king of the coucals." Removing its third claw and burying this in your yard with the appropriate oraciones will protect your house from robbers by making it appear less noticeable. He set the "coucal king" free but not after it had paid its fee, of course.

Oriental Magpie-Robin
Oriental Magpie-Robin

Bird List
1. Little Grebe - 12 in Sampaloc Lake, with a pair seen well near the western shore.
2. Grey Heron - 5 standing on dilapidated fish pens with white egrets in Sampaloc Lake
3. Great Egret - at least 2 were observed
4. White Egret species - at least 30, likely to be Little Egrets
5. Little Heron - at least 10 were seen hunting in the floating fish pens or flying across the open water
6. Black-Crowned Night Heron - 1 immature seen flying in the San Lucas I side of Sampaloc Lake
7. Duck species- a flock of 5 flew in among the Little Grebes then quit Sampaloc Lake in a southerly direction. Uniform grayish-brown bodies in flight, with high probability of being Philippine Ducks. These were also seen swimming very fast in an east-west direction in the open water.
8. Black-Winged Stilt - A first for my records anywhere. A pair observed standing still in fish pen with a Great Egret and several smaller unidentified waders.
9. White-Eared Brown Dove - 1 heard calling in stand of bamboo at the top of steps in crater wall in San Lucas I
10. Philippine Coucal - 2 seen, 2 heard in San Lucas I. The first was seen very well in stand of bamboo at top of steps, the second perched high in bamboo stand beside road near the Concepcion-San Lucas boundary marker and flew into coconut plantation.
11. Asian Palm Swift - 5 seen in Sampaloc Lake
12. White-Collared Kingfisher - 1 seen in mango tree in coconut plantation in Concepcion, between road to Nagcarlan and Bunot Lake shore.
13. Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker - At least 2 seen in tree beside San Lucas-Concepcion road several meters from the steps. This species was easily located because of its trills as Harvin and I emerged from the cluster of houses at the edge of the bamboo stand. We observed a female at length as it chased other birds away from the palm and the tree it was feeding in.
14. Striated Swallow - 2 seen between 5:30 am and 6:00 am perched on TV antenna near the IFI church a block from our house.
15. Pacific Swallow - at least 2 in town and around Sampaloc Lake 16. Yellow-Vented Bulbul, a total of 10+ seen in all sites. Of these an individual was seen from the house in neighbor's lychee tree.
17. Elegant Tit - Harvin identified this from the book but the calls approximate the Kennedy description. It was one of several species in the bamboo stand. I was distracted from finding this bird by efforts to reinsert the thong of my flip-flops which had come undone.
18. Oriental Magpie Robin - 1 male seen in coconut plantation in San Lucas, but at least 4 were heard in the bamboo at the top of the steps and in plantations all the way to Concepcion.
19. Golden-Bellied Gerygone (Flyeater) - 2 heard singing, in garden beside Sampaloc Lake and in Concepcion coconut plantation near Bunot Lake
20. Tawny Grassbird - 1 seen in scrub in coconut plantation in San Lucas I where Oriental Magpie Robin and Philippine Coucal were spotted.
21. Brown Shrike - 5 of which two were in San Lucas I plantation in vicinity of Magpie Robin site; and three were in cultivation and gardens in Concepcion
22. Asian Glossy Starling - 4 of which 2 were seen atop their favorite telephone pole south of Laguna College and another pair were seen in tree beside the colonial stairs from Trece Martires street promenade
23. Olive-Backed Sunbird - 3 seen of which one male was in neighbor's yard at dawn and two males were seen singing in madre de cacao tree in plantation near the San Lucas-Concepcion boundary marker. Common and heard in all sites.
24. Red-Keeled Flowerpecker - the first species of the day. 3 seen, with one in the chico tree behind the orchidarium and two in Concepcion gardens near Nanny's house.
25. Lowland White-Eye - Common, but only heard in trees in all sites visited. Only an individual was seen in flight in Concepcion. I spent a quarter of an hour before 6:00 listening to the dawn chorus of the flock roosting in trees in our backyard and neighbor's but failed to see the birds leaving.
26. Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Common in all sites visited.