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Starlings at the War Memorials

Date: April 17, 2004
Site: Taguig City (formerly part of Makati City)
Site Qualifier: American War Memorial Cemetery
Time in the field: 1640H-1700H
Weather/Environment Condition: Hot afternoon
Observer: Nilo Arribas Jr (R) Mike Lu
Contact Information of Observer: ph_photo_97@yahoo.com
Equipment Used: 8 x 40 Binoculars

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We are supposed to attend a kite festival sponsored by the Haribon foundation in the Global city area. Since this place is just a stone throw away from the American War Memorial cemetery, Mike decided to explore the memorial in 20 minutes before they close at 5:00PM.

To our surprise, we were able to list a total of 11 species in about 15 minutes birding! However, this is not the most interesting part. Two weeks earlier in the same spot, we were chasing at least three (3) mystery birds that appears to be Chestnut-cheecked Starlings. We only have similar descriptions of these elusive birds then, but with no full view ID.

Imagine the excitement this time, when we were greeted by about 8 Chestnut-cheeked starlings in full view...., and a few minutes later a whole flock of 50+ birds came and perch on one of the trees.

As I was snapping photos of a leafless tree full of starlings (hoping to get a decent shot), another group came, and the perched birds just burst into the sky and joined the rest of more than a hundred birds like a swarm of locusts. Wow, wow, wow... the only words you can hear from us while we prepare to leave the memorial just before closing time.

BIRD LIST (COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME)

105 Barred Rail [Gallirallus torquatus] -3
220 Red Turtle-Dove (Red Collared-Dove) [Streptopelia tranquebarica] -2
male and female
222 Zebra Dove [Geopelia striata] -common
242 Rose-ringed Parakeet [Psittacula krameri] -4
315 White-throated Kingfisher [Halcyon smyrnensis] -1
334 Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker [Dendrocopos maculatus] -1 heard
494 Pied Fantail [Rhipidura javanica] -3 (2 seen flying)
519 Brown Shrike [Lanius cristatus] -3
528 Crested Myna [Acridotheres cristatellus] -1
525 Chestnut-cheeked Starling [Sturnus philippensis] -200+ seen flying
and perched in large flocks
566 Eurasian Tree Sparrow [Passer montanus] -common

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WBCP Records Working Group
The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines

March 2004