Date: May 23, 2004
Location: Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas
Birding Time: 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Birders: Orly Punzalan, Mark Villa, Mike
Lu, Ipat Luna, Jerel Luna and Manna Luna
Trip report: Ipat Luna
Birdlist: Mark Villa and Mike Lu
It rained hard all morning in Manila and everyone there was
assuming that the bird trip was off, but Mike made a call
to Lipa where the weather was perfect. So, the three birders
from Manila set off to meet the group from the Lipa end of
the Southern Tagalog Access Road (STAR) Tollway.
proceeded to Mataas Na Kahoy and went down the road
to San Sebastian and Kinalaglagan where after some
15 minutes, we were greeted by spectacular views of the lake
after a fresh rain. We parked at a basketball court in Kinalaglagan
where Pacific Swallows were flying around and nesting on the
porch of one of the houses.
around the lake are still called by names as if they belonged
to someone or to something. There is Kay Santol,
(Belongs to Santol) and best of all, Kay Tikbalang
(Belongs to Tikbalang, a mythical half man half horse).
took the boat and proceeded to Kay Tukil (Belongs
to Tukil, a bamboo fish trap) where we had afternoon
snacks of bibingka, very orange "piko"
mangoes, suman and kalamay here. We sat
on a shed on stilts right on the water and watched for the
Pacific Swallows, about five, were nesting in a small crevice
right on the shore. The vegetation was primarily agricultural,
but the ficus tree was fruiting and a Lowland White-E ye and
Yellow-vented Bulbuls were enjoying themselves. An Elegant
Tit flitted about a tamarind tree above the rock outcropping
and Blue-Tailed Bee Eaters were flying about.
went up the rock to see if we could see more birds but if
there were any, they must have been scared off by the four
rather large dogs of Ka Willy, the caretaker. Ka Willy has
a Kennedy guide and reported seeing red-crested malkohas in
the morning, as well as owls and nightjars in several instances.
1. Black-crowned Night Heron Nyctocorax
nycticorax - 1
2. White-collared Kingfisher Halcyon
chloris - heard only
3. Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus
4. Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica
5. Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier
6. Elegant Tit Parus elegans - 1
7. Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis
- 1, male
8. Lowland White-eye Zosterops meyeni
9. Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
We took the boat again and passed a tree from which several
immature Black Crowned Night Herons took off. As we circled
the offshore fish cages of tilapia of Lumang Lipa,
Mataas na Kahoy, we saw at least 200 of these birds.
They were either flying above or perched on the bamboo floaters
of the fish cages. Surprisingly, more than half of them seemed
to be juveniles. A few of them were helping themselves to
the fish and we watched them eat. We asked the boatman if
these birds were caught as pets or for food. He said although
they were hard to catch, they were sometimes caught, and made
very good adobo. But these birds also reproduce quite fast.
1. Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax
nycticorax - 200+
We passed Lumang Lipa where the human population
is less dense. Going past the old fish wharf of Barangay Halang,
we reached Tagbakin, a sitio of Halang,
which is believed to be where the first datus landed
when they first settled in Batangas.
was a cove on the boundary of Calumayin in Cuenca,
and Tagbakin in Lipa where the land near the shore
rose steeply, but not quite as steeply as Mt. Makulot.
Had we gone further to the nest cove, it would have been right
below the Rockies of Mt. Makulot. We decided to stop
the outboard engine from the far end of the cove and paddled
was difficult to use the bins from a boat, so we docked and
trekked up. Many calls were heard, but the birds were not
to be seen. Mike would rather see from a boat (and risk losing
his bibingka later) than hear calls from land, so
we rode again. As we neared a shore on a particularly serene
sub-cove, we saw a bright-colored king fisher on a rock and
didn’t seem too disturbed by our presence. We all got
a close look. It had a bright blue hue like that of the indigo-banded
kingfisher, but it had a white spot, so Mark said it must
be a breeding Common Kingfisher.
bird flew just behind our boat and landed on the beach, and
we chorused "wagtail!" and it did just that. On
some driftwood floating on the water, perched a Pacific Swallow.
were two instances of a Balicassiao chasing night herons.
We couldn't believe it at first, but the second instance confirmed
that we weren't just too seasick. On a high branch against
the light, was the unmistakable shape and color (to Mike,
at least) of an Oriental Magpie Robin.
surprise of the afternoon was when our boatman screamed "Matsing!"
Fortunately, no one felt alluded to, especially when everyone
turned to him and saw him pointing to moving branches up the
slope. Indeed, a band of about 10 monkeys, many of them young,
were hanging onto tree branches.
fisherman on a raft, the only other person in the cove, said
the monkeys sometimes come down to the lake to drink, and
no one bothered them. Our boatman who grew up there had never
seen monkeys in the area before.
1. Striated Heron Butorides striatus
2. Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax
nycticorax - 5+
3. Philippine Hawk-cuckoo Cuculus pectoralis
- heard only
4. Philippine Coucal Centropus viridis
- heard only
5. Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta
6. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
7. White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis -
8. Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala
- heard only
9. Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica
10. Philippine Bulbul Hypsipetes philippinus
- heard only
11. Balicassiao Dicrurus balicassius
12. Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis
13. Oriental Magpie-robin Copsychus saularis
14. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
1. Philippine Macaque - Macacca fascicularis
was getting dark and after the monkeys, we felt the birds
had gone hiding. We proceeded back to Kinalaglagan
and onto Lipa Grill where we had Ampalaya at Hipon
sa gata, Crispy Fried Chicken and Sinigang na Maya-maya.