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Station1-6, Maria Makiling National Park

Location: Maria Makiling National Park, Los Banos
Weather: Sunny and Partly cloudy
Time: 7.30am-2pm
Birders: Nilo Arribas, Jr and Patty Adversario

Trip Report and Bird List: Patty Adversario
Documentation (Pictures): Nilo Arribas, Jr

Since the Aseana birding was going to be cancelled, we thought we'd go to Makiling for the weekend. The prospect of letting good weather on a weekend pass us by was too good to waste.

We lingered for a while behind the TREES guest lodge where the car was parked. There was a platform that gave a good view of the treetops that grew from the slope below the lodge. We spotted a pair of Balicassiao flitting among the branches.

We started our leisurely climb to Station 2, and allowed noisy groups of weekend picnickers --some carrying loud radios -- pass us by. We won't be able to see any birds if we walked with them. I'm glad we took our time. A few paces ahead, we saw a pair of Philippine Falconets perched on a tree just slightly above eye level (maybe lower for Nilo because Im smaller). We spent about 15 minutes just ogling at the pair, and they obliged us by not moving from their perch. Around us, we heard the cackle of Philippine Bulbuls and the hoot of a Black- Chinned Fruit Dove.

Further up at Station 3, just before entering the wooded portion of a mahogany plantation, we suddenly saw a raptor glide toward us. It pierced the air with a loud wheew-wheew as it flew right above us --TWICE --before soaring towards the other end of the mountain. We couldn't figure out what it was on field, but Nilo's pictures which showed the raptor's distinct white band spanning its wings gave it away. It was a Crested Serpent-Eagle.

At Station 4, Nilo saw a pair of Philippine Tailorbirds (a lifer for him) and a Red-crested Malkoha. They flitted about the trees and were very elusive. We also heard the Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker, saw Olive-backed Sunbirds, and a Red-Keeled Flowerpecker feeding from the flowers of a tree.

We stopped for about five minutes at Station 6 and decided to make a slow trip back down to make it back to the city by 4pm. Coming down, we kept hearing the familiar tonk-tonk-tonk of the Coppersmith Barbet, but didn't see any.

At Station 5, we saw a pair of Bar-Bellied Cuckoo Shrikes. Exactly at 12:01, we spotted the long-awaited Philippine Trogon in clear view. The light was good, and it showed off the trogons' beautiful yellow. We were ogling at it for about five minutes, and could have stood there much longer were it not for a noisy group of picnickers (again) that was coming up the road. In a few minutes, the gorgeous bird was gone.

We later spotted a nesting pair of Elegant Tits that had made their home in the hollow arm of a tree. A noisy Philippine Bulbul finally made an appearance, and obliged by staying put on a branch for about 5 minutes. It wasn't really a plain-looking dull brown bird as pictures in the field guide showed. In good light, its color, especially around the neck, was a beautiful russet brown.

Suddenly, we saw another raptor emerge from the trees above us. Once again, we couldn't identify it on field, but Nilo's pictures of the raptor's flight silhouette helped. Distinct features of the Oriental Honey-Buzzard's were its long wings and tail. Its tail was closed while in flight, and the dark tail had a broad white bar.

We were still talking excitedly about our second raptor when Nilo made a sign to be quiet as he pointed to a White-Browed Shama perched on a bush by the roadside. It didn't stay long and swooped down the slope when it heard more people coming up.

We were back down at the platform hoping to see more malkohas, but our surprise treat was the Spotted Wood Kingfisher. We nearly missed it because it didn't call. It was silently perched on a tree near the kitchen, unmindful of the racket from the kitchen helpers who were having a break. We spent about 15 minutes just admiring its beautiful colors. I even had time to draw it, while Nilo kept firing away at his camera and used up a whole roll of film. Definitely, not bad for a day's birding even if the trek was just halfway up to Maria Makiling.

  • Oriental Honey-Buzzard (Crested Honey-Buzzard) Pernis ptilorhynchus - 1
  • Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela --1
  • Phil falconet Microhierax erythrogenys -2
  • Black-chinned fruit-dove Ptilinopus leclancheri - HO
  • Red-crested Malkoha Phaenicophaeus superciliosus - 1
  • Philippine Trogon Harpactes ardens - 1
  • Spotted Wood Kingfisher Actenoides lindsayi - 1
  • Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima Haemacephala - HO
  • Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos maculates - HO
  • Elegant Tit Parus elegans - 2
  • Bar-bellied Cuckoo Shrike Coracina Striata- 2
  • Phil bulbul Hypsipetes philippinus - 2, more HO
  • Balicassiao Dicrurus balicassius -2
  • White-browed Shama Copsychus Luzoniensis-1
  • Phil tailorbird Orthotomus castaneiceps - 2
  • Olive-backed sunbird Nectarinia jugularis - 4, more HO
  • Red-keeled flowerpecker Dicaeum australe - 1, more HO