Date: June 20,
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Birders: Mike Lu, Mark Villa, Orly Punzalan, LuAnn
Fuentes and Mads Bajarias
Landco personnel: Nela Natividad and 4 other staff
was invited by real-estate property developer, Landco
to come up with a birdwatching activity for the lot
owners of the Leisure Farms in Lemery, Batangas. Leisure
Farms targets the executive turned weekend farmer by
offering substantially larger lots where owners have
the option to turn their lots
opted for afternoon birding for this ocular trip. Our
group of birders arrived at the site at 4:00 pm, stopping
at the Marketing office for some drinks. Mads immediately
spied on the green birds gliding in the gully below
and called out: Bee-eaters! Turned out there was a flock
of BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATERS flying back and forth. Our
van drove downhill and parked by a bridge.
were amazed to discover the whole hillside studded with holes
made by the bee-eaters! Landco's Nela Natividad exclaimed
that we finally solved the mystery for them. They were wondering
what was making the holes on the hillsides in different areas
of their property which even had the engineers perplexed.
I teased her that there might be giant earthworms inside!
Other birds seen in this area included the PIED BUSHCHAT,
WHITE-COLLARED KINGFISHER & the OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRD.
However I learned that Landco intends to enact soil erosion
measures by putting burlap material on the slopes. We fear
that doing so might trap the fledglings inside the holes and
requested them not to resort to such drastic measures for
the meantime. The breeding season might soon be over and the
bee-eaters might leave the area in the next month anyways.
Next stop was the site of the soon-to-be-built clubhouse.
I headed for the ridge to admire the breath-taking scenery.
A BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE was easily seen perched on a leafless
tree. 2 others joined it later. Turning around we saw a few
more birds perched on the electricity lines, SPOTTED DOVES,
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD SWALLOW and STRIATED GRASBSIRD. But best
of all, further down the road a CRESTED SERPENT EAGLE was
perched on a tree giving us good views. We went back to the
van to get nearer to the perched raptor.
As the van rumbled on, one could easily see more blue-talied
bee-eaters by the roadside. Suddenly I saw the raptor flying
overhead and had the driver parked the van. All of us got
off and noticed there were actually 2 Serpent Eagles - one
an adult and another a juvenile, circling low overhead. Out
of nowhere a pair of LARGE-BILLED CROWS passed by. Mads clambered
a steep incline followed by LuAnn and Mark. They reported
2 more crows and probably more on the other side of the valley.
Next stop was the edge of the property where the scenery reminds
me much of Westgrove but magnified many more times. Here we
saw a PIED TRILLER, YELLOW-VENTED BULBULS and a pair of BLUE-THROATED
BEE-EATERS perched up close had the Landco staff ooohing :)
We then proceeded to the place called the "Linear Lake"
It turned out to be a hiking trail carved into the side of
a ravine. It is asphalted and features at least 5 hanging
bridges. The bottom of the ravine though is lined with something
that looks like canvas to trap rainwater. There was not much
rainwater to start with and in the upper slopes it was dry
but in the lower part the water was muddy. I personally believe
it was an ill-advised feature recommended by the landscape
architect. In this area we saw a small flock of LOWLAND WHITE-EYES,
an ELEGANT TIT and the calls of the PHILIPPINE COUCAL. Birding
was difficult and there did not seem to be much bird life.
The sun was starting to set but since there was enoguh birding
light left, I requested to be taken to another ridge. The
lookout point has views of the forest below and the coconut
plantation on the opposite ridge. Birdcalls can be heard coming
from the valley below. I distinctly heard a trilling sound
several time before a pair of PHILIPPINE PYGMY WOODPECKERS
finally showed. A PHILIPPINE COUCAL also made a brief appearance
as it flew above the grasslands.
Over dinner at Dencio's, we started making the birdlist and
was surprised to come up with 22 species in over 1-1/2 hours
of birding time only. I may have no life birds on this trip
but we all agreed that the area holds great promise if we
start early in the morning next time around.
1. Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela - 2, one
adult and one juvenile
2. Spotted Dove Streptopelia striata - 3+
3. Philippine Coucal Centropus viridis - 1+, heard
in different sites
4. Swiftlet sp - 5+, possibly Pygmy and Glossy swiftlets
5. White-collared Kingfisher Halcyon chloris - 3
6. Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis - 2+
7. Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus - 50+
8. Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos maculatus
9. Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica - 1
10. Pied Triller Lalage nigra - 2
11. Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier - 3+
12. Balicassiao Dicrurus balicassus - 1
13. Black-naped Oriole Priolus chinensis - 5+
14. Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos - 4+, more
heard in the valley below
15. Elegant Tit Parus elegans - 1
16. Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata - 4, with 3 male
& 1 female
17. Tawny Grassbird Megalurus timoriensis - 2+
18. Striated Grassbird Megalurus palustris - 1
19. White-breasted Wood-Swallow Artamus leucorynchus
20. Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis - 1
21. Lowland White-Eye Zosterops meyeni - 6+
22. Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus - common