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Roughing It Up in Tibanglan

Location: Tibanglan, Kalayaan, Laguna
Date: August 20-21, 2004
Birders: Mads Bajarias,Carl Oliveros, Lala Espanola, Nilo Arribas, Liza Dans, & Mark Villa
Trip report & birdlist by Mark Villa

Last August 20, Madz, Carl, Lala, Nilo, Liza Dans and I took the bus to Tibanglan, which is located the southern most foothills of Sierra Madre. Liza met us somewhere in Sta. Cruz, Laguna where we took 2 jeepney rides to get to San Antonio in Kalayaan, Laguna.

We arrived 11 am and started hiking up to the hut. Along the way, we were met by carabaos pulling 3 to 5 logs each, apparently coming from what's left of the forest above. It was a long and hot hike. We passed through big ricefields, muddy terrain, and steep slopes. When we arrived at the top, we were hungry and tired. We stayed at Liza Dans' hut where she served fish from her fishponds. The place falls within the municipality of Paete, Laguna.

Blue-headed Fantail

Blue-headed Fantail


Elegant Tit

Elegant Tit

We had our rest for a while and at about 3 pm, we started to go about our business and birded. We were assisted by a guide, Zaldy, who was a former illegal logger. We went inside the secondary forest, noticing that the trees left standing were quite thin ones. It was quiet but then a group of small birds comprising of Blue-headed Fantails, Yellow Bellied-whistler, Elegant Tit, Lemon-throated Leaf-warblers broke up the silence. We were in search for the reported frogmouth seen there before, but we had no such luck. Instead, we saw a Dollarbird, perched on a branchless tree. It stayed there for quite some time, not minding anyone passing below it. We also went to a lake and watched Glossy Swiftlets skim the water for insects or a drink. On a rock farther ahead rested an Indigo-banded Kingfisher.


That night, we tried our hand in owling. A Philippine nightjar gave us good views. We think we heard owls responded to our playback. We suffered insect bites but it was tolerable. Later in the evening, we also did a bit of herping, Lala caught a small snake and we took photos of it. We also found a lone frog amidst all the frog calls. Lala heard the characteristic eerie call of the Philippine Eagle-Owl and the "barking" call of the Philippine Hawk-Owl while bathing in the freezing river just a few meters downhill from the hut. The owls seemed very far. All the guys were asleep by then since it was past midnight.The next day, we woke up early in the morning to bird a bit more. We went to Liza's hut to see what's in that area. Carl saw White-breasted Water-hens in the nearby ricefields. White-throated Kingfishers were common, doves flew above us and a Philippine-Cuckoo Dove darted into the forest. Inside the forest, the same group of birds showed up but this time with a Grey-backed Tailorbird. We have been hearing it all the time but at last it showed up even just for a second.

We went back to the hut to rest before heading back. Just outside the hut we had lots of white-eyes and Emerald Doves. We had our lunch, took a siesta and hiked back down again to meet more carabaos (one was an albino). We enjoyed the trip and hope to come back again for the raptors and frogmouth.

Olive-backed Sunbird

Olive-backed Sunbird

Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker

Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker

Tibanglan BIRD LIST:
1.Cinnamon Bittern, Ixobrychus cinnamomeus-- 1
2.White-breasted Waterhen, Amaurornis phoenicurus--3
3.White-eared Brown-Dove, Phapitreron leucotis-- (1)
4.Philippine Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia tenuirostris--1
5.Red Turtle-Dove, Streptopelia tranquebarica--3
6.Common Emerald Dove, Chalcophaps indica--2
7.Turtle-Dove sp, Streptopelia sp--7
8.Colasisi, Loriculus philippensis-- (1)
9.Red-crested Malkoha, Dasylophus superciliosus--2
10.Philippine Coucal, Centropus viridis--1
11.Philippine Eagle-Owl, Bubo philippensis-- (1)
12.Philippine Hawk-Owl, Ninox philippensis-- (1)
13.Great Eared Nightjar, Eurostopodus macrotis-- (1)
14.Philippine Nightjar, Caprimulgus manillensis--1
15.Island Swiflet (Uniform Swiftlet), Aerodramus vanikorensis--some
16.Glossy Swiftlet, Collocalia esculenta--many
17.Pygmy Swiftlet, Collocalia troglodytes--many
18.Dollarbird, Eurystomus orientalis--1
19.Indigo-banded Kingfisher, Alcedo cyanopectus--1
20.White-throated Kingfisher, Halcyon smyrnensis--common
21.Spotted Wood-Kingfisher, Actenoides lindsayi-- (1)
22.Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker, Dendrocopos maculatus-- (1)
23.Yellow-vented Bulbul, Pycnonotus goiavier--10+
24.Philippine Bulbul, Ixos philippinus--2,more heard
25.Balicassiao, Dicrurus balicassius--2
26.Large-billed Crow, Corvus macrorhynchos--3
27.Elegant Tit, Parus elegans--1
28.White-browed Shama, Copsychus luzoniensis-- (1)
29.Lemon-throated Leaf-Warbler, Phylloscopus cebuensis--2
30.Grey-backed Tailorbird, Orthotomus derbianus-- (common)heard
31.Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, Cyornis rufigastra--1
32.Blue-headed Fantail, Rhipidura cyaniceps--3
33.Yellow-bellied Whistler, Pachycephala philippinensis--1+
34.Long-tailed Shrike,Lanius schach--1
35.Olive-backed Sunbird, Cinnyris jugularis--1 male
36.Purple-throated Sunbird, Leptocoma sperata--1
37.Sunbird sp.,Aethopyga sp--1 female (olive or purple)
38.Lowland White-eye, Zosterops meyeni--many
39.White-eye sp - many, probably Yellowish White-eye