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Pigeons and Parrots at Subic Bay

Location: Subic, Zambales
Date:
July 10, 2005
Weather:
Cloudy and slightly drizzling in the morning becoming sunny in the afternoon. 6am-5pm
Birders: Joey Soriano, Patty Adversario, Mads Bajarias, Lu-ann Fuentes, Randel Tria and Rod Mina

Blue-naped Parrots
Blue-naped Parrots

Anyone who thought of birding Subic would definitely think of Hill 394 or Triboa Trail. However I chanced upon a good birding site when I made a wrong turn while driving inside SBMA. Unwary of the wrong turn I made, my attention was caught by the movements of birds on a tree right at the edge of the road. The tree was noted to have very small green fruits,about 30 feet tall, not too shady and a bit open crowned. I went out of the car and to my surprise a group of POMPADOUR GREEN-PIGEONS numbering around twenty plus flew immediately. As I walked nearer the tree more pompadours flew again, numbering again around twenty or more. I stopped and aimed my binoculars on the tree and saw other kinds of birds feasting on the small fruits. Noted were the BLUE-NAPED PARROTS and WHITE-EARED BROWN DOVES unmindful of my presence. Funny were the three

PHILIPPINE FALCONETS chasing the other birds away as they tried to perched near these miniature bullies. This discovery was very much welcomed now with the strict regulation that no one will be allowed to bird Hill 394 without any forest rangers around.

I went back two days after and again saw the flock of pompadours numbering around forties, this time flying low near the bottom section of the forest. What a sight to behold! As if this was not enough, a flock of eight BLUE-NAPED PARROTS encircled above us. That night I texted Patty and informed her of my awesome discovery. A
plan was made to go there on Sunday, July 10, this time with Mads and Lu-ann. The three were early and were already waiting for me near the Subic toll booth. We proceeded immediately at the site.

We arrived early, past 6:00 am. It was still dark, was drizzling lightly and was somewhat muggy. We parked on the road just a few meters away from the legendary tree. Birds were already calling but the famous pompadours were nowhere to be found. Suddenly the place became alive with birds. First to greet were the DOLLAR BIRDS, then the BAR-BELLIED CUCKOO-SHRIKES,followed immediately by the others namely GREEN IMPERIAL-PIGEON, GUAIABERO, COMMON EMERALD-DOVE, WHITE- BREASTED WOOD SWALLOW, RED-CRESTED MALKOHA and REDDISH CUCKOO-DOVE.

Yet the tree seemed quiet. Mads aimed his binoculars on the tree near our feeding tree as he noticed movements among the branches. And lo, the pompadours were there! Mads estimated the number to be nearing forty. They flew by small groups not towards the feeding tree but away from us. They must have been there all along but were intimidated by our presence. Few minutes later, as the sun started to get brighter a GUAIABERO flew directly on the tree above us. It gave a good view for a few minutes then flew away.

Green Imperial-pigeon
Green Imperial-pigeon

Dollarbird
Dollarbird

We trained our binoculars on the feeding tree, still noticeably quiet. Yet unknown to us, BLUE-NAPED PARROTS had already began their morning feeding. We feasted our eyes on the parrots and eventually moved on to find more birds.

Birding was easy as it was mostly on the road with all the good sites highly accesible by car. As the day progressed, we saw raptors mostly BRAHMINY KITES but one gave us a thrill as it turned out to be a BESRA.

Soon we heard the calls of the BLUE-NAPED PARROTS. Appearing on the horizon were six parrots probably scared and flying away from the kites. We kept on walking until the rain started to fall. Then we went back to the feeding tree and saw the parrots still eating and unmindful of our presence. We transferred to a sight where I saw green racket tails on several occasions.

Along the way, we flushed a pair of SPOTTED BUTTON-QUAILS. The area was quiet and fifteen minutes of waiting produced only a pair of pompadour, two WHITE-THROATED KINGFISHER, WHITE-BREASTED WOOD SWALLOWS and swifts. We decided to have our lunch and while biding our time, all four of us- Patty, Mads, Lu-ann and me - had a great exchange of ideas.

Birding in the afternoon became harder as the sun was brighter and the day was warmer. Still, the parrots never left the feeding tree and we've grown so accustomed to them that our attention were swayed by any unusual movements or call. The three decided to stay up to three pm but still no pompadour flocks showed up. Then, they called it a day and drove back home to Manila I guessed satisfied with the number of birds and the number of individuals seen. Still, they dipped on the racquet-tail. I opted to stay and waited for the green racquet-tails to show up. At around five pm, the birds were more active again and few minutes later, the GREEN RACQUET-TAILS made their appearance.However, our birding was cut by a sudden downpour signalling us to hit the road, tired but satisfied.

BIRD LIST:
1. Brahminy Kite- 8
2. Oriental Honeybuzzard- 1
3. Besra- 1
4. Crested Serpent-eagle- 1
5. Red Junglefowl- 1
6. Spotted Buttonquail- 2
7. Barred Rail- 4
8. Pompadour Green-pigeon- 40+
9. White-eared Brown-dove- 4
10. Black-chinned Fruit-dove- Heard Only
11. Green Imperial-pigeon- 30+
12. Reddish Cuckoo-dove- 4
13. Zebra Dove- 10+
14. Common Emerald Dove- 6
15. Guaiabero-10+
16. Blue-naped Parrot - 10+
17. Green Racquet-tail - 2
18. Colasisi- 6
19. Scale-feathered Malkoha- 1
20. Red-crested Malkoha- 5
21. Philippine Coucal- 4
22. Glossy Swiftlet- many
23. Whiskered Treeswift- 8
24. Dollarbird- 5
25. White-throated Kingfisher- 10+
26. Collared Kingfisher- 3
27. Tarictic Hornbill- 3
28. White Bellied Woodpecker- 1
29. Sooty Woodpecker- 2
30. Pacific Swallow- 6
31. Bar-bellied Cuckoo-shrike- 8
32. Blackish Cuckoo-shrike- 4
33. Philippine Bulbul- 4
34. Yellow-vented Bulbul- 2
35. Balicassiao- 2
36. Black-naped Oriole- 2
37. Large-billed Crow- 10+
38. Elegant Tit- 1
39. White-browed Shama- Heard only
40. Philippine Tailorbird- Heard only
41. Rufous Paradise Flycatcher- 1
42. White-breasted Wood-swallow- 12+
43. Crested Mynah- 4
44. Coleto- 2-+
45. Eurasian Tree Sparrow- many