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Raptorwatch 2006

Location: Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal
Date: 23 March 2006
Time: 1000H-1500H

Birders: Jon Villasper, Ruben Bala, Anna Gonzales, Pia Belardo & Sean Co


TRIP REPORT:

Ruben, Jon and Anna

"Raptorwatchers Ruben, Jon and Anna"

It's the very first Raptorwatch trip for the year. HOORAY!!!

Thanks to Ruben Bala who had graciously offered his vehicle, gas and softdrinks. The very first group of birdwatchers got to see LOTS OF RAPTORS, WOOHOO!!!

Again...again...RAPTORS, WOOHOO!!!

Hmmm...again...again...RAPTORS, WOOHOO!!!

As planned, we left Robinson's Galleria around 0730H for the Marikina-Infanta Road and got to a good vantage point at 1010H. There was a good amount of cumulus clouds in the sky indicating good pockets of thermals. I trained my bins on one of the larger ones and in a couple of seconds of scanning I got our first raptors. Not much and it immediately dissapeared but as we turned around, a couple of Grey-faced Buzzards were flying and soaring very near and slowly at eye-level. It was so near that we didn't really need binoculars for them! It seemed like they were hunting for breakfast (or was it brunch?)
Grey-faced Buzzard
Grey-faced Buzzard

May I say it once more, please? RAPTORS, WOOHOO!!!

In the middle of shouts and bursts of "Ayun!!!" and "Andami!!!" passing vehicles gave us some dust showers prompting us to move forward and on to Pranjetto Hills (not Pranjetta as previously mentioned) for a better view. There was some road construction going on. Pranjetto was just around the bend as it turned out and the same buzzards were now there. We got on the road to the University of Rizal System campus and found a small clearing a few meters past the lookout point where we sat last year. The wind was strong and the sun was bearable to almost unbearable.

Chinese Goshawks
Chinese Goshawk

The birds came in quite small flocks of 4 to 20 individuals but from time to time we got larger groups. They were mostly Chinese Goshawks and Grey-faced Buzzards. The scope proved to be almost useless except for the slower-moving ones. The birds were VERY FAST when they were not thermalling. Almost bullet -like. It really is a mad dash for home as Arne suggested during the General Assembly.

We decided to stay past lunch so we tried the Univ or Rizal canteen. Using Anna's charms (definitely not her leftist connections...you've probably been tagged anyway, Anna), we pretended to inquire about admissions and seriously inquired for teaching positions. We just realized that if somebody from the club becomes a faculty member of the campus (mainly me for Physical Geography, Anna for Environmental Science and Pia for Textile Technology) we could easily get the campus as a partner in a future raptor survey. No openings. The campus was very nice, though.

We had lunch at Sampaloc in a resto that started with a letter "B". I forgot its name. The fried chicken was nice but the sinigang was so-so. Apparently, they haven't heard of Knorr Sabaw ng Sinigang. Service...let's not talk about the service...

Happy Raptorwatchers
"Happy raptorwatchers (from L-R) Pia, Sean, Ruben,
Jon and Anna"

The restaurant had two four-year-old Hill Mynahs who had a very wide repertoire of sentences and phrases like his favorite nonsense question, "Anong kanin ang pagkain?" Oh, and there's also a Blue-naped Parrot who says a very meek "Hello." The mynahs were so adept at mimicing words that they even picked up a few words from us including "Mike Lu." So Mr. Mike Lu. You are now very well known in Sampaloc. We tried "Wild Bird Club of the Philippines" and "Birdwatch.ph" but I think they had something else to think about at that time.

We came proceeded to the chapel for some more birding at 1400H, mainly to give it one more chance as a raptorwatch site but we can now say that Pranjetto is the best for now. The birds pass almost directly above us at that station. Two GFB's made a very close appearance again just before we called it a birding day. It seemed that these two are roosting somewhere near the place. BTW, we saw 20 birds flying straight and very fast at the chapel but they didn't look like raptors. It had a wider body and the flapping is fast and unraptorlike. Pia called "ducks."

Osprey
Osprey

Anyway...see the list and get your cars volunteered! IT'S RAPTORWATCH TIME!!!


BIRD LIST:

1. Chinese Goshawk (Accipiter soloensis) - 81
2. Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus) - 234
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Members of the WBCP went back on subsequent dates with the following results:

April 2, 2006
1. Osprey Pandion haliaetus - 1
2. Oriental Honeybuzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus - 43
3. Chinese Goshawk Accipiter soloensis - 300+
4. Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus - 46
5. Accipiter sp - 250+
6. Raptor sp. Accipitridae/Falconidae sp. - 550

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April 5, 2006
1.
Oriental Honeybuzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus - 8
2. Chinese Goshawk Accipiter soloensis - 116
3. Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus - 52
4. Raptor sp. Accipitridae/Falconidae sp. - 241

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April 6, 2006
1.
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) - 2
2. Oriental Honeybuzzard (Pernis ptilorhyncus) - 4
3. Chinese Goshawk (Accipiter soloensis) - 169
4. Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus) - 35
5. Raptor sp. (Accipitridae/Falconidae sp.) - 661 (mostly accipiters)

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April 14, 2006
1.
Accipiter sp - 165+, majority are suspected to be Chinese Goshawks