had gotten worse by now. We hailed a passing jeepney
and took a ride back to the car park.
Jonas boosted our morale by suggesting
the Indigo-banded Kingfisher at the Botanical Garden.
Claude's wife and I were forced to give up halfway as
the boulders and rocks along the gully proved quite
demanding and slippery. Much later, the guys appeared
one by one, no cigars, but you could tell some enjoyed
the good workout.
After a quick late lunch just outside
UP-LB where Kim Seng spotted the Lowland White-eye,
Jonas drove us to the buttonquail track to wrap up the
day's birding. Noteworthy sightings at this site included
3-5 Spotted Buttonquails (one seen enjoying a sand bath),
Philippine Coucal, another Red- crested Malkoha, Philippine
Pygmy Woodpecker, a male and female Guaiabero, White-throated
Kingfisher, Bright-capped Cisticola as well as the Striated
and Tawny Grassbirds.
Thank you Jonas and bon voyage! We
hope you will find time to re-visit Asia now and again.
Back at Trees Lodge a Philippine Falconet
and possibly a nesting Coppersmith Barbet decided to
appear on the botak tree much to the delight of someone.
Sat, 2 June
2007 (Half day at Mt Makiling) Hot and humid
We gathered at 6 am. Alex Tiongco, Professor Agerico
M. De Villa, Arnel Telesforo and Felix Servita were
our kind hosts.
With only the morning to spare, we
chose to do the Mud Springs trail. Alex, upon seeing
Jimmy’s 600mm lens and camera offered his car
to take us all the way up to the stalls.
Alex, I am touched by your sincerity. Thanks for your
jovial company and all the best in the Visayas.
Although quiet at times, the Mud Springs trail did not
disappoint with endemics such as the Luzon Hornbill,
Philippine Serpent-Eagle, Red-bellied Pitta (which I
dipped), Grey-backed Tailorbird and the Yellow-bellied
Whistler. As we emerged back at the entrance, we had
sterling views of the vocal Red-crested and Scale-feathered
Malkohas hopping around on a tree by the road.
Soon we merged with the WBCP members
at the stalls. They had seen about 5 Sulphur-billed
Nuthatches and flushed a Luzon Bleeding-heart on the
way up. Sigh!!!!! Prof Geri showed us a good spot behind
the stalls where the Philippine mistletoe is a crowd-puller
for white-eyes, flowerpeckers and sunbirds during fruiting.
As we made our way down in the early
afternoon, we saw Buzzing, Red-keeled and Bicolored
(a male black and white, short stout black bill with
no red or yellowish on belly) Flowerpeckers as well
as the Flaming and Lovely Sunbirds. Most were seen feeding.
At a 'blocked' side trail on the right
towards the shanty, we encountered a small mixed flock
of a pair of Balicassiaos, one Philippine Fairy-Bluebird
(at first, I thought it was an Asian Fairy-Bluebird
because of its red eyes and contrasting blue and black
on its upperparts) and a Coleto, my Phantom of the Opera
Then came the Big Dip … oh yes, Prof
Geri accidentally flushed a pair of Luzon Bleeding-hearts
and we were not right behind him to witness our most
wanted bird - so you can say our hearts bled in unison.
All is not lost for as we walked on; Kim Seng spotted
a Philippine Trogon on an open perch close to the road.
Unfortunately I only caught a glimpse of our friend
as it flew deeper into the forest.
Thanks Prof Geri, for taking care of
us on this leg of our trip. You drove very well in the
heavy traffic. Thanks for the Malkoha feather!
In the evening, Kim Seng gave a colourful
slide presentation cum lecture on some of the 364 species
of birds recorded in Singapore to about 20+ WBCP members.
Free flow of food, drinks and laughter followed after
For introducing us to your members,
for the lovely mementos from your Club, for the good
food and wine, we thank you Mike. Please convey our
thanks to Sudipto Mundle for the use of his palatial
condominium. It was good to chat with Prof Geri and
to have met his wife, Jenny. Ixi, Arnel (hello? remember
'We') & Tintin, Anna Maria, Jon, High Marks, Smart Alex,
Melanie and Alexander Loinaz and everyone else whose
names we have missed out - YOU GUYS ROCK!!!
Sun, 3 June
2007 (Mt Palay Palay/Caylabne Bay Resort) Hot
and cloudy at times
Mike checked into a hotel (with us
last night) which was a 1½-hr drive to Mt Palay Palay.
Coming round the mountain in the morning was so nice
that I dozed off.
The trail was easy. Only there weren't
much shade along the way. We had very good views of
the Blackish Cuckoo-shrike (there were a few around),
a pair of Luzon Hornbills, one Elegant Tit, 3 Philippine
Falconets perched in a row, a pair of Coletos and 2
Colasisis. Sadly we did not see our target bird which
was the Rufous Hornbill. We came across 3 men who had
3-4 wild Red Junglefowls (grey legs) tied to their waists.
They had used their domestic Red Junglefowls as decoys.
In the background, the repetitive drone of a hungry
chainsaw was at work.
Our final stop was at Caylabne Bay
Resort where we hoped to find the Philippine Duck. We
did not see any and had to be contented with a nesting
Black-naped Oriole and an adult Black-naped Monarch
feeding two hungry young and a Coleto by the porch barely
7 metres away from us!
Mike dropped us off at the airport
in good time for our 6 pm flight to Singapore.
In less than 3 days we recorded 36
Philippine endemics and 1 near-endemic out of a total
of 79 species - see full list on next page.
Salamat Mike. We wish WBCP all the
best in your endeavours to raise public awareness about
conservation through birdwatching. Until we meet again,
good birding and take care.