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November – December 2019 Roundup of Activities

by Mike Lu

November 1-3 – 1st Korean Bird Fair

WBCP Execom members Willem van de Ven and Mike Lu represented the Club at the 1st Korean Bird Fair in Namhae (Korea).  Organized by the Gyeongsangnamdo Ramsar Environmental Foundation, the fair was held at the Namhae Exile Literature Museum grounds and participated by organizations from Cambodia, Taiwan, Australia as well as various local organizations.   The fair also included an international symposium on promoting birdwatching tourism and as well as birdwatching trips in the vicinity of Namhae and the Suncheon Bay wetland protected area.

Willem van de Ven responding to queries from students at the WBCP stand
Mike Lu giving a presentation during the international symposium

November 2-3 – 19th Japan Bird Fair

Fresh faces represented WBCP at the 19th Japan Bird Fair this year. Harry and Neth Miller, with Tin Telesforo, all first-timers, raised the WBCP banner at the JBF on 02-03 November 2019. Held annually by the picturesque Teganuma Lake, the JBF is one of the biggest international events in Abiko City, Chiba. It attracts birding enthusiasts, nature photographers, conservationists, and artists from Asia and beyond.

Harry and Neth Miller, with Tin Telesforo, all JBF first-timers, raised the WBCP banner at this year’s JBF.
Tin and Neth with Michiko, the very able volunteer translator at the Philippine booth every year.

November 10 – Club trip in Masantol, Pampanga

In preparation for the coming January 2020 AWC a club was organized to practice on the waterbirds on the East Bank of the Pampanga River. The tides were not cooperative but had a good share of plovers, stints,terns and sandpipers. A surprise appearance of a Pheasant tailed Jacana along the Calumpit provincial road on the way back to NLEX was a real reward for this Sunday. Looking forward to organizing more exploratory trips in search of waterbirds can be done before January 2020 

WBCP members led by VP Tinggay Cinco pose for a group photo

November 15 – Presentation at Philippine Science High School

In line with the Annual Humanities Festival of the Phil. Science High School, the Wild Bird Club of the Phil. was invited to give a presentation complemented by a birdwatching trip for 28 students from Grades 7 & 8. The event was geared towards the enhancement of   learning values-such as appreciation for nature, recreation – outside the students’ classroom experience. This annual celebration of the Humanities Festival complements the scientific training of students and nourish the humanistic aspects of their life. WBCP volunteers Tinggay Cinco, Dette Devencia, Gwen So, Riza Herrera and Cathy Mendoza together made this learning experience a complete success.  

Dette de Vencia, Tinggay Cinco, and Gwen So with the PISAY students
Tinggay Cinco presenting the East Asian Australasian Flyway

November 16 – Guided trip for Asian Institute of Tourism

Students of Asian Institute of Tourism’s Tour 117 on Ecotourism picked the the Las Pinas Paranaque Wetland Park as the site for their OCLA (Out of Classroom Learning Activity).  With the migration season in full swing, the Club has been receiving more and more requests for guided trips at the LPPWP.  Lead Jops Josef and other volunteer guides from the WBCP went to the site an hour before the guided trip for birdwatching and saw what may possibly be Northern Boobok.   

Lead guide Jops Josef and other WBCP volunteer guides pose for a group picture with the AIT students. 

November 19 – Guided trip for Raya School

Thirty four Grade 4 Raya School students trooped into the UP Institute of Biology parking lot, accompanied by 4 teachers, eager for their guided bird walk.  Their avian adventure, began at 6:15 am was held around the UP College of Science oval and ended up at the UP Marine Science Institute parking lot. These young enthusiasts were so engaged in their search for the birds and get excited as each bird was spotted. Each of them could shout out their favorite lifer (and hopefully spark bird?) when asked at the end of the activity: the Long-tailed Shrike! Coppersmith Barbet! Phil. Pygmy Woodpecker! Yellow-vented Bulbul!  The team of volunteer bird guides was headed by Riza Melicor, with the rest consisting of Gwen So, Gabbi Reyes, Dette de Venecia, and Russel Corcino.  

WBCP volunteers pointing out the birds
Group photo with WBCP volunteers

November 20-21 – Green and Wild Expo

WBCP was invited to the 1st Green and Wild Expo 2019 at the SM Aura on November 20 and 21. We had a booth along with other NGOs such as Katala Foundation, Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. (MBCFI), Haribon Foundation, Philippine Eagle Foundation, Wetlands International, and Greenpeace. The 2-day event included a large gallery of bird photos with a contest, bird paintings, and bird-themed artworks where painted cloths were added to bird photos. WBCP past president Willem van de Ven gave a lecture on birds of the Philippines and beginners birdwatching. There were also lectures on bird photography and showings of the Bird of Prey movie.

Bayani Barcenas,  Arnel Telesforo, Willem van de Ven were some of the members who volunteered to man the WBCP booth
Willem van de Ven gave a presentation on birds and birdwatching. 

November 29 – Club trip with Hendriks and Tere Pascal

Ever since the WBCP started, we have always welcomed visiting birders to join our club trips.  Hence when visiting Dutch birder Hendriks Pascal and his Filipina wife Tere asked about how to get to the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park, club members readily invited them to join the scheduled club trip to see the migratory wetland birds at the park.

December 6 – Ocular trip to Bulacan

WBCP represented by Mike Lu joined a media tour organized by NGO Oceana to Barangay Taliptip in Bulacan where the proposed New Manila International Airport is planned to be built.  The area was originally a mangrove forest that was cleared to make fishponds.  Due to storm surges and land subsidence in the last ten years, the fishponds have been destroyed and a whole town abandoned.  The area is also host to a good number of migratory birds which will pose a high risk for bird strikes should the airport be built there.     

Old growth mangroves have been cut down recently.
More than a thousand water birds were seen during the ocular trip

December 8 – Club trip to Infanta

Situated in the mid-Sierra Madres, easy birding by the roadside with high chances of seeing mountain endemics continues to attract birders to the Marilaque Highway in Infanta (Quezon Province) despite its distance from Metro Manila. On this club trip, members found their target Rufous Hornbills, a rare sighting of the Crested Honey Buzzard as well as 15 other species. 

Club members (L-R) Allan Fernando, Gwen So, Jasmin Meren, Enrico Legaspi, Ramon Gayas, Cheta Chua and Tristan Mirasol

December 13 – Balanga Wetland and Nature Park Development Council Meeting

The Balanga Wetland and Nature Park Development Council chaired by City Mayor Francis Anthony S. Garcia convened at Midori Clark Hotel and Casino, Clark Freeport Zone.

With the assistance of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) through the Mount Samat Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone (FTEZ), Administrator Mr. Francis Theodore B. Initorio discussed Republic Act No. 11365, or the “Balanga Wetland and Nature Park Responsible Ecotourism Act” authored by 2nd District Representative Jose Enrique Garcia III, and sponsored in the Senate by Senator Cynthia Villar.Through the Council and in consultation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Tourism (DOT), formulation of Implementing Rules and Regulations is set early next year.

On behalf of the WBCP, Mike Lu joined the council meeting with representatives of the Balanga LGU, the Bataan Provincial government, the Department of Tourism, the DENR=Biodiversity Management Bureau and the Department of Public Works and Highways.  

Group photo of council members
Mayor Francis Garcia

December 14 – Urban Biodiversity Fair @ Arroceros Forest Park

First launched in General Santos City in June, the Urban Biodiversity Fair was held at the Arroceros Forest Park for students belonging to high schools in Manila.  The fair has three learning stations namely, birdwatching, tree walk and lectures.  WBCP volunteers manned the learning stations for more than 100 students and science advisers took part in the fair.  This activity was sponsored by the Team Energy Foundation and held in partnership with the Department of Education-Manila.  DepEd Undersecretary Alain del Pascua concluded the fair by sharing his experience as a birdwatcher and suggested a formal partnership between the WBCP and DepEd Manila to hold the fair on an annual basis at the park.  

Jasmin Meren giving a mini-lecture on bird nesting sites.
Students birdwatching by the Pasig River banks

December 27-28, Mt Palay-Palay

Club Secretary Bayani Barcenas participated in a 2-day biodiversity monitoring activity organized by the Mt. Palay-Palay PAMB and led by DLSU professor Dr. Rolando Lagat. A number of species was recorded including Besra, Philippine Trogon, and Philippine Falconet among other Luzon forest species.

The waterfalls where Yani sighted a second Philippine Trogon
The Philippine Falconet used to be a commonly-seen forest species in Mt Palay-Palay.

December 29 – Club trip at La Mesa Ecopark

Club members led by Maia Tanedo organized a trip to the La Mesa Ecopark where the Club used to conduct guided trips for the general public. The Ecopark is a popular recreational site for city folks, yet forest birds have been showing up every now and then. Some of the forest species seen that morning included Hooded Pitta, Black-Chinned Fruit Dove, Indigo-banded Kingfisher, and Ashy Thrush. The Club hopes to work with the park authorities to create restricted zones within the park to cause the least disturbance to the birds.

Club members (L-R) Vincent Alinan, Djop Tabaranza, Maia Tanedo, Mike Lu, Leni Sutcliffe, and Susie Gavinio
White-eared Brown Dove, one of the Philippine endemics seen during the trip

December 30 – Club trip to Naic wetlands

The last club trip of the year was a visit to the wetlands in Naic where Philippine Ducks have been recorded earlier in the year. The wetlands/grasslands/abandoned fishponds occupy a narrow strip of land between residential areas and the beach fronting Manila Bay. Close to 30 species, mostly water birds, were recorded that morning including Philippine Duck, Brahminy Kite, Blue-tailed Bee-eater and a new site record, Pink-necked Green Pigeon.

A new site record, Pink-necked Green Pigeon, female shown in photo.
Grasslands, reedbeds, abandoned fishponds and the beach provided different habitats for diverse species of birds.

December 31 – Ocular trip to Manila Zoo

The Club requested an ocular trip to the Manila Zoo to gather records of the wild birds found in this urban oasis, in particular to check on the breeding colony of Rufous Night Herons. The zoo has been closed for almost a year due to problems with sewage treatment. A list of wild bird species was provided to the zoo and offer to conduct guided trips and other educational activities were offered by WBCP president Mike Lu to the director of the Parks and Recreation Bureau of the Manila City Hall after the ocular trip.

Rufous Night Heron

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