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eBON September-October Round-up 2020

By Mike Lu with with text inputs and/or photos from Bayani Barcenas, Gwen So, Jops Josef and Rodec de la Cruz


September 1 – Birdwatch Philippines Community launched on FB

The Club launched the Birdwatch Philippines Community on Facebook group to connect birders/birdwatchers with the general public to share experiences and knowledge on birding/birdwatching and wild birds in the Philippines. This group is moderated by Karen Ochavo, Ruth Francisco, Yani Barcenas, MJ Bugante, Myles Holar and Cheta Chua.

September 5 & 12 – Kapihan with Arnel Telesforo

WBCP’s virtual Birding Kapihan featured bird drawing sessions with the club’s resident artist Arnel Telesforo at the helm. For two Saturdays, members were treated with basic techniques of sketching birds in the quickest ways possible while in the field and adding notes to these sketches. Each session guaranteed smiles as participants practiced their strokes and came up with their masterpieces on the spot.

September 7, 15, 30 & October 13 – Balanga Wetland Park Development Council meetings

Over four weekly meetings via Zoom, the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines represented by Mike Lu and Anna Gonzales participated in the Technical Working Group of the Balanga Wetland Park Development Council to work on a concept paper to create a beach forest as a memorial to the late Balanga City Administrator Rudy de Mesa. Other members of the council were representatives of the Balanga City Mayor’s Office, Office of Congressman Joet Garcia, TIEZA, DENR PENRO among others. 

September 13 – Club trip to Caylabne Bay Resort, Cavite

The Club was able to secure an exclusive permission to visit the Caylabne Bay Resort in Cavite for a day trip.  Situated in the Mts. Palay-Palay-Mataas na Gulod National Park by Manila Bay, the resort is known for its resident flock of Philippine Ducks as well as for its diversity of Luzon forest endemics.   

September 19 – Ocular trip to Palo Alto, Baras, Rizal

Palo Alto Residential Estates is located at the boundary of Antipolo, Tanay and Baras and just a quick 45 minute drive from Greater Manila Area along Marcos Highway.  It has its own water falls (Palo Alto Falls) and forest reserve inside the subdivision. In four hours of birding, WBCP members were able to see 39 species including Red Crested Malkoha, Scaly Feathered Malkoha, Black Naped Monarch, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Philippine Serpent Eagle and Philippine Hawk Eagle.

September 19 – Club trip to Acacia Estates, Taguig

Club members were invited by Mr. Udi Shomer to visit a patch of wetland in Acacia Estates in Taguig where he lives.  Udi’s vision is for this area to be preserved as a green lung for the city if he could convince the developers to put up a park with a nature trail.  Several birders visited the site on different days and found bitterns, egrets, warblers, herons, shrikes, moorhens, mynas, waterhens, doves, fantails, etc.  Wandering Whistling Ducks were also seen. A most noteworthy find was a group of 6 Green Sandpipers, an uncommon winter visitor!

September 20- Ocular trip to Nayong Pilipino, Paranaque

Situated across the Okada Casino is one of the last grasslands in the once bird-rich Tambo mudflats.  This is the site of the new Nayong Pilipino, a proposed heritage park.  With permission from the Nayong Pilipino Foundation, WBCP members gain access to the site and recorded more than 20 bird species. The foundation hopes to retain part of the grassland habitat in the development plans for the park.  

September 23 – Senate hearing on the airport franchise for the proposed San Miguel Aerocity

A small flock of endangered Black-faced Spoonbills made a rare appearance on the coastal areas of Manila Bay in Taliptip-Bamban after more than a hundred years.  This is the exact site of the proposed New Manila International Airport. 

WBCP President Mike Lu was invited as one of the resource speakers on the Senate hearing of the Committee on Public Services chaired by Senator Grace Poe for the the airport franchise of the proposed San Miguel Aerocity on the mudflats of Taliptip-Bamban in Bulacan.  Given only two minutes, WBCP reiterated its opposition to the location of the airport project due to the presence of huge numbers of wintering population of waterbirds including endangered and near-threatened species.  Such numbers may also increase the risk of accidents due to bird strikes. WBCP Execom also sent a letter to all senators on September 30 asking them to seriously consider the location of the proposed aerotropolis.

September 26 – Public Kapihan Birding Basics

For the first time since the weekly Birders Kapihan was launched for its members, the club organized the initial offering for the public with the timely topic of birdwatching basics while most people are sequestered in their homes. The talk was delivered in two parts: The 5Ws and 1H of Birdwatching was presented by Cheta Chua, Gabbi Reyes and Gwen So; and the Bird (and other wildlife) Friendly Urban Garden was presented by Trinket Constantino.

September 27 Ocular trip – the Park

The Park in Silang (Cavite) was envisioned as glamping grounds by the Primer Group of Companies, the Club was invited to an ocular trip to see its potential as a site for birdwatching activities.  Birders found the areas a bit restricted as trails are still being developed to the ravine area, hopefully Club members can make another visit in the following months.    


October 3 – Club Trip to Fairmount Hills, Antipolo

The Antipolo Valley Ecological Corridor is a large forested area below Sumulong Highway going to Antipolo all the way to Ortigas Ave. Extension.  WBCP together with the Antipolo Valley Ecological Society (AVES) aims to contribute towards the preservation of these green areas by conducting birdwalks to make homeowners aware of the riches of flora and fauna around them will.  We believe that Awareness and Appreciation will Lead to Conservation.

A few members of WBCP explored Fairmount Hills, one of the member subdivisions of Antipolo Valley Ecological Corridor.  The village is just 30 minutes away from Robinsons Galleria.  The Homeowners have developed a 3-hour hiking trail through lush forest and waterfalls with varied local trees, plants and bird species just inside their subdivision.

October 3 Kapihan Maps and birds Jon Villasper

On Oct 3, GIS Specialist, cartographer, and geographer Jon Villasper gave a talk on maps and birds. Jon shared with us the basics about maps as symbolic representation of certain characteristics of a place, and some common features of maps that include scale, symbols and grids. By using maps that present information in a simple and visual way, we could determine viable habitats for certain bird species, thus knowing where to look for them. Maps can even help if one is looking for some rarities. Exactly where a species occurs is a critical piece of information for its conservation, among others.

October 4 Ocular trip to LPPWP salt marsh 

WBCP members Mike Lu and Jasmin Meren were invited by LPPWP administrator Rey Aguinaldo to visit the salt marsh inside the wetland park.  Arne Jensen had raised the alarm that the salt marsh has been overtaken by the mangrove forest thereby endangering the high tide roost of the waders. Findings show that aside from the overgrowth, garbage have penetrated the tangle of mangrove roots trapping the garbage inside. LPPWP management plan to undertake a massive clean-up and clearing of the overgrowth as soon as the migrants leave next year. 

October 10 Umpukan sa Nayon public forum

Umpukan sa Nayon is an open forum organized by the Nayong Pilipino Foundation and the Philippine Parks and Biodiversity for the general public to discuss and share ideas “to create spaces for citizen-led biodiversity conservation in urban areas,” in particular the new Nayong Pilipino in Paranaque.  WBCP President Mike Lu shared the rich diversity of birds found on the site was before it was reclaimed and the bird species seen recently. He suggested creating a beach forest park with grasslands for wildlife as part of the development plans.   

October 10 – Club trip to Victoria Valley

Victoria Valley is at the middle of the Antipolo Valley Ecological Corridor.  The birdwalk was conducted with the Homeowners.  36 bird species was observed including several kingfishers, doves, tailorbirds and lots of Orioles and munias.  Several migrants were also found like the Arctic Warbler, Grey Wagtails and the Narcissus Flycatcher.

October 16 – World Migratory Bird Day public forum

WBCP in partnership with Wetlands International celebrated World Migratory Bird Day with a public forum focusing on migratory waterbirds of Manila Bay and Naujan Lake. Guest speakers were Yong Ding Li of Birdlife International Asia who gave an overview of the threats to wetlands birds in Asia, Djop Tabaranza showed the trends of migratory birds in Lake Naujan, Adrian and Trinket Constantino presented the high concentration of waterbirds wintering in the Pampanga River Delta and Arne Jensen who explained the importance of Manila Bay, highlighting the threats of continued reclamation specially the proposed aerotropolis on the Bulacan wetlands. The forum started with Opening Remarks from Anson Tagtag of the Biodiversity management Bureau, hotsed by Annadel Cabanban of Wetlands International and the Q&A moderated by Mike Lu of the WBCP.  

October 17 – Birding Kapihan Series – Poetry Session on Zoom

Every so often, birders needed a creative outlet and on October 17, 2020 the Birding Kapihan became the online platform for club members to share their experiences and sentiments through poetry. Atty. Cristina Montes facilitated the “Birds in Poetry” session and shared classic examples of birds and nature as main subjects of poetry. The second part of the session was an open mic, giving the stage over to the participants for poetry writing (haiku) and reading. More poems were written in the days that followed which inspired the so-called “WBCP Bird Poets Society.”

October 18 – Ocular trip – Timberland Resort

WBCP has invited to Timberland Heights for an ocular trip to see the viability of including birdwatching as an outdoor activity for Timberland Resort in San Mateo (Rizal).  The group was led Timberland Resort manager Stephen Anonuevo and WBCP members Mike Lu, Jops Josef, April Josef, Lolet Tan and Martha Tan. Unfortunately, it was drizzling and not as many birds were seen.  The group plans to return when the weather clears up.   

October 28 – World Migratory Bird Day in Noveleta

DENR PENRO Cavite invited the WBCP to join the World Migratory Bird Day with a birdwatching trip to the mudflats in Noveleta (Cavite).  WBCP President Mike Lu and Mark Jason Villa and Cavite State University students joined the trip recording a good 35 species in the mudflats including the grasslands and the along the estuary.   

October 31 – Birding Kapihan Series – Birds and Philippine Culture

Spotlight was shone on birds and Philippine Culture facilitated by WBCP Member and DOT Asec. Robby Alabado. In this kapihan, Robby shared how some birds of the country have played a role in Philippine mythology. Birds have always been a common motif in our mythological tales, and early Filipinos venerated and feared birds among wildlife which played a major role in various lore throughout the archipelago. And since it is Halloween Night, participants dressed up and shared their personal tales of bird-like creatures that fascinated or haunted them as kids.

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