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WBCP Roundup of Club Activities: October – December 2022

Compiled by Mike Lu


October 2 – Annual survey @ Orchard Golf and Country Club
WBCP members visited long-time partner Orchard Golf and Country Club to conduct the annual bird survey.  Four teams were assigned 9 holes each to make a complete survey of the two 18-hole golf courses.  A total of 43 species were seen including 3 species new to the site namely, Pacific Golden Plover, Little Ringed Plover and Black Winged Stilt. Orchard Golf had incorporated the Club’s recommendations and set aside “environmentally sensitive areas” within the golf course as mini-nature sanctuaries thereby increasing the number of bird species found in the golf courses.

Blue-tailed Bee-eater, one of the resident birds at the Orchard Golf and Country Club

October 8 – World Migratory Bird Day @ Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park
In celebration of World Migratory Bird Day, the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park complex was inaugurated by DENR Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga on October 8, 2022.  In simple rites at the mini-auditorium, Sec. Loyzaga commended the LPPWP PAMB and the Villar Foundation for the construction of the facilities.  After which she also inaugurated the photo exhibit at the wetland museum.  The bird photos were contributed by members of the WBCP.

As part of the celebration, the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines also conducted a guided birdwatching trip and coastal clean-up activity on site that same morning.  

WBCP President Mike Lu presenting the Wild Birds of the Philippines coffee table book to DENR Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga as Senator Cynthia Villar and DENR RED Jacqueline Caancan looks on. 
WBCP conducted a guided birdwatching trip at the LPPWP to celebrate the WorId Migratory Bird Day 

October 9 – Talk on eco-tourism @ International School of Sustainable Tourism
Gina Mapua spoke about birdwatching as an eco-tourism product for participants from the Department of Foreign Affairs at Mina Gabor’s International School of Sustainable Tourism at the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction in Silang, Cavite. Part of the session involved going out for a short guided bird tour of the campus. The campus is home to many Black-naped Orioles and Olive-backed Sunbirds, while a migrant Grey-streaked Flycatcher gave everyone a good show.

October 9 – Guided trip at Ninoy Aquino Park for Kaisa para sa Kaunlaran

Group photo with participants from Kaisa para sa Kaunlaran
Start them young!

October 9 – #Kapwaligiran – Panatang Luntian Forest Festival
The Forest Festival is a creative public assembly of Panatang Luntian Coalition members and like-minded environmental advocates that serves as a launchpad of its watchdog campaign based on its people’s agenda.  Mike Lu and Tinggay Cinco started the morning activities with a guided flora and fauna tour at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center.  The main assembly featured speakers on issues such as #NotoPAREX, #SaveManilaBay, with Mike Lu serving as one of the resource speakers for #GreenSpaces.  

October 15 – Virtual Read-Aloud and Draw-Along Session
The club held a virtual read-aloud and draw-along session to share the story of Bagwis, the baby Philippine Hawk Eagle. The book, which is based on real-life events, was a collaborative effort among some members to raise awareness about our “other” eagle, to inform readers about the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act (Republic Act No. 9147) and to celebrate women in Science. The book is available at Kado Publishing and The Learning Basket.

October 15 and 16 – Guided trip for Homeschoolers at Victoria Valley
For the love of learning and the love of birds, the WBCP held a guided birdwatching trip for homeschoolers, organized by newbie Tsarina Agcaoili, upon their request. The club ended up doing two back-to-back trips on October 15 and 16 in Victoria Valley (Antipolo) led by Linda Gocon and Gwen So, with Rodec de la Cruz, Bambi Martinez, Rosanne Unson and Geobert and Mariel Uyquiengco helping out on the first day. The gasps, squeals and awwws, the piqued interest, the faces with beaming smiles and healthy glows at the end of the walking tour, plus a mom shouting “Uulit kami!” as they drove away, were clear indications of a fun, memorable and worthwhile endeavor. 

Orientation before the start of the birdwatching activity.
Happy birders from the Saturday group.
Happy birders from the Sunday group. 

October 22-23 – 12th Borneo Bird Festival
The Sandakan Borneo Bird Club invited the Club to participate in the 12th Borneo Bird Festival held at the Rainforest Discovery Center in Sandakan, Sabah (Malaysia).  The long-running bird festival held many activities such as guided birdwatching walks, bird races and bird photo contests, coloring contests, lectures, photo exhibit, and even a bird costume contest.           

Participating organizations were each given a booth to promote their activities and also sell merchandise. There were many local conservation NGOs including organizations involved in the conservation of the Malayan sun bear and the proboscis monkey. WBCP was represented by Mike Lu, Diuvs de Jesus and festival first-timers Helen Ong and Camille King. The WBCP booth conducted coloring activities for festival visitors and offered local snacks such as dried mangoes and cornick.  Other exhibitors were companies selling binoculars, scopes and cameras. 

WBCP members (L-R) Mike Lu, Helen Ong, Camille King, and Diuvs de Jesus at the club’s booth
Participants in the coloring contests for kids.
Borneo Bird Festival was held at the awe-inspiring Rainforest Discovery Center where the famous canopy walk is located. 



November 1 – Guided trip @ Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park
The Club pushed through with this guided birdwatching trip for the Sibol Nature Coop a day after a typhoon swept through Luzon.  Despite the grey skies and the intermittent rains, birds were aplenty with egrets, night-herons, kingfishers and terns coming near the Wetland Center much to the delight of the first-time birdwatchers.  We also took the group of children to the museum to show the migration route and also explore the coastal area of Long Island. 

Explaining bird migration to the homeschoolers. 

November 6 – Guided trip @ University of the Philippines Diliman
A guided birdwatching trip for the Peniel South Homeschoolers and Las Pinas Homeschoolers was conducted at the University of the Philippines Diliman campus.  It was a sunny morning and the birds were unusually showy starting with the Black-naped Orioles and Yellow-vented Bulbuls.  The caterpillars on a fruiting ficus tree had 3 cuckoo species showing up – Philippine Hawk-Cuckoo, Oriental Cuckoo and Brush Cuckoo, along with Lowland White-eyes and Yellow-vented Bulbuls. The birds were particularly shy that morning and everyone had a good look at the Olive-backed Sunbird and the Colasisi.  WBCP bird guides were Jops Josef, Karen Ochavo, Mike Lu, Bambi Martinez, Michelle Logarta, Rene Calado, Anna Alcantara, Sanne Unson, Alyssa Kangleon and Gabbi Reyes.

The caterpillars on the fruiting ficus tree attracted the cuckoos, including this Oriental Cuckoo.
Jops Josef, Karen Ochavo and Bambi Martinez using the field guide to show the different species of cuckoos.

November 9 – Health & Wellness, Safety & Resilience Fair @ the Asian Development Bank                                
Between 9 and 11 November, the ADB held its annual on-site fair on Health and Wellness, Safety and Resilience to explore The Art of Living Well toward New Ways of Working. Birdwatching is an intriguing hobby and the psychological benefits of birdwatching are well known. During the week, a “birding corner” was set up by WBCP members along the Auditorium gallery, as birders (old and new) learned about the different species of birds at the ADB HQ’s courtyard. The birding corner featured basic birding Q&As, field guides, club books (Bagwis and WBCP coffee table book), and quick introductions to using the field equipment (binoculars and spotting scope), including on-the-spot bird walks at the courtyard. Jops Josef lent his photo collection for the video loop at the gallery.

WBCP members from ADB (L-R): Bayani Barcenas, Anna Melendez, Karen Ochavo, Bambi Martinez

November 11 – Guided trip and coastal clean-up @ Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park

French schoolchildren birdwatching at the Wetland Center.
Representative from the Together-Ensemble Foundation, with WBCP bird guides (L-R) Riza Herrera, Gwen So, Mike Lu, Anna Alcantara, Michele Logarta, Lynette Tupas, Helen Ong, Gail Tupas.

November 12 – Guided trip for UP Mountaineers @ University of the Philippines
For more than a decade already, the UP Mountaineers has incorporated biodiversity topics in their application process. Part of the applicants’ Environmental Activity (EA) is exposing them to the wonders of biodiversity through Birdwatching and Tree Walk sessions. The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) has been the partner in conducting the Birding session. As most of the participants are first-timers, it became more than a nature appreciation activity. The EA provided them with a better understanding of the impacts we have in our environment and how mountaineers can contribute to protecting and preserving it.  WBCP members who facilitated this session were Gerard Que, Ana Alcantara, Rich King and Gwen So. 

The group shot of the UP Mountaineers with bird guides Gerard Que, Ana Alcantara, Rich King and Gwen So

November 13 – Guided trip @ Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park
Homeschooling group Nature Coop requested an afternoon guided birdwatching trip at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park. The meeting place was the Wetland Center where migratory birds such as Little Egret, Great Egret, Collared Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher and Whiskered Terns showed up.  The parents requested for a side trip to the boardwalk in the mangrove forest where all the participants had good views of the Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker.  Bird guides for the day were Mike Lu, Anna Alcantara, Henry Edelman, and Sanne Unson. 

November 19 – Guided trip @ Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park
The WBCP conducted a guided trip for homeschooling families at the LPPWP. After a rainy night, the sun shone brightly for the bird walk that morning and the more common birds showed well for the participants: Little Egrets, Collared Kingfishers, Common Sandpipers. A lone Chinese Egret also made an appearance, allowing the participants to use the field guide and study how different it is from the Little Egrets beside it. Because it was high tide, there weren’t too many waders on the beach that morning, but everyone was in high spirits with the birds they saw that day.

Maia Tanedo, Tinggay Cinco and Karen Ochavo led the guided birdwatching trip for this group of happy homeschoolers.

November 19-21 – 11th Asian Bird Fair – Suncheon
After a 2-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the 11th Asian Bird Fair took place in Suncheon City (Korea) on November 19-21, 2022.  Fifty-five delegates from 10 Asian countries representing NGOs and bird tour companies, as well as Korean NGOs, set up exhibits at the Suncheon Bay National Garden.  The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines was represented by Mike Lu, Anna Gonzales, Helen Ong and Diuvs de Jesus.

Suncheon Mayor Roh Gwan-Gyu tendered the Welcome Dinner on the eve of the bird fair and graced the Opening Ceremony as well.  An avitourism forum had speakers from Cambodia, India, Taiwan and Mongolia. The cultural tour included visits to the Seonasam Cultural Village and Nak-en-eup-seong Cultural Village. The highlight of the fair was a visit to the Suncheonman Wetland Park where hundreds of Hooded Cranes and other waterbirds were wintering.

In simple ceremonies during the Farewell/Turnover Dinner, the ABF flag was turned over by Suncheon City to the next host city, Kota Kinabalu, represented by the Sabah Tourism Board.

Suncheon City Mayor Roh Gwan-gyu visiting the WBCP booth with ABF Execom Victor Yu.  Photo shows (L-R) ABF Execom Victor Yu, ABF Execom and WBCP President Mike Lu, Mayor Roh Gwan-gyu, Anna Gonzales, Diuvs de Jesus and Helen Ong. 
Hotly contested raffle items during the ABF Fellowship Dinner.
Delegates pose for a group photo at the Turnover Dinner to the next ABF destination – Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia)

November 26 – Guided trip @ Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park
The WBCP hosted a homeschoolers’ guided birding trip at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park for 14 participants, led by Gwen So, Robby Alabado and Caleb Ongtenco. The tour started with a visit to the bird photo exhibit in the museum, then a quick orientation about birdwatching, and in no time the bins were up! Bird species seen included the Collared Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Common Sandpiper, and Common Greenshanks feeding along the coast. 

WBCP bird guides Robby Alabado, Gwen So and Caleb Ontengco with the homeschoolers 

November 26 – Club trip @ Balay Baybayin, Cuenca, Batangas
WBCP member Ipat Luna invited the club to her charming Balay Baybayin that offers a jaw dropping view of Taal Volcano and Lake and Mt. Maculot.  On Ipat’s view deck, Karen Ochavo, who organized the trip, Diuvs De Jesus, Helen Ong, Myles and Allan Holar, Cyrene Danielle Navia, and Michele Logarta enjoyed almost eye level views of Brahminy Kites, a Philippine Serpent Eagle, a Gray Faced Buzzard, 4 Ospreys, and an unidentified accipiter.  A hike to the lakeshore produced sightings of a Rough-crested Malkoha, Baliccasiao and Scaly-breasted Munias. 

Club members on the deck of Balay Baybayin.

November 27 – Clean-Up with Standard Chartered Bank @ Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park
As a year-end CSR activity as part of the 150th anniversary of the Standard Chartered Bank, 30 employees and their families held a coastal clean-up at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park.  Mike Lu was invited to give a brief introduction of the history of the park, birdwatching basics with mini-birdwatching session and clean-up orientation. 

Standard Chartered Bank volunteers with their garbage haul.

November 28-29  – Learning visit @ Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (Singapore) 
Mike Lu, representing the WBCP, was part of the 5-man team from the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park selected to take part in a learning visit grant to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore.  The grant was awarded to the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands by the RAMSAR Regional Center – East Asia.  The two-day learning visit included an overview on reserve management & conservation programs of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, its outreach and volunteer programs, as well as on site visit to see the facilities of the wetland reserve and the adjoining Kranji Marsh.

Across the estuary in Sungei Buloh, one can see the buildings in Johor Bahru (Malaysia)
Sharing sessions on wetland management.  

November 29 – Environmental Fair @ Xavier School
The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines participated in an environmental fair with the theme “ReXSpect Nature: Working with Nature Towards Sustainability” organized by Xavier School. Our booth featured photos of some birds found in the Philippines. An array of bird books was also displayed, plus two pairs of binoculars for visitors to try out. Students joined a game where they have to guess the number of bird species found in our country and the one who gets the exact figure or guessed the closest figure wins a prize!

ReXspect Nature: Working with nature towards sustainability

November 30 – Club trip @ La Mesa Ecopark
A “pandemic fledglings meet-and-greet” club trip was organized at the La Mesa Ecopark in Quezon City to encourage new members who joined during the pandemic lockdowns to meet each other as well as other long-time members. Led by Karen Ochavo, with support from Gabbi Reyes and Ana Alcantara, the group of 17 started birding at 6:00am and concluded at 10:30am with a little picnic to welcome the newbies and learn more about the club’s activities. Forest Botial-Jarvis gave a short orientation on e-Bird, then Gwen So and Ruben Bala shared tips as experienced birders. The group listed 40 species of birds seen and heard, highlights of which were a showy Common Kingfisher, Spotted Doves by the flower terrace, and Philippine Pygmy Woodpeckers. Other members who joined were Janina Castro, Daniel Manguerra, Michele Logarta, Rich King, Mary Rodriguez, Irynn Alcantara Abano, Christiane Oriana, Clifton Esteban, Ria Dela Cruz and David Angeles with their little daughter. 

WBCP members group photo.

December 2022

December 3 – Guided trip for UP Mountaineers

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines continued its partnership activity with the UP Mountaineers to conduct a birdwatching session for UPM’s second batch of applicants as part of its Environmental Activity.  The group was led by volunteer guides Karen Ocahvo, Jops Josef, Riza Herrera Melicor, Mariel Uyquiengco, and Irynn Abano.  Among the birds seen this morning at the UP Diliman campus were Long-tailed Shrike, Collared Kingfisher, Lowland White-eye and Olive-backed Sunbird.

Each participant was handed a pair of binoculars while lead guide Jops Josef shared better views of the birds with the aid of a spotting scope
Participants gathered around Karen Ochavo to learn bird identification using the field guide. 

December 4 – Guided trip @ Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park

A guided birdwatching trip was conducted for the Environmental Law class of Adamson University Law students under WBCP member Ipat Luna at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park.  Aside from the guided trip, there were discussions on reclamation, garbage, climate change and other threats to the wetland park.  The students also hiked through the beach forest to the boardwalk in the mangrove forest.

Adamson University Environmental Law class students at the mangrove forest boardwalk. 

December 8 – Guided trip @ Tagalag Fishing Village, Valenzuela

A spur-of-the-moment (one-day notice!) guided birdwatching trip was held at the Tagalag Fishing Village in Valenzuela City for 6 participants. The trip was led by Mike Lu and Clifton Esteban. The most visible resident is still the Common Moorhen, while other mainstays like the Pheasant-tailed Jacana and the Wandering Whistling Duck were still around though smaller numbers were observed. A pleasant surprise was the first sighting of Pink-necked Green Pigeons for this site. Migrants observed include Whiskered Terns, Common Kingfishers, and Barn Swallows.

Common Moorhens are the most visible and abundant resident species in Tagalag Fishing Village.
Group photo with guided trip participants at Tagalag Fishing Village.

December 9 – Guided trip and coastal clean-up @ Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park

51 students representing Grades 1 to 3 from the Lycée Français de Manille (also known as the French School) participated in birdwatching and coastal clean-up activities at the Las Pinas -Paranaque Wetland Park. Organized by Mr. Hubert D’Aboville of the Together Ensemble Foundation, the students eagerly listened to the orientation and watched videos about the wetland park. The students were divided into two assigned groups for birdwatching and coastal clean-up, and then each group switch activities after 30 minutes. After a snack break, the students also experienced a short hike to the boardwalk in the mangrove forest.     

Binoculars and cotton gloves all ready for the birdwatching and coastal clean-up.
Gwen So teaching the students how to use the binoculars.

December 10 – Club trip at New Town Subdivision

Rene Calado Jr. initiated an exploratory club trip to the New Town Subdivision in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, which remains undeveloped for several years. Rene together with Karen Ochavo and Nina Libatique birded most of the morning at the lagoon area where waterbirds such as Common Moorhens, Black-crowned Night-herons, Purple Herons, and Yellow Bitterns were seen. A nearby tall tree with bare branches proved to be a bird magnet as a variety of species including Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, Coppersmith Barbets, Red Turtle Doves, Grey-streaked Flycatcher and Black-naped Orioles perched out in the open. A total of 41 species were seen and heard. 

Rene Calado and Nina Libatique exploring the New Town Subdivision.

December 11 – Club trip @ Masungi Georeserve

Club members Karen Ochavo, Cecil Morella, Angeline Macunan, Enrico Legaspi, Michele Logarta, Helen Ong, Caleb Ong , Shirlyn Ko and Janina Castro, together with her parents Roxy and Bimbo, birded the Picnic and Silayan areas of Masungi. Twenty four species were observed with the highlights being open views of the skulking Malkohas, the Rough crested and Scale feathered, a colorful spectacle of Stripe-sided Rhabdornis feeding on red torch ginger flowers, Philippine Coucals and Luzon Hornbills.

Group photo at the Silayan lawn.

December 12 – Birdwatching and coastal clean-up for the Asian Development Bank 

Wild Bird Club of the Philippines members Lisa and Dale Pagkalinawan organized a birdwatching and coastal clean-up activity at the request of Julian Doczi, who works at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) together with Lisa. Three other club members who work at ADB got roped in as well: Vice President Karen Ochavo helped facilitate the club trip, and Bayani Thaddeus and Hilda Cleofe acted as bird guides. The 15 participants got a late start and only looked at birds that showed up next to the wetland park main building. There were not as many birds but since it was the first time for most of the participants to try out birdwatching–including 5-year-old Marley–it was quite a unique and interesting experience to learn the names of the birds seen through the club’s binoculars, and get the “wow” experience of seeing them through Yani’s spotting scope. The group saw the resident Collared Kingfishers, Little Egrets, and Whiskered Tern.

Five-year old Marley was the youngest birdwatching participant.
Asian Development Bank coastal clean-up volunteers with their haul.

December 24 – Guided trip @ Ninoy Aquino Park

The last public guided trip for the year was held at the Ninoy Aquino Park with volunteer guides Mike Lu, Gwen So, Moleen del Rosario, Cheta Chua, Angel Chan, Aly Kangleon, Sophia Bantillan, and Leo Barcenas. The 26 participants had a productive morning with more than 20 bird species showing up within 1-1/2 hours.  After the birdwatching activity, some participants visited the wildlife rescue center on the park grounds.

Gwen So and Cheta Chua teaching the participants how to use binoculars.
A migrant Common Kingfisher perched conspicuously much to the delight of the participants.

December 30 – Club trip @ Pampanga River, Macabebe

For the last club trip of the year, WBCP members headed for the wetlands of Pampanga River where it drains into the Manila Bay. The site in Bgy. Consuelo, Macabebe (Pampanga) was known for good numbers of Little Grebes and Common Moorhens aside from the migrant waders. The general topography has changed over the years with an ever-growing number of human settlements. Fortunately WBCP members Linda Gocon, Gwen So, Michele Logarta, Russell Andaya and Mike Lu were not disappointed. Close to 40 species were recorded including more than 4,000 Black-headed Gulls and 20+ Caspian Terns.

Thousands of Black-headed Gulls resting on the mudflats.
Roadside birding along the dikes of Pampanga River.
Caspian Terns with Whiskered Terns in mixed flocks among other waders.

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