Compiled by Mike Lu
February 6 – Panatang Luntian Walang Plastikan – Forum on Plastic Pollution and Ecological Alternatives
The WBCP was represented by Tinggay R. Cinco in the “Walang Plastikan: A Forum on Plastic Pollution and Ecological Alternatives last January 31, 2023 via Zoom.The forum was held in line with the commemoration of National Zero Month celebrated annually in January. Hosted by the Council for People’s Development, the forum was held live at the University of Pangasinan and organized by the Pangasinan People’s Strike for the Environment Coalition since the province of Pangasinan will become the hotspot for Waste to Energy projects in the future. Guest Speaker was Miko Alino, Project Coordinator of Break Free From Plastic Movement (BFFP). Mr. Alino gave a talk about the plastic crisis and pyrolysis, the use of recycled plastic for fuel which will lead to consequences of massive air pollution creating landfills in the sky. The forum also tackled the issues for the future construction of six nuclear power plants as an alternative source of energy together with the stopping of building another coal-fired power plant in Pangasinan.
February 7 – Senate public hearing on Protected Areas
The WBCP represented by Mike Lu was invited to an online public hearing by the Senate Committee on Environment & Natural Resources and Climate Change on five bills on the declaration of protected areas and bill on expanding the coverage of legislated protected areas. The hearing conducted online covered the following sites: Paoay Lake Protected Landscape (Ilocos Norte), Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park, San Francisco Protected Landscape in San Andres (Quezon), Taklong and Tandog Group of Islands Natural Park in Nueva Valencia (Guimaras) and the Bantayan Group of Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape (Cebu).
February 12 – Guided trip at Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park
The Proverbs Homeschoolers requested for a nature appreciation walk at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park for 22 participants (kids and their parents). The group had good views of the migrant Little Egret and Whiskered Terns and the resident Collared Kingfisher, Rufous Night Heron, and even Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker. After the birdwatching activity, the group hiked the beach forest trail to the mangrove forest boardwalk where they were introduced to selected flora on Freedom Island. Leading the group were WBCP members Mike Lu, John and Beng Ricarte, Rich King and Shirley, Edwin and Trish Ballaran.
February 12 – Ocular trip to Tagaytay Highlands
A few years ago, WBCP partnered with the Tagaytay Highlands to record the bird species and came up with a booklet and a calendar promoting the avian diversity found on their property. WBCP members conducted another ocular trip to check if the ashfall from Taal Volcano and the devastating typhoon the past two years had affected the bird life. Surprisingly, of the 80+ species previously recorded in the course of one year, more than 40 bird species recorded in just one morning. WBCP members Yani Barcenas, Art and Riza Melicor, Gerard Que, and Gwen So conducted the birdwatching along with the staff of Tagaytay Highlands. Mike Lu later joined club members at the lunch meeting with GM Claire Kramer over sumptuous Chinese fare at the China Palace.
February 15 – DENR-NCR Stakeholders and Partners Meeting -“Environmental Partnership for a Sustainable Future”
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (National Capital Region) held a gathering last February 16 at the Park Inn Hotel by Radisson, North Edsa, Quezon City. DENR (NCR) under the leadership of Regional Executive Director for NCR Ms. Jacqueline Caancan gave an award and recognition to the WBCP as one of its non-governmental partners in the preservation and implementation of its environmental policies. Guest of honor and eynote speaker was Senator Cynthia A.Villar, Chairperson for the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change.
Sen. Villar was also accorded a recognition by the agency for her efforts in the Las Pinas Paranaque Wetland Park highlighting the contributions of the Villar SIPAG Foundation. Other awardees were from the academe, civil society, local government units and the private sector.
February 17 – DENR-NCR Apugan Cave Monitoring
WBCP, represented by Jops Josef and Jenny Ramos, was invited by DENR-NCR to assist with birdwatching and species identification along the trail to Apugan Cave and environs. This is part of the efforts of DENR-NCR to sustainably develop Apugan Cave as an ecotourism destination. Discovered inside the La Mesa Nature Reserve only in 2016, Apugan Cave is the only known cave system in Metro Manila to date. Among the bird species seen were White-eared Brown Dove, Black-chinned Fruit Dove and Orange-bellied Flowerpecker.
February 19 – Guided trip at Tagalag Fishing Village (Valenzuela)
The monthly guided trip for the general public was held at the Tagalag Fishing Village in Valenzuela City. The 30 participants were enthralled with the numbers and proximity of the water birds, among these were Black-headed Gull, Whiskered Tern, Eurasian Moorhen, Little Grebe and Philippine Swamphen. Almost at the end of the trip, it drizzled and most participants left but birders stayed on and moved to a nearby site where Wandering Whistling Ducks and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas were seen. Club members who led this trip were Mike Lu, Karen Ochavo, Lisa and Dale Pagkalinawan, Rich King, Tsarina and Ronnie Agcaoili.
February 19 – Club trip at Tanza mudflats (Navotas)
Gwen So organized a club trip to the Tanza mudflats to look for the current star bird, a Eurasian Oystercatcher. The Eurasian Oystercatcher only has a few recorded sightings in the Philippines and a solitary bird was seen a month earlier and seen many times hence. The group was not disappointed and they also saw Pied Avocets (more than a hundreds birds), Asian Dowitcher, Bar-tailed Godwit and a Ruff. Members who joined the trip were Records Committee chairperson Tinggay Cinco, Art and Riza Melicor, John and Beng Ricarte, Helen and Caleb Ontengco, Bom and Gabbi Gomez, Leo Barcenas, and Gabbi Reyes.
February 21 – Oceana Writeshop on Love Letters to Manila Bay
Tinggay R. Cinco and Michele Logarta of the eBon editorial team represented the WBCP at the Oceana Write Shop on Love Letters to Manila Bay on Feb 21 at the B Hotel in Quezon City. Members of the Pamalakaya Pilipinas, Center for Environmental Concerns, Mangrove Matters PH, and Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines also joined the activity organized by Oceana, the largest international organization solely focused on the protection of the world’s oceans. The objective of the activity was to write love letters to Manila bay that will be used in a magazine to be published by Oceana. The magazine will showcase the beauty and the importance of Manila Bay and communicate the message “Buhay ang Manila Bay” (Manila Bay is alive) and it is worth saving. The magazine, a part of the campaign to save Manila Bay from reclamation, is aimed to mobilize readers to take action and support the call on the government to comply with their mandate to restore and rehabilitate Manila Bay.
February 24 – Living Lake, Biodiversity & Climate Project – partners and Stakeholders forum
The Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands organized a project launching and a forum for the partners and stakeholders for the Living Lakes Biodiversity and Climate Change Project at the Wynwood Hotel. This global initiative is funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection under the International Climate Initiative (IKI) with the Global Nature Fund as the Lead Organization.
The two projects the Philippines are the restoration of the Paligui Wetlands in Candaba (Pampanga) and the introduction of green filters in the Pangil River Eco Park in Laguna. The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines led by Mike Lu had been asked to be to a partner of the Paligui Wetlands project.
February 25 – Guided trip at Ninoy Aquino Park
The Living Learning Homeschool Marikit Cluster organized a birdwatching trip for 24 participants at the Ninoy Aquino Park in Quezon City. The activity was held beside the freshwater lagoon to take advantage of the presence of migratory birds that will embark on their spring migration back to the northern hemisphere. Migratory birds such as a Little Egret, Common Kingfisher and Brown Shrike were observed while resident species such as the Black-Crowned Night-Heron, Barred Rail and Purple Heron were also present. The trip was led by Mike Lu with the support of Ana Alcantara, Nicole Torres, and Michele Logarta.
February 25 – Guided trip @ Heritage Park
A guided birdwatching trip for 16 second-time participants from the Living Learning was held at the Heritage Park in Taguig. The afternoon guided trip surprisingly yielded a respectable number of bird species seen. The pond area hosted water birds such as Eurasian Moorhen, Cattle Egret, White-browed Crake while the grasslands had Chestnut Munia, Scaly-breasted Munia and Striated Grassbird. It was a productive trip with parents sharing the excitement with their kids. After the birdwatching, the children worked on their nature journal by sketching the bird species they have seen.
February 26 – Club trip @ Subic Bay
Club members headed for Subic Bay for early morning birdwatching at the famed Nabasan Trail and headed for the Ayta Cultural Center by mid morning to meet with Marilyn Gates and Manny Quijano of SIPAG (Subic Indigenous People’s Assistance Group). SIPAG plans to open a museum and requested WBCP to provide bird photos. WBCP turned over a copy of the Wild Birds of the Philippines and the Bagwis storybook while Leni Sutcliffe handed over 2 books on Ayala Westgrove’s native trees. SIPAG briefed the birdwatchers on the plans of the cultural center and requested help to promote birdwatching in Subic. After the meeting, the group settled down for a sumptuous Filipino lunch and the Aytas led a short hike through a forest trail in Cubi Point. Members who joined the trip were Ruben Bala, Jasmin Meren, Rich King, Michele Logarta, Irynn Abano, Ria de la Cruz, David Angeles, and Jayantri Pandy.
March 4 and 5 – Club trip to Masungi Georeserve (Rizal)
Two club trips were organized to the Masungi Georeserve on two succeeding days on the first week of March. Both groups saw the Colasisi, Barred Rail, Grey Wagtail, Brown-breasted Kingfisher and both also missed out on the much-anticipated resident Indigo-banded Kingfisher.
Meanwhile, the first group saw much more bird species such as the Ashy Minivet, both Rufous-crowned and Scale-feathered Malkohas, Philippine Cuckoo-Dove and even a Peregrine Falcon.
The second group arrived to a cold and very windy day which resulted in a much shorter bird list. However the group had good views of the Luzon Hornbill and a sighting of the Junglefowl.
The club plans to organize more trips to Masungi Georeserve as a way to support the georeserve.
March 7 – Oceana Press Conference –“ Manila Bay is not Dead!”
A press conference was given by Oceana, Philippines to highlight its advocacy in preserving Manila Bay and was thriving with life contrary to some claims by powerful politicians that it is already dead. Oceana was actively campaigning against further reclamation in Manila Bay disclosing its negative effects in the guise of development. Invited to the conference were Mr. Fernando Hicap, President of PAMALAKAYA, a nation wide organization of fisher folks who gave a talk on the current situation of the displacement of resident fishermen and lose of livelihood around the Cavite area of Manila Bay due to reclamation. Ms. Emily Abrera of S.O.S. (Save Our Shores) Manila Bay civil society laid out their organization’s opposition to the further destruction of sites and landscape due to further development. The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines represented by Tinggay Cinco who introduced the threatened migratory bird species that will be affected due to the construction of mega infrastructures. Dr. Kelvin Rudolfo discussed the geo hazards and possible disasters that may occur along the bay area in the future. Atty. Lisa Osorio from Oceana presented the legal framework and courses of action that may taken for the conservation efforts. The press conference was held at Max’s Restaurant at Quezon Memorial Circle.
March 12 – Club trip – Lake Canarem (Tarlac)
Seven members of WBCP (Karen Ochavo, Ruben Bala, Michele Logarta, Mark Jason Villa, Diuvs De Jesus, Nikdye Realubit, and Renz Jader) checked out Canarem for remaining migrant waterbirds, however only a few Black-winged Stilts, Garganeys, Common Kingfishers, and some other migrant species were seen as most have already started their springtime migration back to the north. Nonetheless, the group listed 39 species including 800 Wandering Whistling Ducks and a whopping 50 Pheasant-tailed Jacanas. WBCP extends its appreciation to Victoria, Tarlac LGU staff Nald Rigor, Nathan and Sherwin for accompanying the group.
March 17 – Wader ID zoom session
Execom treasurer Cheta Chua led a Zoom session to help members with waders identification. Cheta introduced the waders by family, highlighting the identifying marks of each species and comparing the winter and summer plumage. The informative session culminated with a mini-test to let members identify the waders and reinforce what they just learned. Hopefully more educational session on waders and raptors can be organized in the near future. Some of the members who joined the session were Karen Ochavo, Helen Ong, Caleb Ongtenco, Angel Chan, Mike Lu, Bom Gomez, Aly Kangleon, Jayanti Pandey, Dax Simbo, Tien Oriana, Eba Desabelle, Carmel Eje and others.
March 18 – Club trip – Dampalit Biking Trail, Malabon
Club members who frequent the Tanza mudflats in Navotas to observe the migratory shorebirds always encounter the tasks of observing from a great distance and braving the stinky mud to get better views. Now they have found an alternative in the Dampalit Megadike Bike Trail for an easier birding experience: paved road (no need to wear boots), the sun at your back most of the time, and the birds are closer for straightforward identification and counting! On 18 March 2023, members stayed at the megadike and observed at least 32 species, including more than a hundred Pied Avocets and the lone Eurasian Oystercatcher, on its 5th week since 9 February. Led by Karen Ochavo, members who joined the trip include Anna Melendez, Gwen So, Karen Ochavo, Jessa Ochavo, Bayani Barcenas, Christiane Oriana and newbie member Jayanti Pandey.
March 19 – Ocular trip: Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club, Lipa, Batangas
WBCP was invited to visit Mt Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Lipa (Batangas) for an ocular and initial talks upon the suggestion of former staff from Orchard Golf. Orchard Golf is one of the Club’s most successful partner as our suggestions for habitat enhancement in the golf courses had been implemented and continue to yield positive results with an increase in bird species over the last 15 years. Hoping we can come up with the same results with the golf course of Mt. Malarayat. WBCP members present were Mike Lu, Karen Ochavo, Bayani Barcenas and Ipat Luna.
March 25 – Guided trip @ UP Diliman
16 upper elementary students of Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate Montessori School in Dasmarinas, Cavite, together with 5 teachers and guardians, were guided by volunteers from WBCP (Aly Kangleon, Jayanti Pandey, Patcha Pangatungan, Leo Barcenas Jr., Jops Josef, and Karen Ochavo) on a two-hour birding around the U.P. Diliman National Science Complex. The guides were quite impressed with the young students’ prior knowledge about wild birds in the Philippines, thanks to their teachers who have incorporated birdwatching in their studies. The kids and adult participants alike had fun and learned a lot more from observing and taking field notes, and they listed a total of 16 bird species.
March 26 – Club trip for raptor counting in Tanay (Rizal)
March and April are raptor migration season and Execom Bambi Martinez organized a club trip to monitor these birds of prey as they fly back north to their breeding grounds in the Asian mainland. Club members gathered at the Martessem Mountain Resort in Tanay (Rizal) early in the morning and counted close to 700 Grey-faced Buzzards and a few Chinese Sparrowhawks plus 20 other bird species. Hopefully we can squeeze in another session to monitor the Chinese Sparrowhawks when their movements peak in April.