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WBCP Roundup of Club Activities: July – September 2023

Compiled by Mike Lu

JULY 2023

July 23 – WBCP 20th General Assembly & Anniversary Get-Together

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines celebrated its milestone 20th founding anniversary at the La Vista Clubhouse with members and partners in conservation. The General Assembly started with the President’s annual report by Mike Lu, the Treasurer’s report by Jops Josef, the Records Committee report by Tinggay Cinco with the rarities report by Cheta Chua.  The Elections Committee led by Riza Melicor announced the new Execom with Mike Lu as president, Karen Ochavo as vice president, Nikdye Realubit as secretary and Tommy Tan as treasurer.  Singer Mijon Tangye regaled the group with 3 songs.   

Execom ‘23-“24 – President Mike Lu, VP Karen Ochavo, Secretary Nikdye Realubit, Treasurer Tommy Tan, Elecom rep Riza Melicor and host Aly Kangleon

The anniversary celebration continued with guests led by Senator Cynthia Villar, Balanga City (Bataan) LGU led by City Councilor Jowee Zabala, Municipality of Victoria (Tarlac) LGU led by Tourism officer Nald Rigor, and conservation partners from Wetlands International-Philippines, Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park and Panatang Luntian.  The program started with a video montage of pictures taken in the last 20 years, the founders’ stories by Mike Lu and Ricky de Castro, a tribute to the late Christian Perez, members Mark Jason Villa and Patcha Pangatungan shared how they join the Club and a teaser video for the 12th Asian Bird Fair was played with the announcement that WBCP will be bidding for the 13th Asian Bird Fair.  The program was hosted by Anna Gonzales and Aly Kangleon.  The merchandise table offered commemorative tumblers and umbrellas.   The much-awaited P 50.00 raffle and silent auction had members actively bidding.  It was truly a memorable evening for members and guests alike.

Members at the P 50.00 raffle and silent auction tables.
Merchandise table.  

August 2023

August 6 – Club Trip @ La Mesa Ecopark

A short lull after weeks of rain prompted VP Karen Ochavo to organize a club trip to the La Mesa Ecopark in Quezon City.  The group headed for the min-forest in search of the Ashy Ground Thrush to no avail, a Hooded Pitta was calling but did not show itself but the consolation turned out to be an endemic Spotted Wood Kingfisher perched out in the open. The trip ended with a White-eared Brown Dove across the parking area for a total count of 24 species this Sunday morning.  Club members who joined the trip were Dean Arcega, Rich King, Juan Mesquida, and Nikdye Realubit.       

A rare sighting of the elusive Spotted Wood Kingfisher!
(L-R) Karen Ochavo, Nikdye Realubit, Juan Mesquida, Neil Serle, Dean Arcega 

August 6 – Guided trip @ Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park

In partnership with conservation NGO, Panatang Luntian, the WBCP conducted Luntiang Lakad at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park.  The activity started with a birdwatching activity followed by a coastal clean-up and a hike to the mangrove boardwalk on Freedom Island.  The activity culminated with a sharing session among the participants.  WBCP was represented by Mike Lu, Rose Lacson and Tommy Tan.  

August 6 – 1st Execom Meeting

(L-R) Treasurer Tommy Tan, Secretary Nikdye Realubit, VP Karen Ochavo, President Mike Lu, 5th Officer Rache Go

The newly-elected WBCP Execom officers 2023-2024 sat down for the first Execom meeting at Mary Grace Café in SM Marikina to discuss scheduled activities in relation to the 20th founding anniversary of the WBCP including plans to participate in the Asian Bird Fair in Malaysia and the Taipei International Birdwatching fair in Taiwan as well as other internal housekeeping matters.  The Execom officers for 2023-2024 are President Mike Lu, VP Karen Ochavo, Secretary Nikdye Realubit, Treasurer Tommy Tan and 5th Officer Rache Go.  The Execom also re-appointed Tinggay Cinco as Records Committee chairperson.      

August 13 – Ocular trip @ Ayala Heights, Quezon City

(L-R) Carlo Legaspi, Michele Logarta, Mike Lu, Chi Chi Fajardo, Rochelle Lao

The Ayala Heights Homeowners Association led by President Chi Chi Robles and Director Rochelle Lao invited the WBCP for an ocular trip to identify the resident bird species found in the subdivision.  WBCP members Mike Lu, Michele Logarta and Jorge Garcia accompanied by  Rochelle Lao and Carlo Legaspi were able to identify 18 bird species.  The homeowners association plan to plant more native trees in the open spaces and conduct learning sessions  and birdwatching sessions for the residents soon.     

August 18 – Radyo Aguila interview with Karen Ochavo

WBCP’s Vice President Karen Ochavo was a guest on the show “Kapitbahay” on Radyo Agila DZEC 1062 last August 18 with hosts Charo G. and Liza Flores. Karen shared about the benefits of birdwatching as a hobby such as learning about the many different species of birds in the Philippines, plus relaxation and meeting fellow birders from around the Philippines and abroad. Karen closed the interview with a reminder to avoid buying wild birds even with the intent to release them because that would only lead to more poaching — just watch, don’t catch!

August 20 – Guided trip @ Tagalag Fishing Village (Valenzuela)

Mike Lu and Linda Gocon gave an orientation to the first-time birders before the activity begun.

After a 2-month hiatus, due to inclement weather, the club’s public guided birdwatching trips resume with a trip to the Tagalag Fishing Village with 31 first-time birdwatchers assisted by 10 WBCP members.  The activity was interrupted by a sudden downpour but rewarded with the appearance of a rainbow and a total 22 resident bird species seen within 2 hours.  More trips to Tagalag will be scheduled when the migrants arrive as early as next month.  WBCP was represented by Mike Lu, Linda Gocon, Tommy Tan, Rose Lacson, Leo Barcenas, Camille King and the Agcaoili family.

A rainbow appeared after the sudden downpour.

August 21 – Guided trip @ New Manila Rolling Hills Subdivision

New Manila Rolling Hills subdivision birding pulled 16 excited residents and 7 volunteer guides (Gabbi Reyes, Aly Kangleon, Gwen So, Sanne Unson, Leo Barcenas, Anj Angeles, Jayjay Sta. Maria) out of their beds at the crack of dawn. Even with only a few green spaces left, the group was able to spot 18 bird species and reeled in other curious passers-by. The morning began with a rainbow appearing in the sky—a promise that things would go well—and ended with a community-initiated tree planting activity.

Group photo of New Manila Rolling Hills residents with WBCP guides.

August 27 – Guided trip @ Ninoy Aquino Park

Ten year old Liam Camacho enjoyed his first guided birdwatching trip at the Ninoy Aquino Park last April.  For his birthday, he invited his classmates and their parents to go birdwatching.  The group of 19 birdwatchers were led by Mike Lu, Tinggay Cinco, Maia Tanedo and Rose Lacson.  The skies were overcast and birds were few and far between but at the end of the 2-hour birdwatching activity, we were able to record 19 species.     

Striated Heron  strikes a pose on the water lily pads with pink flowers.

September 2023

September 4 – CNN Philippines article on birdwatching in Metro Manila

CNN Philippines featured an article on the Club’s guided birdwatching trip to the Tagalag Fishing Village in Valenzuela.  The full article can be accessed through this link:  A guide to bird-watching in Metro Manila (

September 8 – LPPWP PAMB technical working group meeting  

As part of the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park protected area management board, WBCP represented by Mike Lu attended a technical working group zoom meeting to discuss logistical details pertaining to the International Coastal Clean-up to be held on September 16 while a presentation on the proposed museum was put on hold as the PAMB had not agreed on the contents of the museum. WBCP formally announced that it won the bid to host the Asian Bird Fair 2014 to highlight LPPWP and actively seeking support from the DENR-NCR.

Members of the technical working group of LPPWP PAMB.

September 10 – Records Committee meeting

The Records Committee held its first meeting for 2023 after the EXECOM’s reappointment of Tinggay Cinco as Records Committee chairperson for the second year.  The hybrid meeting was conducted at Tinggay’s residence in Quezon City with Mads Bajarias, Jasmin Meren and Karen Ochavo.  Jops Josef hosted the online portion via ZOOM with the participation of Arne Jensen.  Various topics were discussed regarding records keeping, data updates and future activities pertinent to the committee.  The next Records Committee meeting is slated in November. Preparations for the release of the Philippine bird list and the Asian Waterbird Census for 2024 will discussed in the forthcoming meeting.

September 10 – SeptemBIRDS at Ayala Heights

The Ayala Heights Homeowners Association invited WBCP to introduce birdwatching to its residents.  WBCP led by its president, Mike Lu gave a talk on birds of the Philippines and showed a video of commonly-seen urban birds by Adrian and Trinket Constantino.  The participants were then taken on short guided birdwatching trip in the neighborhood where Black-naped Orioles, Zebra Doves and Coppersmith Barbets gave good views.  The club also provided coloring sheets for the children’s art workshop held in the same afternoon.   WBCP members Michele Logarta, Rose Lacson, and Tommy Tan assisted during the guided trip and also manned the merchandise table. 

Mike Lu introducing the world of birds to the residents.

September 19 – Orchard Golf and Country Club survey

WBCP members on a bird survey at Orchard Golf and Country Club (L-R): Enrico Legaspi, Allan and Myles Holar, Rich King, Ruben Bala

On a clear and sunny Tuesday morning, WBCP members Ruben Bala, Myles and Alan Holar, Enrico Legaspi and Rich King took part in a bird surve at the Orchard Golf and Country Club. They split into three groups the survey the 18-hole Player and 18-hole Palmer courses.  Collared Kingfishers, White-breasted Wood Swallows and Paddyfield Pipits were the most conspicuous resident species while the migrant Brown Shrikes, Whiskered Terns, and Grey Wagtails. The highlight was a pair of Philippine cuckoo-doves, along with a fly-by of Black-winged Stilts. The Philippine ducks were not however a photograph of a Black-crowned Night Heron revealed a pair of Philippine Ducks partly hidden in the grass on the Player 7 course.

September 21 – Shorebird Learning Session

Christiane Oriana and Enrico Legaspi organized a Shorebird Learning Session in preparation for the scheduled birdwatching Trip to Tanza, Navotas on Saturday, September 23, 2023. Tinggay R. Cinco, Records and concurrent Education Committee Chairperson was invited to give the talk via Zoom. The lecture was expanded to Waterbirds identification for the inclusion of both shore and seabird species. Focus was on bird topography, differences in characteristics and appearance of similar species, tips on basic birdwatching in wetlands. Highlighted during the talk were the species to be found in Tanza, Navotas.

*Due to inclement weather, the birdwatching trip to Tanza was called off.

September 24 – Birdwatch Philippines Community Day

WBCP members group shot 

Birdwatch Philippines Community Day was held at the Fishing Village of the Ninoy Aquino Park to bring together members of the Birdwatch Philippines Community FB group. At least 60 participants including club members showed up for the morning activities which started with a guided birdwatching trip. The program continued with Tien Oriana and Yani Barcenas as hosts. 

Mike Lu related how the Club started, Jops Josef gave a talk about optics for birdwatching, Karen Ochavo gave a talk about the illegal wildlife trade. Mijon Tangje gave a beautiful performance of an original song “Magpatuloy”, and a cover of Bullet Dumas’ song “Ninuno”.

There was a raffle draw with items from the Municipality of Victoria LGU (Tarlac) and the grand prize of the book, Naturalist Guide to Birds of the Philippiines. The merchandise table was kept busy as participants purchased tumblers, umbrellas, books, shirts, stickers and more.  Celestron set up a tent to sell binoculars and spotting scopes.     

The rental fee of the Fishing Village was waived by NAPWC management and rental of the wooden tables and benches was covered by CRV fund for bird conservation. One of the active participants of BPC brought buko pandan for everyone! The event came together with everyone’s participation, a dry run for next year’s hosting of the 13th Asian Bird Fair !

WBCP guides with participants of the guided birdwatching walk

September 24 – SeptemBIRDS at Ayala Heights part 2

Jops Josef (second from right) with workshop participants

WBCP member and bird photography enthusiast Jops Josef gave a talk on documenting wildlife for homeowners of Ayala Heights. This was the follow-up activity of the SeptemBirds project initiated by the Ayala Heights Village Association with WBCP. The talk not only focused on the different equipment and technical aspects of bird photography, but also gave emphasis on tips and proper wildlife photography etiquette.

September 25 – Radio Interview on Radyo Pilipinas

WBCP Vice President Karen Ochavo was a guest at the Radyo Pilipinas radio show Otro Cinco hosted by Ched Oliva last September 25. Karen shared about how the WBCP started 20 years ago and its current activities promoting birdwatching to the public, such as the recently concluded Birdwatch Philippines Community Day last September 24. She also highlighted the club’s campaign against illegal wildlife trade and urged everyone to report to the DENR in case of hunting and poaching encounters, and to avoid buying of wild birds that has become prevalent in online selling groups during the pandemic lockdowns. To conclude the interview, Karen invited listeners to follow WBCP’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram and view the website for more info about the club.

September 27 – Senate Hearing on Reclamation

The Club, represented by Mike Lu was invited to a public hearing for proposed Senate Resolution No. 300 – directing the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the reported large-scale land reclamation projects being undertaken on a nationwide scale in the Philippines that threaten coastal and marine ecosystems around the country (introduced by Senator Risa Hontiveros); and proposed Senate Resolution No. 759 –  directing the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the ongoing and proposed reclamation projects in Manila Bay and their latent effects on the environment, as well as on the evaluation process conducted by the Philippine Reclamation Authority in the approval of the reclamation projects (introduced by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III).  The room was full and many stakeholders, including the Club, were not able to give their opinion hence, a next hearing will be conducted next month. 

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