Menu Close

WBCP Roundup of Club Activities: April to June 2024

Compiled by Mike Lu

APRIL 2024

April 6-11: Club Expedition to Ilocos Norte and Calayan Island

WBCP members Enrico Legaspi, Diuvs de Jesus, Cecil Morella, Angie Macunan, Nikdye Realubit, and Neil Serle, embarked on an expedition in search of the Calayan Rail.  With partial subsidy from the Club’s Honey Lu Fund, the group assembled in Laoag where resident Richard Ruiz showed them Japanese Yellow Bunting, Grey-throated Martins, and other migrants in his favorite sites. The group then headed for the jump-off point in Aparri and headed for Calayan Island in the Babuyan Islands.     

The adventurers pose for a group shot at picturesque Sibang Cove.

After a 5-hour ferry ride, the group reached Calayan Island and explored Sibang Cove in the afternoon where they saw Malaysian Plover and Brown-eared Bulbul.  The next day, the group started on a 6-hour trek to see the Calayan Rail with an overnight stay in a forest warden’s hut, but failed to secure good views of the elusive target bird. An extended day due to cancellation of sea transport also did not give the birders the expected lifer. There were other birds though such as the Whistling Green Pigeon and the Ryuku Scops Owl.  The trip back to the Luzon mainland transitioned from calm seas to rough waves and choppy waters. The boat reached Claveria safely with welcome views of a pair of Philippine Ducks and a White-bellied Sea-Eagle.

Ryuku Scops Owl by Enrico Legaspi.

April 7: Club Trip @ Heritage Park, Taguig

Spur-of-the-moment club trip to the Heritage Park in Taguig City to catch a glimpse of migrating Chestnut-cheeked Starlings which have been known to frequent the area during the spring migration. Club members Mike Lu, Joshua Cerdenia, and the Buhaynon family – Paul, Jed, Zian, and Ziel – wandered around the pond area to see Common Kingfisher, White-breasted Waterhen, and Eurasian Moorhen while the grasslands harbored the usual residents – Chestnut Munia, Striated Grassbird, and Spotted Dove. Towards the late afternoon, the first flock of Chestnut-cheeked Starlings showed up, as did two smaller flocks but all of them flew past the park. Moments later one huge flock of starlings made a quick aerial show and disappeared towards the north. Hopefully, birders will get better views next season.

The last huge flock of Chestnut-cheeked Starlings. 

April 9: Guided trip @ Las Piñas–Parañaque Wetland Park

Black-winged Stilts on Freedom Island

WBCP’s monthly guided trip was held at the Las Piñas–Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP) in time to see the last of the migrant birds before they return to their breeding grounds in the Asian mainland. The 28 participants saw Little Egrets, Whiskered Terns, and other common waterbirds at the Wetland Center and took a hike to Freedom Island to see a flock of Black-winged Stilts assembled by the beach. The group also took a hike through the beach forest to the mangrove boardwalk. The guided trip was led by Mike Lu with Joshua Cerdenia, Nick Champlon, James Mangun, Kathleen Pardo, and Dave and Andi O’meara.

Group photo at the beach forest hiking trail on Freedom Island.

April 14: Optisan Optics field test and guided birdwatching trip at Tagalag Eco Park, Valenzuela City

In partnership with the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, Haring Ibon – newly-appointed distributor of Optisan Optics (Taiwan), hosted a field test of its binoculars and spotting scopes for a selected number of participants on 30-minute birdwatching sessions for a total of 6 sessions. As a simultaneous activity, the WBCP invited the Valenzuela City Tourism Office and officers of Barangay Tagalag to a guided birdwatching session. The participating Valenzuelanos were surprised at the diversity of the bird species, and plans were discussed on how to further promote birdwatching in Tagalag. Mike Lu and Irynn Abano guided the Valenzuela LGU group while Maia Tanedo and Djop Tabaranza representing Haring Ibon took the lead in the Optisan Optics field test.   

Participants of the guided trip for Valenzuela City LGU and Barangay Tagalag residents.

April 17: Mt Makiling Forest Reserve, Los Banos, Laguna

Subic-based birder Marilyn Gates referred her friend, visiting birder Debbie Wagner, to club members to accompany her to Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve.  Enrico Legaspi, Ana Alacantara, and Makiling-based Carmel Eje eagerly volunteered to show the birds of Makiling. The Luzon Hornbills just outside Carmel’s office gave a good show, while other highlights were Philippine Trogon, Purple-throated Sunbird, and Rough-crested Malkoha.

(L-R) Enrico Legaspi, Ana Alcantara, Carmel Eje and visiting birder Debbie Wagner

April 20: Earth Day Forbes Park Guided trip

In celebration of Earth Day, the Forbes Park Homeowners Association requested a guided birdwalk for its residents. WBCP members Moleen del Rosario and Lia Infante were among the residents and they led the group along with Gwen So, Linda Gocon, Enrico Legaspi, Bambi Martinez, Mark Villa, Mike Lu, and Karen and Subra Ramakrishnan. The 2-1/2 hour morning walk resulted in a 20+ species bird list which amazed the long-time residents. Another walk is being planned to accommodate other residents who were not able to join this trip.   

April 20: Earth Day at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park

The WBCP was invited to the awarding ceremony of the “I am a Wetland Hero” reels contest of the DENR-NCR in celebration of the 17th establishment anniversary of the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP) on Earth Day. WBCP Vice President Karen Ochavo gave a talk on how WBCP founders provided years of birdwatching data that initiated the inclusion of this coastal area south of Manila Bay into the annual Asian Waterbird Census, that eventually led to its declaration as a critical habitat and ecotourism area in 2007. Other guests were Senator Cynthia Villar, DENR-NCR RED Jacqueline Caancan, and the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands Executive Director Amy Lecciones. After the ceremony, LPPWP staff set up a spotting scope by the Wetland Center to let participants watch Whiskered Terns and Little Egrets that were hanging out on the rocks by the shore across the wetland center.

Participants try birdwatching at the Wetland Center.

April 20: ABF Organizing Committee Meeting at Villa-Real residence, Quezon City

The volunteers for the Organizing Committee of the 13th Asian Bird Fair met up on a late Saturday afternoon to discuss preparations for the big event to be held later in the year on  November 21 and 22, 2024.  The WBCP hosted the 1st Asian Bird Fair in Davao City in 2010 and this is only the first time that the ABF is returning to the Philippines.  The 2-day bird fair also includes a one-day birdwatching and cultural tour.  Invitations have been sent out to conservation NGOs, birding tour companies, LGUs and optics companies.  Initially the sponsors are Villar Sipag, DENR-NCR, Team Energy Foundation, Primer Group of Companies, Tourism Promotions Board.  WBCP Execom Mike Lu, Karen Ochavo, Nikdye Realubit, Tommy Tan, also had an Execom meeting after the planning session. Other members in attendance were Ana Alcantara, Tinggay Cinco, Chee Ann de Guzman, Anna Gonzales, Jesam Jimenez, Rose Lacson, Maia Tanedo, and Alice Villa-Real, who gladly opened up her house for the meeting.     

Organizing committee members at the Villa-real residence.

MAY 2024

May 1: Club Trip to Caylabne Bay Resort, Ternate (Cavite)

Philippine Ducks have found refuge inside the Caylabne Bay Resort.

Club members planned a trip for visiting American birder couple Jim and Davina Stewart to Caylabne Bay Resort. Early arrivals Russell Andaya, Jorge Ramos, Mike Lu, Des Cambaliza, and Charo Lim stopped by the forest road to enjoy good views of a pair of Sooty Woodpeckers and other forest birds. Inside the resort the resident Philippine Ducks were 200-strong. Some of the highlights were Scale-feathered Malkoha, Red-crested Malkoha, Island-Collared Dove, and a migrant Grey-streaked Flycatcher. Rex Durban and Juan Mesquida caught up with the group as everyone sat down for early lunch. Most birders left at noon and got good views of Philippine Falconets and a Luzon Flameback on the highway.  

May 9: Guided Trip for Sycamore School in Carmeltown, Calamba (Laguna)

Students of the Sycamore School take a group photo with parents and WBCP guides.

WBCP members Nikdye Realubit, Eire Daproza, Neil Serle, and Russel Andaya guided 33 students and parents for the Sycamore school at The Strip in Carmeltown, Calamba (Laguna.) Among the most easily seen bird species were Black-naped Orioles, Yellow-vented Bulbuls, and swift and swallow species. Two resident species afforded fantastic views to all the participants – an obliging male Pied Bushchat as well as a Collared Kingfisher perched on a fence showing off its turquoise jewel tones in the light. An endemic Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker sealed the deal for this birding and nature journaling combination event with the group enthusiastically shouting let’s go birding again!

May 11: Guided trip for PwC Philippines in the University of the Philippines – Diliman campus (Quezon City)

Ten volunteers – Karen Ochavo, Dindo Malonzo, Justine Abano, Sanne Unson, Sophia Bantillan, Josh Cerdenia, Lisa Kirscher, Anna Gonzalez, Pearl Canlas, and Melisa Didios, heeded the call of fellow WBCP member Ricky De Castro who organized the guided birdwatching trip for 12 of his fellow staff and family members at PwC (PricewaterCoopers) Philippines. The group started at 6:45 am with an orientation at the steps of the College of Science Library where a pair of Black-naped Orioles and a lone Crested Mynah flew into view. The group headed to the Institute of Biology where Collared Kingfisher and a Philippine Hanging Parrot gave very good views. The tour concluded at the Marine Science Institute where the endemic Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker showed up. The group listed 14 species and the PwC staff shared their insights and what they learned from the experience.     

WBCP member Lisa Kirscher giving the orientation. 

JUNE 2024

June 2: Guided trip at Tagalag Eco Park, Valenzuela City

Happy birdwatchers pose for a group photo at the end of the trip.

After a one-month hiatus due to the extreme heat, the WBCP resumed the monthly guided trip with a visit to the Tagalag Eco Park. With WBCP bird guides Maia Tanedo, Mike Lu, Michele Logarta, and Dindo Malonzo, 17 participants – including a group of 4 who travelled from Nueva Vizcaya – joined the guided birdwatching trip. More than 20 resident species were recorded including a showy pair of Pheasant-tailed Jacanas and a family of Philippine Swamphens with 3 juveniles.

June 2: Ocular trip in DLSU-Laguna, Binan, Laguna

Upon the invitation of DLSU USO Executive Director Nonoi Maralit to visit De La Salle University-Laguna Campsite and Ecopark, WBCP president Mike Lu was joined by a few Biology students accompanied by Biology Department Faculty Laurence Robles and Laguna Hub Sustainability Coordinator Alex Quillo. The ocular visit was to see the new trail to the campsite and the linear forest set aside as an ecopark. The Biology students were introduced to birdwatching and the group recorded 20 species, which included a small group of female Red Junglefowls with chicks and a pair of Guaiaberos. The WBCP partnered with DLSU many years ago and hopefully can renew the partnership again.

June 8-9: 35th Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race, Malaysia

Team WBCP Birdlets:
Patcha Pangatungan
Timmy Romero
Ana Alcantara

The Malaysian Nature Society invited the WBCP to participate in the annual Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race last June 8-9 in Pahang, Malaysia. The WBCP members volunteered to represent the Club in two categories. WBCP Birdlets composed of members Ana Alcantara, Patcha Pangatungan, and Timmy Romero joined the Novice category, while WBCP Twitchers composed of David John Angeles, Enrico Legaspi, and Ria Vanessa de la Cruz joined the Advanced category. It was a fantastic opportunity for participants to see new birds, explore a whole new country, and most importantly, share experiences and stories with other participants who are just as passionate about birds. Perfect weather and the vastness of birding spots in Fraser’s Hill made birding there an absolute joy. To top things off, the WBCP Birdlets were able to nab second place in the Novice category!  

Novice category second placers (third from left to right) Timmy Romero, Patcha Pangatuan and Ana Alcantara.

June 9: Ocular trip to Sta. Elena Golf and Country Estate, Sta. Rosa, Laguna

The WBCP was invited to the Sta. Elena Golf and Country Estate for an ocular trip prior to conducting a guided trip for its residents. General Manager Mary Grace Estueta led WBCP members Mike Lu, Bom Gomez, Gabbi Gomez, and Luis Gomez as they toured the 27-hole, 120-hectare golf course and recorded more than 40 species easily from their golf carts. Most notable were the good number of Red-Collared Doves, a small flock of Pink-necked Green Pigeons, White-bellied Munia, and Red Junglefowl. A visit later in the year will surely add more species as migrant species come to visit.    

June 17: Guided trip at the University of the Philippines, Quezon City

Twenty seven participants joined the guided trip at the University of the Philippines campus. The group assembled at the Marine Science Institute and moved around the Science complex to see the resident Black-naped Oriole, White-breasted Woodswallow, Long-tailed Shrike and more. Then the group made a quick stop behind the Math building to see the Rufous Paradise Flycatcher, a Luzon forest endemic first seen by newbie member Karl James Gavero. A final stop at the newly-constructed wetland park added a few more species to round off a total of 21 bird species seen. WBCP volunteer guides were Dette de Venecia, Mike Lu, Joshua Cerdenia, Eby Kangleon, Aly Ellis, and Karl James Gavero.

Another group of 6 participants requested an afternoon birding activity with Mike Lu.  The Rufous Paradise Flycatcher showed itself well and there were more birds at the wetland park such as Red Collared Dove, Scaly-breasted Munia, and Striated Grassbird.

Rufous Paradise Flycatcher, a Luzon forest endemic, recorded for the first time in the University of the Philippines.

June 28: Park Walkthrough at La Mesa Eco Park, Quezon City

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines led by Mike Lu, Karen Ochavo, and Jayce Japlit together with other environment partners and content creators attended a walkthrough a day prior to the opening of the La Mesa Eco Park. Now managed by the Manila Water Foundation, phase one of the park has reopened to the general public which includes picnic areas, wall climbing, rappelling, and archery tag. Manila Water Foundation aims to preserve the park as a place to experience and learn about the environment and biodiversity. The La Mesa Ecopark is a partnership among MWSS, the Quezon City Government, and Manila Water Company.

Group photo with other invitees to the La Mesa Ecopark.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *