Saturday, December 4, 2010

Week ending 5th December - IRRI, Makiling

Not an easy week to get into the fields, as exams are approaching and work-time is starting to encroach on birding time. Nevertheless a couple of nice afternoons with an hour or two to spare. Not much new, bar a single Common Kestrel on the 1st, but the Clamorous Reed Warbler corner on the upland farm is humming! Also nearby the rank growth is attracting Lesser Coucal and Bright-capped Cisticola (both pictured below), the latter in breeding dress and looking very smart. Lots of Whiskered Terns about, and the enormous flock of Grey Wagtails is still present, again on the upland farms.

Sunday I awoke having dreamed of seeing a juvenile Cream-bellied Fruit-Dove. I took this as an omen and did the lower part of the Makiling trail. Amazingly my dream proved to be somewhat propitious as I did find a new dove for the site, Philippine Cuckoo-Dove! I'd read reports of these being seen here, but as they are pretty large, have a very distinctive call, and are not particularly shy I'd assumed that my not having seen or heard them was a sign that everyone else was stringing White-eared Brown Doves. Not so! The bird flew across the path behind me, sat in the open(ish) for several minutes looking at me, then moved to another branch a little further away, before finally disappearing after a good 4 or 5 minutes. An extraordinary record, and one that just goes to show... something or other. The rest of the trail was fairly quiet. A Philippine Serpent Eagle was perched over the trail, a flowering vine had attracted Lovely, Flaming and Plain-throated Sunbirds as well as Philippine Bulbul, Philippine Hanging Parrot (Colasisi) and Black-naped Monarch, and two Bar-bellied Cuckoo-Shrikes were at TREES lodge, along with a small flock of Ashy Minivets.

ADUC records so far for early December: Common Kestrel, Lesser Coucal, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Bright-capped Cisticola, White-bellied Munia

Bright-capped Cisticola in breeding plumage. Small numbers on the upland farms, mainly in rank grass. Possibly only one or two pairs.

Juvenile Lesser Coucal

Philippine Cuckoo-Dove. ssp tenuirostris. This appears to be a male (no fine barring on collar). The second photograph shows (faintly due to poor light) the metallic gloss on the collar, which is indicative of males.

Scale-feathered Malkoha. A distant view in not-very-good light, but still a magnificent bird

Male Philippine Hanging Parrot (Colasisi). spp philippensis. The only race on Luzon, philippensis have a red forehead and forecrown, and the males have a red patch on the throat to the upper breast

Grey-streaked Flycatcher. A common winter visitor, this one was outside my house at ISH.

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