Saturday, February 26, 2011

Week ending 27th February - IRRI, Corregidor

Birding on the farm was interrupted by the annual grade 8 camp in Subic. Little time for birding, apart from incidentally on Corregidor on Thursday. Lots of Black-naped Orioles and Asian Glossy Starlings around, with a few Brahminy Kites as well. On the way a few Black-headed Gulls on the fish traps.

A quick trip around IRRI on Friday. Single Brahminy Kite and Common Kestrel were nice. It looks like the Green Sandpiper has gone, I haven't seen it for a week. The Peregrine was present on Monday, but gone by Friday.

Common Kestrel. This seems to be a regular early spring passage migrant. Annual records between late Feb and late March over the last 3 years, all on the upland farm.

Brahminy Kite. Showing a similar annual pattern to Common Kestrel, but a bit more spread out (mid Jan to Mid March)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week ending 20th February - IRRI

Very little activity on the farms this week, barring finding a (Philippine) Blue Rock Thrush on one of the IRRI buildings. I've seen them on buildings just outside the compound before, but this was my first on-site. I only saw it once, but am pretty sure it'll be around for a while so hopefully I'll get a chance for a picture.

Aside from that the best bird was a Philippine Scops Owl that I finally coaxed into view in a neighbour's garden midweek. They call regularly near the house (but not at our previous place, odd that), more so than the Philippine Hawk-Owls which are in fact more numerous generally.

Ringing was restricted to a few hours on Sunday morning, and all I caught was a single Cinnamon Bittern. Hopefully better sited nets in a couple of weeks will improve this score.

This Cinnamon Bittern gave me a peck which impressed Conor no end, "daddy, you're bleeding!". That's what a serrated bill will do for you...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Week ending 13th February - IRRI

Little change on the farms during the week, with both Green Sandpiper and Peregrine very static. On Tuesday a pair of Osprey came through quite low over the experimental farm, calling and displaying to each other. Presumably they are breeding on Laguna Bay nearby, though it is not a very clean body of water.

A family walk on the UPLB campus produced three Indigo-Banded Kingfishers in different spots on the stream. A small flock of House Swifts also made their presence felt with a fantastic screaming display.

The big news this week was the arrival of the rings for my ringing project. After 9 months of applying for permits, sending emails and badgering scientists I'm finally up and running. I started by putting nets at the unused paddy adjacent to the Open University building (site 1). There is always a fair bit of traffic here, and quite a lot of overgrown edges etc. I didn't want to catch too many birds on my first day back, and the wind ensured I didn't! Only 7 birds, of 6 species:

Painted Snipe
White-browed Crake
Barn Swallow
Zebra Dove
Scaly-breasted Munia
Red Turtle Dove

Snipe spp. The ringing project is aimed at working out which species occur on the farms, and where.

Juvenile Lesser Coucal, coming into adult plumage

Little Egret, looking very smart

Paddyfield Pipit

Female Painted Snipe

Los Banos Ringing Group's youngest member, apprentice ringer Conor Bourdin, checking the nets.

A gorgeous Green Crested Lizard. Caught by a friend, these incredibly fast lizards are common, but hard to take pictures of.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Week ending 6th February - IRRI, Makiling

On the farms the Green Sandpiper and Peregrine continue to spend the winter here, and a Slaty-breasted Rail has joined the Sandpiper in its paddy.

On Sunday a slow stroll up Makiling was very productive. While attempting to lure a White-browed Shama into the open for a photograph I disturbed a small Night-Heron spp. It had been perched on a low branch (about 3m from the ground) and all I really saw was it taking off with its back to me, maybe a second's view of a small-heron shaped, basically brown bird. Two species of forest-dwelling Night Herons occur here, both migratory. Malaysian Night Heron, and Japanese Night Heron. The first is apparently 'scarce' while the other is 'rare' (Kennedy et al). They both have a similarly brown back. No idea which one it was, but it had to be one of them.

The only other noteworthy incident was a bird party consisting of Yellowish White-eye, Philippine Tailorbird, Black-naped Monarch and Elegant Tits. Nice to get the Tailorbird, they are usually only heard, and are very hard to see

Male Pied Bushchat

Flying Lizard, Draco spilopterus. It's not a bird, but it does fly!

From left to right, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper