Monday, December 19, 2011

Negros, Dumaguete - 18th December

A quick trip to Negros, almost scuppered by a typhoon which swirled in late in the week, dumping huge amounts of water, with the heaviest fall being early Saturday morning. All appeared to be clear by the time Sunday dawned and Rene picked me up with a motorbike for a trip to Twin Lakes, the premier spot in this area. The road goes throught the mountains, and what with deforestation and all, the road was blocked by landslides.

The first two we could walk over...

 ... but the third...

This meant a rethink of the whole trip. Rene suggested going for the Flame-templed Babbler at a site closer to Dumaguete city, so that's what we did. The only bird of note by the landslides was a Visayan Bulbul, a recent split from the Philippine Bulbul complex.

The site is near an undistinguished coconut grove. A short scramble down the nearby gully, and we were in a little patch of very nice forest. As with all the remaining forest in this country it was on a steep slope, but the birds were calling. On the way down we had a gorgeous male Spotted Wood Kingfisher, of the Visayan race moseleyi. In the forest itself Rene expertly whistled up the Babbler, which responded, but refused to show itself. While waiting we had views of White-vented Whistler and the local white-bellied race of Balicassiao, mirabilis.

Male Spotted Wood Kingfisher, A. l. moseleyi. Differs from the Luzon race (A. l. lindsayi) in black (not green) fringes to back and wing feathers, sadly not visible in this picture.
The Visayan endemic race of Balicassiao, D. b. mirabilis. The white belly clearly visible here...

Aside from Blue-headed Fantail and Black-naped Monarch nothing else was moving, so we headed to Rene's house. He has started a kind of Visayan endemic arboretum, and this attracts lots of birds, specifically the Visayan Flowerpecker which showed well after some searching. Other birds there included Arctic Warbler, Purple-throated Sunbird and Olive-backed Sunbird. After leaving Rene's I wandered about on the coast. A squeaking bush turned out to be full of Java Sparrows, and three Javan Pond Herons were on a small patch of swamp.

Visayan Flowerpecker (aka Black-belted Flowerpecker). A little stunner!
Male Olive-backed Sunbird
Not a bird, but it does fly! A Common Flying Lizard, showing its neck-flap
No sign of any yellow on the underparts of what I presume to be an Arctic Warbler.

Javan Pond Heron moulting out of breeding plumage?

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