A trip to Bangkhong Kahoy valley on the occasion of Chinese New Year. Dion met us at 6:00am, and we drove further up the mountain. Our aim was to bird some of the lower slopes of Mt. Banahaw and investigate some of the records of montane species being seen here.
At the parking spot a juvenile Philippine Hawk-Eagle drifted across, and perched up in a tree on the hill above us. An excellent sign! We set off up the trail, and within 15 minutes had our first encounter with our target bird, Chestnut-faced Babbler. I'd heard about these from posts on the Philippine bird photography forum. I'd dipped at Mt. Polis in August, and was delighted to finally catch up with them. They were in company with a mixed species flock, with Elegant Tit, Blue-headed Fantail, Yellowish White-eye, Mountain White-eye, Balicassiao, Mountain Leaf-Warbler and Mountain Verditer. The leaf-warbler in particular was a surprise, not the last for the day either.
Further up the mountain a fruiting tree was full of Balicassiao, giving various raucous calls. In amongst was a woodpecker call, and there on the tree in front was a Sooty Woodpecker! I certainly had not heard of them being seen here before, and this was a big surprise. Soon after this Red-crested Malkoha and Luzon Flameback showed briefly.
The morning continued in this vein, with regular mixed species flocks. The Chestnut-faced Babblers proved to be very common, other species seen were; Colasisi, Bicolored Flowerpecker, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Buzzing Flowerpecker, Citrine Canary-Flycatcher, Green-backed Whistler, Arctic Warbler, Philippine Bulbul, Scale-feathered Malkoha and Philippine Cuckoo-Dove.
Above the forest were Pygmy Swiftlet, and a plain swiftlet I assume to be Philippine Swiftlet.