Friday, August 24, 2012

Bangkhong Kahoy, Banahaw - 25th August

After hearing news of the Whiskered Pitta nest discovered on Banahaw while I was on holiday in Namibia I was determined to get up there as soon as possible to see for myself. The nest is half an hour's scramble up a gully that I've crossed several times before. It is of course no longer active, and the forest is very wet and slippery, but come the dry season next year, when the Pittas are calling I shall be back!

Not seeing the Pitta was no surprise, and in fact the trip was a great success as I found a feeding group of 4 Flame-breasted Fruit-Doves while hiking to the nest site. Absolutely massive, I thought they might be Hornbills at first, until I got one in the bins. While taking a picture of one of these extraordinary birds my guide, Tony, alerted me to something else much closer. This turned out to be an Island Thrush, another long sought after lifer. I got poor record shots of both birds, in a frantic couple of minutes that left me breathless and with a pounding heart.

The rest of the birds were the by now regular Banahaw selection, including; Chestnut-faced Babbler, Mountain Tailorbird, Mountain Verditer, Blue-headed Fantail, Metallic-winged Sunbird, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Pygmy Flowerpecker, Yellowish White-eye and Elegant Tit.

Flame-breasted Fruit-Dove, peering down at me from on high. I've heard these a few times at Banahaw, but to actually see them was fantastic!
Island Thrush, ssp. thomassoni. All dark, like a small Blackbird. Despite the fact that this was a fairly confiding bird I really struggled to get a decent photograph. Now I know where they are I shall try again...
 The by now regular Chestnut-faced Babbler.
My first photograph of a Blue-headed Fantail. They don't normally sit still long enough for portraits.
Mountain Verditer Flycatcher.

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