Saturday, September 22, 2012

Makiling and IRRI - Week ending 23 Sept

Migration continues on the farms, with new arrivals this week in the form of Grey Wagtail and (Philippine) Blue Rock Thrush. There are still quite a few Pacific Golden Plovers, Oriental Pratincoles, Yellow Wagtails and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, with a smaller number of Long-toed Stints present. On Friday 16 Black-winged Stilts were scattered through the farms, the bulk being in a flock of 12 on the main experimental farm. Brown Shrikes have arrived in force now.

On Sunday I took a stroll on the lower trail at Makiling. It's still fairly quiet, but a few good birds showed. Very few migrants yet, Brown Shrike being the only one visible. Birds seen included Philippine Drongo Cuckoo, Philippine Woodpecker, Bar-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike, Black-and-White Triller, Yellow-wattled Bulbul, Philippine Bulbul, Balicassiao, Elegant Tit, Stripe-headed Rhabdornis, Black-naped Monarch, Brown Shrike, Brown-throated Sunbird, Lovely Sunbird, Striped Flowerpecker and Red-keeled Flowerpecker. The heard-only list had some high-quality birds, including Luzon Hornbill, Philippine Trogon, Spotted Wood-Kingfisher, White-browed Shama and Grey-backed Tailorbird.

Nice adult Black-winged Stilt...
... and a scruffier juvenile.
Long-toed Stints still passing through.
And Grey Wagtails just arrived
Juvenile Cinnamon Bittern
Brown Shrikes are now pretty much everywhere. This one looking very much like a female confusus
Female (Philippine) Blue Rock Thrush

Philippine Macaque. This was part of the largest troop I've yet seen on Makiling. The troop was also the lowest I've seen on the mountain, and it seemed less skittish. There doesn't appear to be any reason why Macaques should be any less scared of people now, I heard 2 gun-shots this morning which is pretty standard.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

San Juan and IRRI - week ending 16 Sept

The heavy rains continued this week, with consequently few decent birding opportunities. I got down to the fields a couple of times, to find the first Brown Shrikes, Yellow Wagtails and Common Kingfishers of autumn. Other migrants included more Pacific Golden Plovers in various stages of moult and several Long-toed Stints.

On Sunday Richard and I headed over to San Juan to see if any waders had arrived. The water levels were very high, with few waders in evidence. A Greenshank with unusually yellow legs caused some brief excitement. Other than that little of interest other than Marsh Sandpipers, Whimbrel, more Pacific Golden Plovers, several Tawny Grassbirds and a small flock of Pink-necked Green Pigeons.

Red-keeled Flowerpecker at IRRI Staff Housing
 Intermediate Egret
Pacific Golden Plovers are passing through in some numbers, and in a variety of stages of plumage. Many are in full non-breeding dress...
 ...while others retain bits and pieces.
Common Kingfishers have turned up this week for the first time.

 Strange purple mangrove crab
 Mud-skipper sp.
The Fiddler Crabs in the mangroves are very entertaining..
... and come in both left-handed and right-handed varieties
I believe this is a Dog-faced Water Snake, Cerberus rynchops in a drainage ditch lined with mangrove trees on the fish farm at San Juan. The identity of reptiles in the Philippines can be tricky to establish, so it is perfectly possible I am entirely wrong. If anyone can correct me with the real information I would really appreciate it.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

IRRI - week ending 1 Sept

A quiet week overall, but with a few migrants trickling through. Only one Long-toed Stint remained with the Wood Sandpipers, but a Black-winged Stilt stayed for a few days, and a Pacific Golden Plover was present on Saturday. A surprise bird on the same day was a Long-tailed Shrike right outside the IRRI offices, they are normally in the drier paddies. 

Female Painted Snipe
Black-winged Stilt
Cinnamon Bittern
Long-tailed Shrike
Female Barred Buttonquail
Pacific Golden Plover
White-breasted Waterhen