Saturday, November 17, 2012

Banahaw - 17 Nov

A good day on Mt Banahaw. Unfortunately Richard couldn't join me, so I headed off on my own, and picked up my guide Chris from the lodge. On the way up we passed flocks of Chestnut-faced Babblers, along with several calling Mountain Tailorbirds. The flowering plants had Colasisi, Metallic-winged Sunbird, Buzzing Flowerpecker, Pygmy Flowerpecker, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker. Once off the ATV trail I headed for the Whiskered Pitta site, this time the gully was quite dry and much less slippery than previously. On the way up a large mixed flock contained the following species; Yellowish White-eye, Mountain White-eye, Green-backed Whistler, Citrine Canary Flycatcher, Mountain Verditer, Mountain Leaf-Warbler, Balicassiao, Sulphur-billed Nuthatch, Bicolored Flowerpecker, Buzzing Flowerpecker, Elegant Tit, Blue-headed Fantail, Arctic Warbler. One of the largest and most diverse bird parties I've seen in a long time, excellent entertainment. At several points up the gully we heard large birds flapping in the trees, and a couple of times the soft calls of Flame-breasted Fruit Doves, but we couldn't catch sight of them. Close to the top we disturbed a raptor from the forest floor. It flew about 5 feet over our heads and landed in a tree, posing nicely. Philippine Serpent-Eagle.

We headed down at about midday, with not much to be seen until we got almost to the village where we encountered another flock. This time it was mainly Flowerpeckers (Orange-bellied and Buzzing), Arctic Warbler and Metallic-winged Sunbird. As we left the flock we spotted a male Narcissus Flycatcher immediately above us. Assuming this bird was the last hurrah we started down the final stretch of trail when Chris motioned me to stop. Low down, just off the trail we saw movement. At first it was impossible to tell what was there, as we waited we got tantalising glimpses, but they added up to a real mystery. Eventually it transpired that there were at least 4 birds of 2 species, in an area of forest about 4mx4mx4m. The initial bird was a female Snowy-browed Flycatcher, a male showed briefly, as did a second female (or juvenile male). The fourth bird was a Green-backed Whistler.

Snowy-browed Flycatcher ssp dulangana. An odd species. I've seen these in Thailand, but they seem quite tricky to find here. There are 8 endemic subspecies listed in the Field Guide, the one here is restricted to Luzon and Mindoro.

I'm not sure whether this is a female or a juvenile. It has a clearly greyish head compared with its back, different from the third bird in this set.

And a male nearby. He didn't hang around long.
This is definitely a female
Green-backed Whistler

Male Narcissus Flycatcher

Female Metallic-winged Sunbird
 Philippine Serpent-Eagle


  1. I love these different species of birds. If I have time I go for a week of bird watching maybe in Palawan or in Mount Banahaw.

    More fun the in the Philippines!

    bird watching Philippines

  2. Paul, for the Snowy-browed FC. The two you are not sure about are immature male birds. Also, better to use mindorensis rather than the problematic dulungana.