Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Eden Nature Park, Davao - 7th January

On the way to Bislig we stopped at Eden Nature Park in Davao to investigate a site I had heard about through Mark Wallbank, and an excellent article by Pete Simpson on the ebon blog. The resort is very well wooded, and a brief wander produced Everett's White-eyes as well as other common species. We set off up the mountain to the army camp at about 1pm, hiring a couple of motorbikes at the gate to get us there. The camp sits astride the path to the birding site, and negotiations with the soldiers is necessary. Our motorbike rider did this for us.

Once through the camp the birding started immediately. The first 50m or so are fairly open on both sides, and almost the first tree we met on the right held a pair of Whiskered Flowerpeckers, the key bird at the site. They were very confiding, staying stationary for at least 15 minutes while we watched. Our attention was drawn by a bird party containing several other species of Flowerpecker, including Orange-bellied (ssp. cinereigularis), Olive-capped, Pygmy, Buzzing (ssp. pontifex), Fire-breasted (ssp. apo) and Red-keeled. Mountain White-eyes were also in the party, and were entirely unconcerned by our presence.

Further up the trail a bird party on the left contained the bright yellow nigroluteus race of Scarlet Minivet, Philippine Fairy Bluebird, Sulphur-billed Nuthatch (ssp. apo), Spangled Drongo, Metallic-winged Sunbird and a solitary Grey-Hooded Sunbird. A pair of dead trees at the top of the short trail held half a dozen Stripe-breasted Rhabdornis, and a Stripe-headed Rhabdornis (ssp. minor) was seen on the way down. At about 4pm the heavens opened and we squelched our way back to the resort. The only other bird of note was a calling Everett's Scops Owl heard while I was showering, in the trees outside the room, but no luck finding it after its first brief squawk.

All I will add to Pete Simpson's excellent site directions is that there are motorbikes (with riders) waiting at the gate of Eden Nature Park who are willing to take birders up to the army camp. They charged us 100 pesos each, and I estimate they saved us at least a 2 hour slog! Well worth the small investment.

Whiskered Flowerpecker.The key bird at the site, one of the very few places where it can be seen regularly. These birds were extremely confiding, though the conditions for photography were poor.
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, ssp. apo. Nice to see this spectacular flowerpecker here. Differs from the luzionense race on Banahaw by glossy-green sides of head, darker olive-green flanks and brighter yellow undertail-coverts.
 Everett's White-eye, ssp. basilanicus.
 Mountain White-eye, ssp. vulcani.
Scarlet Minivet, ssp. nigroluteus. This bright yellow race is endemic to Mindanao, and is a candidate for a future split

1 comment:

  1. Amazing mountain white-eye photo. I was not attentive to birds when I went to Eden nature park. All I saw were peacocks. :)