Thursday, January 10, 2013

Quarry road, Bislig - 9th January

This is my first visit to this important birding area. I've planned visits several times before, but there has always been a snag, this time everything came together. I booked the incomparable Zardo Goring as our guide, and, after a 6 hour drive from Davao we were there! We stayed at the Paper Country Inn in Bislig, as every other birder does. 

Day 1 of our trip to Bislig started with a 3:30am start to look for owls. We heard a Giant Scops Owl calling near the vehicle, and played hide-and-seek with it for a while, but unfortunately never got a glimpse. With no other nightbirds around we headed to the quarry area for sunrise. The rain started as we arrived, a pattern that was to be repeated throughout our stay. We spent the morning alternately birding and sheltering from the rain, but still managed some excellent birds.

A pair of Philippine Needletails overhead at the quarry was an excellent start. Both Writhed Hornbill and Mindanao Hornbill showed well in the early morning, and mixed flocks contained a good selection of Mindanao specials including Rufous Paradise Flycatcher, Philippine Oriole, Spangled Drongo, Philippine Leafbird, Black-and-white Triller, Black-bibbed Cuckoo-Shrike (ssp. mindanensis), Naked-faced Spiderhunter, Metallic-winged Sunbird, Scarlet Minivet (ssp. gonzalesi), Stripe-headed Rhabdornis (ssp. minor) and Philippine Drongo-Cuckoo. An Olive-backed Flowerpecker (ssp. olivaceus) was a great surprise, a bird I have until now failed to catch up with, and I have no idea why.

Small numbers of Blue-crowned Racquet-tail (ssp. whiteheadi) moved among the fruiting trees, as did Philippine Fairy Bluebird, and a Black-faced Coucal showed well early on. Brown Tit-Babblers were ever-present. In the afternoon a female Black-headed Tailorbird responded to playback and showed well, but briefly.

A small hole in a dead tree provided shelter to at least 8 Philippine Falconets caught in a rain shower.

One the way back to town we stopped a stake-out Zardo knew of for the Southern Silvery Kingfisher. We found it almost immediately, and just as quickly it disappeared.

We ended the day with a brisk walk along the runway at Bislig airport where we caught up with Blue-breasted Quail.

Black-hooded Coucal. A spectacular bird, and surely the best looking Coucal in the world!
Writhed Hornbill. Not many seen, but this distant pair were the first birds of the morning.
Philippine Needletail. Not the greatest photograph of a really great Swift.
Black-bibbed Cuckoo-Shrike, ssp. mindanensis. Quite a tough bird to find, this was hanging around with a Black-and-white Triller.
Philippine Oriole.The only one we saw, but it posed wonderfully.
Philippine Leafbird. I like Leafbirds!
Blue-crowned Racquet-tail ssp. whiteheadi. Another long awaited bird, narrowly missed only a couple of weeks ago in Mindoro.
Philippine Drongo Cuckoo
Female Mindanao Hornbill. The commonest Hornbill, seen daily in almost all habitats.
Male Mindanao Hornbill.


  1. Lovely shot of the Phil. Oriole -- photo of the day definitely! - Ruth

  2. Brilliant photos, especially of the hornbills. Images of hornbills feeding or nesting are invaluable to our understanding of their biology and ecology - and for their conservation.