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.