Saturday, February 9, 2013

Week ending 10th Feb - IRRI, ISH, Makiling Botanical Gardens

With the Makiling Trail closed until March all my birding recently has been in the rice fields at IRRI, around IRRI staff housing and the occasional wander in the Botanical Gardens. While there has been nothing too spectacular I've seen and heard a good selection of birds.

Makiling Botanical Gardens: I visited this spot on both of the last two Sundays. The best bird was an Ashy-breasted Flycatcher high in a tree about halfway between the gate and the bridge on the right hand side. It didn't pose very long for photos, disappearing for long periods, but over the space of an hour I had enough detail to be happy with the identification of this elusive endemic. Other good birds over the last two visits included Red-crested Malkoha, Luzon Hornbill, Bar-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike and Grey-throated Sunbird.
IRRI staff housing: A pair of Spotted Buttonquails crossing the road outside my house one afternoon were my first of this species in a couple of years. Other birds around the complex include regularly calling Philippine Nightjar, Philippine Hawk-Owl and Philippine Scops Owls.

IRRI fields: The state of the rice fields is such that there is little open mud, so very few waders are around. The Peregrine is still on its pylon, and winter visitors such as Common Kingfisher and Brown Shrike are still everywhere.

 Red-crested Malkoha
 Pygmy Flowerpecker outside my front door, my most reliable spot for them!

Female Bar-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike ssp. striata, with a combination of grey throat and breast with black and white barred belly. Quite different from the male which is almost unbarred in this race.
 Long-tailed Shrike
 Pied Bush-Chat

 Green Paddy Frog
 Skink spp.

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