Saturday, March 30, 2013

Makiling - 31st March

The trail up Makiling was reopened a couple of weeks ago, and this was my first chance to get up there. I was accompanied by Richard and a birder from Dubai, Simon. As it was clear, and quite hot, birding was limited to the early hours of the day. Bird of the day was a great pair of Spotted Wood Kingfishers perched on vines just before the Buko sellers. Several Luzon Hornbills called throughout the morning, but only one showed itself. A small group of Sulphur-billed Nuthatch were joined by an Elegant Tit, but it sadly didn't form into a larger party. Both Philippine Bulbul and Yellow-wattled Bulbul were noisy and obvious, as were several Ballicassiao. A small group of Red-crested Malkoha were also present at the lower part of the trail. Several Chinese Goshawk were seen at various spots, and over the forest were a couple of Philippine Serpent Eagles, and a pair of Pacific White-rumped Swift, my first of this species for a long time.

Heard-only birds included Grey-backed Tailorbird, White-browed Shama and Black-chinned Fruit Dove.

Male Spotted Wood-Kingfisher
Male Luzon Hornbill
Chinese Goshawk
Philippine Serpent Eagle

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Botanical Gardens and ISH - 17th March

A not very early start at the Botanical Gardens for Richard and myself, and it showed. Birdlife was very thin on the ground, with a flock of Ashy Minivets and a single Pechora Pipit the only birds of note in the forest. A flock of 9 Grey-faced Buzzards overhead prompted us to try a little raptor watching from the staff housing complex. There were lots of Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, and 6 Purple Needletails, but no further raptors. Lots of sunbirds were coming to the flowers in the staff gardens, but overall it was a quiet day.

Blue-tailed Bee-eater.
Male Olive-backed Sunbird.
 Male Purple-throated Sunbird.
Flying Lizard.

Friday, March 1, 2013

IRRI - 2nd March

A short walk on the upland farm this morning with Richard and Michael. The morning started slowly, with only Philippine Nightjars before sunrise. A few commuting Black-crowned Night Herons passed the groups of Cattle Egrets going the other way, hot-bedding the roosting spots. The morning was very bright with hardly a cloud, so it heated up fairly quickly. Birding was a little slow, but there were a few things of interest. Several Snipe spp. flushed from various grassy areas, one of which also held Singing Bush Lark, which allowed a very close approach while it sang from the ground, possibly nesting nearby. A passing Brahminy Kite provoked some interest, it was soon seen off by a pair of Large-billed Crows, possibly that's the reason we don't get so many raptors, the crows operate a closed shop?

The fruiting trees along the stream held Black-naped Orioles and Pied Trillers, and Philippine Bulbuls were just inside the forest.

A Singing Bush Lark, with no sign of the rufous primaries that are supposed to be its main identification feature.
Brahminy Kite, my first in over a year here and only the third I've seen at IRRI at all. It was soon chased away by a pair of Large-billed Crows.
Female Pied Triller.