Saturday, January 11, 2014

Mt. Polis and Banaue - 9 Jan

From Laoag we drove over the Bessang Pass to Banaue to spend a day birding the Mt. Polis area. The drive up was spectacular, and birdy. A Mountain Shrike was perched on roadside wires near the top, and the pines just after the pass held several parties of Red Crossbill. A Philippine Hawk-Eagle was hunting this area too.

Our only full birding day was Thursday 9th Jan. We started with a quick stop at the top where I heard (and got a glimpse of) what must have been Luzon Montane Racquet-tail. Then we split up, with me looking for Benguet Bush-Warbler while the others went to find the Luzon Water Redstart. Neither of us were successful, though I did get a lot of the usual Mt Polis birds including; Chestnut-faced babbler, Mountain Leaf-Warbler, Mountain Tailorbird, Luzon Bush-Warbler, Long-tailed Ground-Warbler (heard), Metallic-winged Sunbird, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker and Mountain White-eye.

A short walk into to forest at the pass added Island Thrush to the list.

Banaue Hotel grounds was also nice, with Mountain Verditer and Yellowish White-eye. We eventually caught up with the Luzon Water Redstart near Banaue, at a bridge called Guihob Bridge.

Mountain Shrike ssp. validirostris. What a smart bird!
 Red Crossbill ssp. luzoniensis.
 Mountain Leaf Warbler ssp. benguetensis.
Luzon Water Redstart
Mountain Verditer ssp. nigrimentalis.
We bumped into this giant stripey worm in the forest above the police post at Mt Polis. Apparently its burrowing has been responsible for weakening the walls of the famous Banaue rice terraces.


  1. Some mouth-watering endemics there !

  2. Great photo of the mountain shrike! I was just there a few weeks ago, but it was totally socked in the fog.