Tuesday, July 26

leaving the nest

i absolutely love seeing (& watching of course) fledglings with their parents in the garden!

it means that the cycle of life is still in motion, and that my neighborhood is still a welcome place for the birds.

this year, the pied fantails seem to have only one fledgling... there's only one persistent young bird continuously badgering its parents.  it's amusing how they would fly in circles around our house, taking off to the right and appearing a minute later from the left!  a couple of years ago, there were 5 fledglings in hot pursuit of their dad/mom!  it must be a never ending "feed me! feed me!" for these committed parents.  but this young one has learned fast and has become quite an expert in snatching flies and other goodies from just above the grass. its graceful maneuvers are mesmerizing, with loud clicks of the wings (beak? i could never figure it out) with each turn.  still, nothing beats begging for free food from mom/dad!

right on time for rambutan season, adri & i were delighted to see this pair of colasisis feasting voraciously on the first fruit to ripen! as with every year, these little parrots were oblivious to our staring eyes.  little wonder, since their red and green blend perfectly with the rambutan tree. it's difficult to spot them once they land if not for their noisy chatter which gives them away! adri had a grand (and intense!) photo op last weekend with this pair.  the immature bird playfully lives up to its name of philippine hanging parrot.

i suppose these fledglings will stay with their parents for a few more weeks after leaving the nest, learning to find food and avoid predators and interact with others of their kind: survival camp for the birds.

and the cycle continues...

(as usual, thanks to adri for the wonderful photos!)

Wednesday, July 13



there has been NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that any part of the tuko can cure asthma, AIDS, cancer or erectile dysfunction!

give these poor guys a chance.

nature should inspire us, not suffer from us.

rainy subic highlights

it wasn't looking like a very promising subic weekend: a low pressure area up near batanes was threatening to become a storm. but adri & i still looked forward to starting off early to make the most of the birding weekend so we arrived at a very grey subic at 530am.  we had initially intended to start at hill 394, but we thought that nabasan (dude birding in our car) would be a better alternative.

we found our first major highlight of the trip was a very wet & miserable adult philippine hawk- eagle.  it was on a tall tree by the side of the main highway. white-breasted woodswallows and crows were taking turns harassing the already unhappy raptor, who was probably drying himself out.  he stayed out for almost 15 minutes... and allowed us to set up the scope and take several documentary pictures and videos.

it was very slow birding as predicted, the birds only showing up when the rains let up... and this was true for the whole of the weekend.  the larger birds were out most of the time though, green imperial pigeons were perched together in small flocks... and the blue naped parrots squawked noisily at nabasan and at cubi point.

we were joined later in the morning by ixi, by lunch by tere and alex, and in the afternoon by jops, maia, jun o, anna g and maia's friends paula & charlie.  by the time jops & co. had arrived we were relegated to watching birds from the front entrance of nipas because of the rains.  it did let up late in the afternoon and we were able to sneak in a few hours of birding before dinner.

we also discovered a heavily-laden fruiting tree along the road... it was full of guaiaberos and white-eared brown doves, who munched hungrily on the sweet (yes, i tasted it), purple berries.  would anyone know what tree this is and whether it is native?

we had dinner at bunker bob's (formerly darwins beside nipas).  i was glad that our favorite pizza, pasta & panacotta place had resurrected with a new theme:  military camo plus a billard table.  it was a little farther away from home though... further down the road from nabasan, after the botanical gardens towards camayan beach.

sunday was just a slight improvement, it seemed that the rain would pour everytime we would get out of our cars!  we did get another fruiting tree jackpot though: a trema orientalis which attracted a flock of pompadour green pigeons, philippine bulbuls, stripe-headed rhabdornis(es?), guaiaberos and white-eared brown doves.

 birding looked up in the afternoon when we were met by mike and proceeded to rodney peterson's residence in binictican.  rodney & his wife lianna had invited us to english high tea, to show us the birds which visited his backyard.  and birds there were!  coletos, black-naped orioles, balicassiaos, rhabdornis(es?), tarictics, elegant tits, pied trillers, pygmy-, sooty- woodpeckers, flamebacks, crows. it was wonderful birding from their (dry) deck... watching the birds which were used to humans and so didn't mind perching in close proximity to us, even with our noisy "oohs" and "ahs".

and to top it off: the ultimate in dude-birding - english high tea!  rodney brewed an excellent tea, served with scones, clotted cream and blueberry jam plus cheesecake! wonderful way to end a(nother!) rainy day weekend of birding!
(thanks to tere for the bunker bobs and tea party pictures!)