Thursday, December 1

a trogon pair saves the birding day!

a philippine hawk owl suddenly swooped in front of our car, in pursuit of an insect which was probably attracted to our headlights.  it was 530am and we were on our way up to makiling.

it seemed like a good omen.  we were on a reunion birding trip with felix who had set aside most of his life the past few months to study for the recently concluded bar exams.

and that was it for the rest of the morning.

a male trogon gave us a hard time, hiding himself in the tangles.

even ever reliable spotty (the spotted wood-kingfisher) let us down.  he gave a distant (really distant) call when we reached his bend, nothing more.

at least felix got his first lifer for the year: a pechora pipit landed on the trail, almost disappearing in the (short) grass. it was actually an upgrade for me, we spent almost 5 minutes watching him disappear and reappear in the grass, giving us good back and front views with an occasional jump at an insect on a leaf.

and then more down time.

you know it's a slow birding day when we spent as much time as we did admiring this land planarian...

...and when we spent twenty minutes gawking at this beautiful lizard (later id'd by drew as Gonocephalus sophiae (Gray, 1845)) near the forestry nursery.

feeling as tired as one can be, i trudged behind adri and felix up makiling on a hot, humid morning with nothing more than a few sightings that left me more frustrated than hopeful. even the sighting of a plain throated sunbird early in the morning and an unusually large number of flaming sunbirds (a total of 8!) did not put much energy in me, especially since they were either too flighty or too high up (or on one occasion i was too stupid to figure out to the branch felix was pointing to) for me to even get a chance at a photo.

and then the mountain deity suddenly decided that we should get some reward.

what would make up for the slow morning but my current makiling favorites: a pair of very cooperative philippine trogons!

we spotted the male first, always striking with this red breast.  when he flew off to another perch, felix found the female. then we lost the female and saw the male again. while adri was digiscoping and i was taking pictures, i realized that the female was on the branch just above it!!!  talk about missing the forest for the trees. i was fortunate enough to frame both of them in a single picture.

later, back at trees lodge, we counted 8 falconets on the dead tree!  

they are actually quite scary when you see them tearing up some small creature with their serrated beaks while being held tightly in their sharp talons.

and so even with the (super) slow start, makiling's treasures found a way to save the day!


  1. wow! we haven't seen the trogons of makiling! congrats!

  2. thanks abby, kitty and maia!

    hope you can get to enjoy the trogons of makiling too! let's go!

  3. Nice pictures! I esp like the lizard on the branch and the branch with new shoots in the foreground. I also liked the picture of Mr and Mrs Trogon! Note: she's on the higher branch... : )

  4. thanks ixi!
    according to drew the lizard's probably: Gonocephalus sophiae (see
    mr & mrs trogon are sooo sweet... always together, hihi.

  5. saved by the trogons! otherwise ala masyado...
    buti nalang love pa kami ni mariang makiling!

  6. Lucky you! We just came back from UPLB and it was also a disaster. We were able to get inside IRRI but got nothing (as in zero) there. Luckily at Agripark, there were tons of Yellow Wagtails..and that's about it. We decided to go home at 10 am. Someday...we will go for the trogons...someday...

  7. tell us when that someday will be bob! we'll be glad to join you!