Friday, February 1

bataan birding continues

more on our bataan weekend!

found at the edge of the bataan natural park, the now famous parrotfinch site at baranggay bangkal is quite birdy in its own right.

as soon as we stepped off the roadside, we could hear birdcalls resounding around us.  as we descended the dirt trail, the distinct chatter of philippine bulbuls could be heard.  it reminded me of the indistinct yet voluminous noise of a marketplace.  after a few meters, we saw where the din was emanating from.

dapdap (erythrina variegata) trees in bloom on the hillside
on the hills across from us were several huge dapdap trees, similar to those planted by the roadside, but in full bloom.  the lovely orange flowers set the whole hillside ablaze, and the fiery colors seemed to act like a beacon, gathering all the birds to a banquet of flowers.

on the consecutive days that tere, adri and i were there, we could not help but set our lenses on the dapdap trees in bloom. we counted no less than 10 species of birds perched on the dapdap tree branches! 

the orange flowers like a magnet attracting lots of birds!
like this philippine bulbul
many of them were feasting on the flowers: philippine and yellow-vented bulbuls,  coletos, red-keeled flowerpeckers, colasisis, sunbirds (3 species! olive-backed, handsome and purple-throated) and stripe-headed rhabdornises.  yellowish white-eyes, elegant tits, arctic warblers and philippine pygmy woodpeckers were also attracted to the flowering trees. blue-tailed bee-eaters, ashy minivets and grey-streaked flycatchers perched on open branches.  no wonder there was such a racket!

can you spot the bulbul and the colasisi in this picture?
aside from the passerines, another bird which caught our attention on the first morning was a grey-faced buzzard perched nearby.  at first we were confused with its id, being very pale and having a heavy white eyebrow.  later it soared overhead and (with the help of raptor guru alex t. over the phone) gave it a provisional id: immature grey-faced buzzard.

a 1st winter grey-faced buzzard perched and later in flight
later, this was confirmed by des a: a first winter grey-faced buzzard. we had also heard a philippine serpent eagle calling and other birders had mentioned seeing a besra and even a rufous-bellied eagle.  so many raptors!

doc joey, who had first reported the parrotfinches and who had a farm in the neighboring baranggay, made us envious with his list of birds seen from his farm. aside from the star green-faced parrotfinches which had caught his attention flying in large flocks overhead, he confirmed that scale-feathered malkohas were quite common, and that barred rails would come by to bath in his garden pool. sometimes, raptors and hornbills would even pass over his farm!  the weather was quite pleasant on the lower slopes of the mountains, doc joey's garden was an assortment of colorful flowers and i especially loved the dahlias!

doc joey's farm was a riot of colors!
i was too late to catch a good picture of this scale-feathered malkoha by the side of the road.
on the same slopes, further south towards balanga in the next town of abucay, we had another welcome birding experience.  we had been invited by birder and photographer fr. auckhs to visit the colegio de san juan de letran campus and see what avian wildlife we might find on campus.

and we were not disappointed! although the campus was farther from the forested edge of the bataan natural park than bangkal, we still able to build a good bird list for the grounds.  a blue rock thrush patrolled the top of the main building, and was joined on the roof tops by white-breasted wood-swallows. coletos carrying nesting material would also perch on the rooftop antennas before slipping into crevices in the concrete. more than once we would see a wagtail landing on the roof also!

coletos were busy builidng a nest hidden in the buildings' crevices

in the morning, scaly-breasted munias, blue-tailed bee-eaters, red turtle-doves, pied trillers, guaiaberos and philippine bulbuls were easily spotted. zebra doves and several richards pipits ran around the football field while long-tailed shrikes, a collared kingfisher and a pied bushchat patrolled from the surrounding trees and posts. on one side of the campus near the bamboo thickets, a cuckoo quickly disappeared into the leaves and a white-morph coucal followed suit.

scaly-breasted munias  in the morning light
richard's pipits  running around the football field

a huge spider on its web in the garage of the dormitory where we stayed did not escape the birders ' attention.

come into my parlour?

we came up with a total of 43 species on our birdlist! making our walk even more pleasant was the company of fr auckhs, as it is always good to have leisurely bird walk coupled with the exchange of birding stories amongst new friends. 

of course i could not ignore other winged creatures and in both samal and abucay, the graceful flight of the butterflies did not escape me.  in doc joey's garden i spotted the strangely marked mapwing, and at letran i tried to take a photo of my favorite caleta roxus from a gazillion miles away.  at bangkal, adri and i chased a lycaenid as it perched under a leaf, surrounded by the associated ants.

various butterflies found in samal and abucay

later identified by atelyds as allotinus fallax, one of many lycaenids associated with ants

with all of these birds and buttes, we were just mid-way through our bataan weekend!  still on the agenda was the "official business" for the weekend: the asian waterbird census at balanga!

No comments:

Post a Comment