joining us to help out lead the walk were wbcp-ers maia and luke. i guessthe walk was scheduled too early in the morning by the organizers. at 7am, only 6 students turned out for an almost one-is-to-one particpant-facilitator ratio! of course, this was a huge advantage, since a small group is always better than a large group when birding, even on a well-populated campus!
we did our usual route around campus, starting at the parking lot. of course our first bird was the long-tailed shrike! long-tailed shrikes are definitely the boss-birds on campus, with one or two lording over each quadrangle, parking lot and green patch.
as we moved on, we spotted the usuals: philippine pygmy woodpecker, brown shrike, yellow-vented bulbul. a very cooperative kingfisher gave good views, it's color the striking blue associated with the university.
we challenged the students to spot a noisy golden-bellied gerygone, calling loudly for a small, skittish bird, hopping about the branches above us.
there was also a brief view of a coppersmith barbet, and white-breasted woodswallow were at their predictable perch. surprisingly, the black-naped oiroles were nowhere to be seen.
as we were walking down the path back, we were in for a huge treat. remember how i said that raptors are always a very good birds on a guided trip?
we ended the trip with a great raptor: a migratory peregrine falcon, spotted by maia! it perched on nearby communication towers giving us all long good views! this peregrine falcon must be a regular, we have seen it the past 3 seasons!
as we all took turns on the scope (even a PE teacher watching over his running class on the road got a good look), we rattled off facts about the peregrine falcon: it was found worldwide, it was the fastest animal alive, it was just as comfortable on cliffsides and forests as it was on skyscrapers in cities where it caught domestic pigeons. looking at it through our bins and scope, its powerful claws grasping the steel bars left no doubt that this was a hunter.
one of the students was anthropomorphizing all the birds we had spotted as "mabait" and "hindi mabait" and was mulling over whether giving prey a swift, dignified death was kind or not.
although it was the wrong raptor (and it certainly wasn't blue!), the students were impressed to be sharing the campus with such an awesome bird. we ended the hour and a half morning walk with 13 species on our list (only biology majors would include IUCN conservation status on the list!)