Archive for July, 2012

Coastal Storm

Typhoon Gener

Winds of up to 120 kph and gustiness of up to 150 kph, Nearly 28,631 people were affected while 2,413 are currently staying in evacuation centers.

Typhoon Gener

View of Typhoon Gener over the Philippines

We drove to LPPCHEA, wishing that the hard rains would not affect the number of birds. It was a guided trip with some UP Diliman students studying journalism. Mike said that some people from TV5 would be there and film us birding :-). I was so excited of the fact of being on TV. It was something that I have wanted since I was a kid, but they were probably gonna focus on Kuya Mike (WBCP Member) and I was fine with that.

We arrived in LPPCHEA a bit too early, the trip was scheduled at 4pm and we came at 3:30. I decided to take pictures of the garbage on the shores to show to my club in school, FOME (Friends of Mother Earth). We looked around and due to the rain, the birds lessened from dozens to a few at a time. We could still find the usual Little Egrets and Black-crowned Night Heron. Pacific Swallows were quite common and flying very low. Tito Jerome then found a Barred Rail and a Yellow bittern walking in the mangroves, staying there for quite a long time.

Coastal Garbage 1

Far view of the LPPCHEA garbage

Coastal Garbage 2

Close up of the LPPCHEA garbage

Ate Maia and Kuya Jops (WBCP Members) finally arrived, with a van of GMA. I was a bit confused why it was GMA, not TV5, well I really didn’t care. We showed them the Barred Rail and Yellow Bittern, while Ate Maia was busy being interviewed. Some cars came in with some more WBCP members and the Journalism students with their Professor. They are quite short and enthusiastic, they were given they’re binoculars and an orientation, which reminds me of my first guided birding trip. Once Mike arrived, the cameras were all focused on him. We then found a few Chestnut Munias in the tall grass.

First Guided Trip

My First Guided Trip in Philippine Science High School <Photo by King Pandi>

The UP students rarely took notice of me, the only time they did was when I spotted some Black-crowned Night Herons fly behind them. I would’ve liked to guide them, actually someday I wish to head a Guided Birding Trip, maybe in a few years I would :-). I feel a bit of comfort in teaching people about birds; I feel happy when they feel enthusiastic about seeing a bird that I have seen hundreds of times. I would someday want to actually inspire someone to bird as a hobby, like what happened to me before. Memories :-). But they didn’t really need me there since Kuya Jops was there, and he does have more experience.

The rain kept pouring, while me and Tristan (Cousin) went further in LPPCHEA, while the UP students kept astonishing over the White-collared Kingfishers. I loved their surprised and happy faces, wishing that I was there, talking about the magnificent, blue Kingfisher to them. While there we found a lot of White-collared Kingfishers and a black bird flying right at the corner of my eye that Tristan confirmed was an Asian Glossy Starling. I could hear the calls of Striated Grassbirds in the distance, while we found a currently empty nest on a tree.

We were returning to the where the others were when a van, which Kuya Mike explained as the van of TV5, came to us and asked us if we were cousins competing on the length of our life lists. True enough we were, so we said yes, then they said we might be videoed for the show of Sharon Cuneta called “Sharon”. I was so happy I could throw up while they asked for my number.

When we got back, my family was there to pick me up later, after birding. I told everyone the good news, and while conversing with the other birders my umbrella went inside out, and we all had a good laugh of it :-D. Once we were ready to leave, that was the only time I noticed I was soaking wet.

Once we left the place, I was glad to be out of the rain, but still craved to go back to bird. I really want to be part of the Trips Committee or the Education and Training Committee once I got enough experience. In a few years or maybe sooner, you would see me guiding Newbies and being interviewed ;-).

Barred Rail

BARRED RAIL <Photo by Jerome Manalad>

BIRD LIST

  1. Little Egret
  2. Black-crowned Night Heron
  3. Pacific Swallow
  4. Barred Rail
  5. Yellow Bittern
  6. White-collared Kingfisher
  7. Chestnut Munia
  8. Asian Glossy Starling
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Missing Cisticolas

Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis

Habitat – Ricefields and wetter grass area

I arrived at my cousin’s house, very excited for the day that awaits me tomorrow. My cousin’s neighborhood has a lot of birds that I am really excited to see, especially the Zitting Cisticolas because I have never seen one. His Dad also said there were Hooded Pittas, but very uncommon. I just really wished for the Zitting Cisticola to show up tomorrow. I’m also excited for the guided trip held tomorrow in LPPCHEA.

I spent the night practicing my photography on little critters in my cousin’s house, which I rarely see in my city home.

Preying Mantis

Preying MantisBaby FrogBaby FrogMothMothCommon LizardCommon Lizard

The next day we immediately went outside, early in the morning. We saw some Yellow-vented Bulbuls flying around and heard Golden-bellied Flyeaters in the trees. Flocks of Black-crowned Night Herons flew the skies. It rained a bit so we had to go back inside, then went back out. We went directly to the old “Ecopark” in their neighborhood.

In Ecopark, we found Chestnut Munias in the grass, and found some swallows and Glossy Swiftlets flying around, it once again rained and we took shelter in our store. We sat in the front and found more swallows.

As we went back to the house, we checked if the Zitting Cisticolas were outside the window, sadly there weren’t. I spent nearly all the morning, attentive of it’s call. If it does call, I go up to the window and check if I can see it, every attempt a failure. The terrace then showed a single Zebra Dove on a roof of another buiding.

I have not spotted any Zitting Cisticolas but I am still determined to, next time I sleep-over here, I will do my best to spot one.

BIRD LIST

  1. Yellow-vented Bulbul
  2. Black-crowned Night Heron
  3. Chestnut Munia
  4. Glossy Swiftlet
  5. Swallows sp.
  6. Zebra Dove

It’s All Just Fate

This is my first blog entry, and what better way to start my blog than with the story of how I got interested in Birding, before the time I saw my Spark Bird and before I even knew what a Spark Bird was. The story of the first time I went birding.

It was mid-May by this time, I was like any other 13 year old. I would use Facebook and listen to Music all day long, non-stop. I would go to the mall with some friends and throw all my problems away. My cousins then invited me to go to Tagaytay to swim and have fun. It was a bit last minute, but of course I came; I packed-up and went with them, it was quite a long ride and I got a bit bored. We went swimming in a resort or hotel or something (?) but then quickly got bored of the water.

We left the place and we thought of going to Nuvali, I myself have never went there but my cousins say it’s awesome. True enough, it was; we went fish feeding, boat riding and Tristan (Cousin) tried the bikes. We heard that there was a Bird Sanctuary that was owned by Nuvali, even back then I still loved nature a bit, so we went there. The sky looked like it was going to pour any second.

We arrived at Nuvali thinking that we would see hundreds of birds flying in front of us, sadly, that didn’t happen. We went in the Sanctuary and the first wildlife we saw was a cat, and tons of the small common birds that we see everyday. I didn’t know what you call them, back then if I talk abut any bird it’s automatically that one. Then birds flew right above us, yellow-green and yellow and black gorgeous birds. I was stunned by them and the way they flew, not expecting to see those kind of birds. I thought they were absolutely beautiful and graceful in the sky, just flying freely.

We left the Sanctuary and outside a man with a black pick-up, with a huge speaker on top, carrying a very long-lens camera was there, he shared us some knowledge and I am grateful to him (even though he was not observing proper birding ethics due to his loud continuous bird call with his speakers).

While in the car, nearly out of the sanctuary, we saw a medium red bird with bluish green wings and a white throat fly to a telephone wire. I was so surprised to see it!!! It was just perched there for a fair amount of time!!! We watched it and photographed it for a while, it then flew away when the other birder’s pick-up finally caught up with us, and by the time we left Nuvali, it immediately rained.

I got to my cousin’s house, sleeping-over. I searched immediately for the birds that we saw, and I ended up at the WBCP website and found out the species. I stayed up all night in the website, dazzled by the abundance of birds that I have never known of. After that we went birding to some other places, even without the help of guides, like UP Diliman, American Cemetery, La Mesa Ecopark, etc.

Long-tailed Shrike

LONG-TAILED SHRIKE <Photo by Jerome Manalad>
Lifer no. 13 (UP Diliman)

The way I got interested in birding, I believe, is fate. If I didn’t get invited to go to Tagaytay; if we stayed in the pool longer; if we forgot all about Nuvali; if it rained a bit earlier; if I didn’t see the yellow-green and black and yellow birds; I would not have been interested in birding at all.

BIRD LIST

1. Black-naped Oriole

2. Eurasian Tree Sparrow

3. White-throated Kingfisher

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