Posts Tagged ‘Raptors’

My 100th Lifer

Hurrying through the busy roads on the way to UP were me and my driver. I was late for the Guided Trip which started an hour before I arrived. I missed some good birds like the Coppersmith Barbet and the White-collared Kingfisher. I have seen both before, but seeing them again would be nice. My goal actually for today was to reach my 100th lifer, being at 98 I was determined to see 2 new birds today.

I missed this so much, being with the WBCP. It’s more fun, even happier when they’re around, and most of all, easier to see birds. We started off, or at least I started off, at the side of the road, since they were already there when I caught up with them, but the original meeting place was near the UP Main Library.

We saw a lot of Brown Shrikes, and Philippine Pygmy Woodpeckers on the trees at the side of the road, while on the road were hundreds of joggers completely unaware of their presence. When you look up, you could see Lowland White-eyes and Golden-bellied Flyeaters high-up on the tree tops. We were unprepared for the next surprise, a raptor that is somewhat white in plumage. It came and went in a matter of seconds.

We entered a slightly forested area, the UP Lagoon. The place was crawling, well… flying, with Brown Shrikes and Yellow-vented Bulbuls. Some birders finally spotted my 99th lifer. They showed me the bird, and it kept flying around but in the same area, so we were still able to follow it. It was an immature Brush Cuckoo eating a very hairy caterpillar we Filipinos call “Higad”.

It flew away, but luckily everyone in the group, including the participants to the Guided Trip, saw it. We then continued out the Lagoon, but not without seeing two cute Zebra Doves on the path. It was almost time to go, but we still had one stop left. Ate Maia (WBCP mamber) told me that it was a sure sighting of my 100th lifer in that area.

Sure enough, it was. Immediately when we got there, the others were already pointing at a Mango Tree. It took me a while, but I finally saw it. A Philippine Nightjar roosting on a branch at plain view. We woke it up from its sleep, but it soon went back to sleep when it figured that we weren’t a threat.

Philippine Nightjar <Photo by Jun Osano>
100th Lifer!!!

I was so thrilled to see my 100th lifer, but sad that I had to go home already. I looked at my fellow WBCP members, and well… I will miss them. It has been a while since I saw them, but now that I was birding with them again I had so much fun. It’s true that birding is more fun with more people, especially with people who are more experienced than you are because you learn from them, and it’s fun to be able to share stories with each other. I just hope there will be a next WBCP activity very soon.

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The Tree of Life in a Birder’s Paradise

The weather was better now than when we last came here, now my bird loving tito, tita and cousin came with us. There were still light rain showers but it would only last for a short while then the rest of the day was sunny and perfect for birding. Subic still had the usual Large-billed Crows and White-breasted Woodswallows, which were sort of as common as Eurasian Tree Sparrows in the area.

The common birds, Yellow-vented Bulbuls, Zebra Doves, Glossy Swiftlets, Pacific Swalows and Brown Shrikes, flew around the residential areas of Subic Homes as we checked-in. If you ever come to Subic, this is the place I suggest you stay because even in Subic Homes a lot of birds can already be found but let me tell you about Subic Homes later on.

Before we talk about the birds in Subic Homes, let’s first talk about the Boton Forest Trail. There were actually not many birds here except Black-naped Orioles, but this was the place I first laid eyes on my first malkoha, the Red-crested Malkoha. It is a Luzon Endemic, and a common resident in the forests of Subic. Later that day, we even found them flying in front of us.

White-throated Kingfisher perched on wire
<Photo by King Pandi>

Well, other than the malkoha it wasn’t really a birdy place, so we drove to the old Bat Kingdom and on our way there we saw a lot of White-throated King-fishers occasionally parching on wires or small trees beside the road. I then saw something brown with some spot-like  patterns and I knew it was different. We nearly ignored it, but then I shouted “Wait! Stop the Car!” I was right; it was something else, a Female Blue Rock-Thrush.

Female Blue Rock-Thrush <Photo by King Pandi> Lifer no. 88

At the Bat Kingdom, Me and Tristan (Cousin) saw two species of woodpeckers, happily pecking on these bark-less trees. They were the cut little Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker, and to my surprise a woodpecker we didn’t expect to see, a Greater Flameback. I was a beautiful woodpecker with its red back, and another surprise, we didn’t just see one, but three! A very nice lifer.

Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker <Photo by King Pandi>

I was also finally able to see the Stripe-headed Rhabdornis, which I have been trying to track down ever since I missed it at Mt. Palay-Palay. Then once we were done with the Bat Kingdom, wile driving back to Subic Homes, we saw Philippine Serpent-Eagles, another bird I missed out on in Mt. Palay-Palay, flying in circles which I think i’s called thermaling.

In the afternoon, we planned to go to Hill 394, but sadly we had to have a permit to got there. I guess when WBCP has a Club Trip there, they issue first a permit. We sadly weren’t informed of this, and we didn’t have time to get one, so we had to go with the back-up plan, birding near Zoobic Safari. We saw more or less the same birds, Philippine Bulbuls were here, and so were White-bellied Woodpeckers, and an abundance of Balicassiaos.

Now, let’s go back to Subic Homes. We birded there a bit late, from noon to night then again at early morning and found a Colasisi and a White-collared Kingfisher. There was actually a particular tree there which I really want to know what kind. It surprised me because in this one three we listed the following birds:

  • A flock of 10+ Pompadour Green-Pigeons, Lifer

Pompadour Green-pigoen <Photo by King Pandi> Lifer no. 81

  • About 3+ Coppersmith Barbets
  • Large-billed Crows
  • A few Coletos
  • Yellow-vented Bulbuls
  • Brown Shrikes
  • A Blue-naped Parrot
  • Balicassiaos, Lifer
  • And a flock of 8+ Luzon Tarictic Hornbills

Luzon Tarictic Hornbill <Photo by King Pandi>

What surprised me really was the flock of Hornbills that fly there to feed in the morning and the Pompadour Pigeons that never leave the tree. My Ninang Princess calls it “The Tree of Life”. If anyone could identify this tree for me, hopefully those of the WBCP would know this tree, I would be very grateful.

“Tree of Life” <Photo by King Pandi>

Also, in front of a Brent International School, Subic, which was located in the same area as the Subic Homes residential, was a flock of SEVERAL, about 20 to 30 parrots. The parrots composed of Blue-backed Parrots, Guaiaberos, a single Green Raquet-tail, and the most plentiful were the Blue-naped Parrots. The Guaiabero was my lifer, but I didn’t count the Blue-backed Parrot and the Raquet-tail since I only saw both for barely a second before it flew off.

Blue-naped Parrots <Photo by King Pandi>

In the same area, we also found some strange looking woodpeckers. Some were pure black while others had red faces. They were in fact Sooty Woodpeckers, the all black being females and the rad face being males. We also saw Bar-bellied Cuckoo-shrikes which I had almost mistaken as a Balicassiao, but just my luck, an actual Balicassiao was right beside it and I was able to see the difference.

Sooty Woodpecker <Photo by King Pandi>
Lifer no. 82

In a wetland area near Subic Homes, next to a golf course, we found a Buff-banded Rail. We then saw something HUGE fly across the wetland. It perched on a tree, and if we didn’t see it fly there we would have thought it was a branch since it was really well camouflaged. It was a very huge Purple Heron. It turns out that the Subic Homes Area had the most birds among all the places we went to in Subic.

Purple Heron <Photo by King Pandi>
Lifer no.86

I left Subic with sadness in my heart. I wish I lived there with the birds just outside my window, but my place is here in Metro Manila. A “Maya’s Paradise!” :D. This has been my best birding trip so far, and I can’t wait for the day I would finally come here with the WBCP. When that time comes, it would mean more birds and an access to hill 394.

Through Muddy Trails

The rain seemed like it would never stop for the past two days; thanks to typhoon “Karen” ( international name: Sanba ) entering the Philippine area of responsibility. It had stopped us from birding in La Mesa Ecopark last Saturday to search for more of La Mesa’s interesting residents, but good thing the rain has settled down yesterday, Sunday morning.

We decided to go back in time, to the place it all started, hoping to see more birds than when we first came here. We went back to the Nuvali Bird Sanctuary, the place where we had our first birding adventure.

I was so excited to go there with my dad, my tito, and my cousin. We first had  get a permit from the front desk, and just outside the building were some Brown Shrikes, Yellow-vented Bulbuls, Zebra Doves, and some Whiskered Terns diving into Nuvali’s boating area. Long-tailed Shrikes also perched on the small trees and plants at the side of the road.

Brown Shrike <Photo by King Pandi>

We arrived at the Nuvali Bird Sanctuary and was saddened by the sight that it had been lessened. At the entrance of the sanctuary to the right, where trees used to be, is now a future subdivision site. The trees have been cut and exposed soil has been dug up.

The birds near the entrance has now lessened as wel,l except for some Barred Rails, so we decided to go deeper in the sanctuary until we reached the wetland area where two birding stations are located. I have just noticed that my cargo pants were very muddy, making them a bit harder to carry around, so I converted them to shorts with a simple zip of  a zipper.

We saw no water birds there in that area just some Olive-backed Sunbirds and a Golden-bellied Flyeater on an exposed branch. There were some bird illustration and information located in the stations for beginners, and around the area were some information hung on trees about the trees their on which I read for just a bit, and it contained very interesting information.

The Gazebo was like a two-story open bahay kubo “hut” with some more information and illustrations on birds and also other animals. I learned from those information that a particular kind of lizard, called the Philippine Sailfin Lizard, was a good indicator of the environment. I was actually a bit disappointed from the site there in the Gazebo for half of it was the site of the sanctuary while half was the reclaimed area for the future subdivision.

Glossy Swiftlets and Pygmy Swiftlets flew around the Gazebo, and at the view of the sanctuary were some Large-billed Crows above the canopy of the trees. While at the sadly reclaimed area, were some Pied Bushchats, both male and female, Strited Grassbirds, and Richard’s Pipits.

We decided to go back in the trail to avoid the sad sight of the future subdivision, and found some Crested Mynahs. Tito Jerome then gave us a tip to go to the fruiting trees near the Gazebo entrance of the trail, and wait for a while, birds might come. We did just that and saw an Arctic Warbler hopping around on branches and flying from tree to tree. It took  a while for us to ID it from the Lemon-throated Leaf Warbler, but when I asked Kuya Jun (WBCP member), I was definitely sure.

We went back up the trail and back to the wetlands, we saw a huge White-throated Kingfisher fly past us and a White-collared Kingfisher fly from on top of a wall. Then my Dad had a last look at the grass on the other side of the water and saw a Philippine Coucal hidden in the tall grass. Tristan got a new lifer, and I was happy for him since he’s the only one who hasn’t seen it among the four of us.

I was waiting in the car when we had finally exited the trail, as my Dad was helping out a car that got stuck in the mud outside the sanctuary. When I saw the mud that the car was stuck in, only did I notice my own mud, stuck to my shoes from the muddy trails. I had not really noticed it while birding, but I did feel my feet step into gooey, almost watery mud. The mud has even reached my socks, this is one of the moments when I’m thankful of my water-resistant trek shoes, but it didn’t really fully protect my feet from the mud and water.

Before leaving the area we heard a Coppersmith Barbet calling in the distance as our car bumped its way out of the muddy road. We also saw White-breated Woodswallows which was also seen in the sanctuary, flying around and perching on wires.

We passed through Eton City, a future residential area, i think (?). Were we saw a lone raptor fly over the grassy plains and to my surprise a lifer! A Lesser Coucal flying and perching around the grasslands. It certainly mad this day unforgettable sice it was my last bird of the trip. I was so happy to see it stay there for a long time that we got to scope it, and see the obvious differences from the Philippine Coual.

Lesser Coucal <Photo by King Pandi>
Lifer no. 75

I have now decided not to post a Bird List because it may actually stop a person from reading the whole post. They might just read the Bird List to see if I saw any interesting birds, and if I didn’t. They might not bother reading, and of course I don’t want that 🙂

Silhouettes

Not a single raptor in the sky was present, just the thick clouds that would pour at any moment. It was my first time to go raptor watching and so far we haven’t seen any raptors. I expected hundreds of raptors flying just in front of us, but sadly it was too early in the season for there to be many raptors.

We got bored of staring at the blank sky and started looking at the ground and in the tall grass were some Pied Bushchats. One was male, and the other two with it were female which was unusual because you usually see them in pairs, one male and one female. I suggested that one of the females could be a juvenile which they said was possible.

Male Pied Bushchat

Female Pied Bushchat <Photo by King Pandi>

In the same tall grass area, a bird came out to the open to reveal itself. It was a Buff-banded Rail just in plain sight, calm and always staying on the same spot; it had this interesting plumage at its back. It was my first lifer of the day but it certainly wasn’t my last.

Buff-banded Rail <Photo by King Pandi>
Lifer no. 69

Right beside the Rail was a Striated Grassbird. We spent a while trying to re-observe it since we were trying to make sure if it was a Striated or a Tawny Grassbird. We really wished that it was a Tawny Grassbird, since we keep hearing them but never see any.

Swiftlets were everywhere, most of them were Glossy Swiftlets. They were flying all around the tower where we were we were birding. They were all below us, so I took this advantage to see if some of them had white rumps, and some did which meant that they were Pygmy Swiftlets. I finally got another lifer. 🙂

It took a while, but finally we spotted a raptor; it was a resident Oriental Honey Buzzard!!! It was huge with a large wing span that looks like it can dive down and snatch a child. The more experienced birders knew what it was by just the silhouette which was pretty much all you can get out of raptors here. I, on the other hand, had to cope with these silhouettes, but having the others there to explain how to ID the silhouettes really helped. 🙂

Once the raptor showed up so did the White-breasted Woodswallows, flying around in circles. Another raptor once again showed itself, chasing its domesticated Pigeon prey. It was a Peregrine Falcon!!! At first it was low because it was preying on some domesticated Pigeons, but has flown up to the sky. It flew so fast that my eyes could barely follow it, since it is the fastest animal on earth. 🙂

I tried looking for my first Brown Shrike, but sometimes I mistaken them for Yellow-vented Bulbuls in a distance, but after a while. I saw something brown on a clothesline. It was finally a Brown Shrike!! 🙂 After that instance, we actually saw more Brown Shrikes.

We had to leave just a bit earlier than the others since my Dad had some errands to do.  We got back on the road where the only birds left to see were Swiftlets and Pacific Swallows.

It was actually a let down because I had expected more raptors, but it turns out we arrived to early in the season. My Dad actually expected the raptors to drop on trees since my Dad didn’t know about Raptor migration until explained a while ago. Still we were glad to get some lifers and have this experience and hope to do it again, but with more raptors next time. 😉

Bird List

  1. Pied Bushchat
  2. Buff-banded Rail
  3. Striated Grassbird
  4. Glossy Swiftlet
  5. Pygmy Swiftlet
  6. Oriental Honey Buzzard
  7. White-breasted Woodswallow
  8. Peregrine Falcon
  9. Brown Shrike
  10. Yellow-vented Bulbul
  11. Pacific Swallow

Rain, Fog, and Crows

Subic Bay was once a Spanish Naval Base in the Philippines which played a major part in World War I and II and the Vietnam War. It was then converted to a Freeport Zone for export-import uses. Now, it is one of the best places vacationers love to go when in the Philippines. Several activities can be done there like Trekking, Snorkeling, Swimming, Scuba Diving, Horse-back Riding, Zip Lining, Jungle Survival, Sight Seeing, and my favorite Birding.

The rain was pouring as my Dad handed down money to the girl in the toll gate. We passed the toll gate, indicating that we were already in Subic. It was a long weekend, no school for Monday and Tuesday and it was Monday when we got here. We were with some of my local relatives and friends, and also some Canadian relatives, all of them have not tried birding, and have no plans to do so. There were no birds in the sky as the rain kept pouring, but after we had our lunch, me and my Dad saw two Large-billed Crows on an electrical post, and Crested Mynahs on a wire.

We checked in to Subic Homes which had an abundance of Crows and White-breasted Wood Swallows which I was able to show to my Tito and Tita. They were a bit interested to see those birds as I explained it to them the best I can. I see the Wood Swallows and ask myself “Why are they on the wires in the pouring rain, don’t they have nests?”

We went to Camayan Beach Resort to meet up with my relatives from Canada, and near the front entrance were some Pacific Swallows, but other than that, it was not a very birdy place. Monkeys though were plentiful there, stealing peoples food. I got a bit annoyed at one woman who took a picture of it with flash. The monkey growled at her. There is a reason why there is no flash photography in zoos and safaris, animals hate sudden bright flashes of light.

Me and my Dad decided to go out of the beach to bird as the rain lessened a bit. I got out of the water and got my binoculars. Swiftlets were everywhere as we went out; I tried to see if I could see a Pygmy Swiftlet among the hundreds of swiftlets that flew, but they were too fast and flying above us so it’s hard to ID them.

We saw more White-breasted Wood Swallows on the wires but then noticed that one bird was blue. It was a White-collared Kingfisher on the wire calling out as it flew away. We also heard some birds calling back at each other but can never find them, and somehow, I agree with my Dad’s statement and I’m sure most birders do too, “I hate those birds that keep calling out, but are very hard to find!”

We finally found a place with no cars and started seeing more birds. I got two lifers in that area, the White-eared Brown Dove in the trees, many of them; and the White-bellied Woodpecker, both genders and noticed that they nest in holes of the electric post, going in and out. At first i wasn’t able to see it, but my Dad was, then second time, I saw it and there were actually four of them.

Nest of the White-bellied Woodpecker

The day ended just like that, not many birds for the first day, but good thing were spending the night here.

The next morning we birded with my two Cousins, Kim and Paulo. The weather was still rainy, but it lessened once in a while. Again we saw Crows everywhere, but then White-throated Kingfishers started coming out. My two cousins seemed so interested as I explained the bird to them.

After a while of driving we finally found a good spot to bird, and I saw a lifer. It was a green bird with an orange-red bill, bluish on the crown and nape, with a sort of yellow stripe on the wing. It was Blue-naped Parrot, staying on the exposed branches for so long, with it on the same branches was an immature Black-naped Oriole, and a Dove I couldn’t ID. Philippine Bulbuls and some Drongos I can’t ID were also present.

Blue-naped Parrot <Photo by King Pandi>
Lifer no.59

We went to old Bat Kingdom which is now abandoned since the bats have moved. We saw a brown raptor with a dirty white belly and a a dark eye stripe. I was foggy so I could not ID it until it flew. It was hard to ID birds without the WBCP members around, being a newbie some birds are still very new to me.

As we were going back to Subic Homes, we passed by grasslands. We saw a whole flock of Crested Mynahs and an Immature Striated Grassbird on the fences of this grassland. Brahminy Kites flew above us as we passed through the grassland as well. I fell asleep in the car on the way back, but then my Dad woke me up to show me a bird. It was Philippine Coucal. I was so happy to see one, since it is another lifer.

I asked my Dad if I could try to take a picture of it with his camera. I think it turned out okay.

Philippine Coucal
Lifer no. 60

Inside Subic Homes, me and my Dad decided to bird some more and found Yellow-vented Bulbuls and two Coletos on a wire. We decided to bird once again in the place we went to a while ago, this time with my Tito Jag, but without Paulo. We saw some juvenille White-breasted Waterhens in the Mangroves, looking like black and white chicks, but just a bit bigger.

In the Old Bat Kingdom some more Black-naped Orioles and two Philippine Pygmy Woodpeckers on a tree. My Dad hasn’t seen a Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker so its a lifer for him. Tito Jag took a few pictures with his camera and I was so happy to see him and Kim, his daughter and my cousin, were interested.

We decided to go to the Nabasan Area, sadly nothing but a Barred Rail and White-collared Kingfishers near a resort, since the time was already noon, the birds lessened. While going back we also saw a lone Little Egret in a ricefield.

We were finished birding and left Subic after our lunch, As we left the Crows followed us out, then returning back to the mountains of Subic, every few trees there was a crow. It was almost like they were giving us birders a fine farewell. We didn’t see much and I didn’t get that much lifers, but I am already content with what I got and there will always be a next time.

Bird List

  1. Large-billed Crow
  2. Crested Mynah
  3. White-breasted Wood Swallow
  4. Pacific Swallow
  5. Swiftlet sp.
  6. White-eared Brown Dove (Lifer)
  7. White-bellied Woodpecker (Lifer)
  8. Philippine Coucal (Lifer)
  9. White-collared Kingfisher
  10. White-throated Kingfisher
  11. Blue-naped Parrot (Lifer)
  12. Philippine Bulbul
  13. Glossy Swiftlet
  14. Black-naped Oriole
  15. Dove sp.
  16. Drongo sp.
  17. Raptor sp.
  18. Striated Grassbird
  19. Brahminy Kite
  20. Yellow-vented Bulbul
  21. Coleto
  22. White-breasted Waterhen
  23. Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker
  24. Barred Rail
  25. Little Egret

Above and Beyond the Branches

We woke up very early in the morning to bird in Mt. Palay-Palay. It was my first time to have a Club Trip outside of Metro Manila with the WBCP. The sky was gloomy and light raindrops poured down; I was wishing that the rain would soon stop so that there would be more birds when we get to Mt. Palay-Palay.

View of the sea from Mt. Palay-Palay
<Photo by King Pandi>

We arrived to the mountain and we went straight to the “Falconet Corner” to check if the Philippine Falconets were there, the other birders say that they nearly always see them here, but sadly we didn’t see any. They must have took shelter from the down pour. We drove just a few more kilometers up the mountain and arrived at the DENR station. The rain kept pouring and unfortunately that affected the birds; we saw no birds in the DENR station.

We walked around just a bit more around the area and Tristan (Cousin) found a Coleto up in the trees. I was so annoyed by the fact that he has more lifers than me, so I am determined to beat his number of lifers now that were in Mt. Palay-Palay.

We decided to drive to a resort called “Caylabne” to have some lunch and bird a bit. The rain stopped as we drove to Caylabne, but before we even got to the resort, we saw a White-throated Kingfisher perched on the wire, and to my surprise we also saw Brahminy Kites gracefully flying right above our heads. The Brahminy Kite was a lifer for me, they were actually very common in that mountain because we ended up seeing lots.

We also saw many Tarictic Hornbills, beautiful birds with odd-looking bills. It was my first time to see a hornbill and they look so nice. White-breasted Wood Swallow were abundant there as well, and Coletos were fairly common as well. The Coleto was so pretty, yet it had this pinkish patch on the sides of its face which may be unappealing for some people, but I find it as a great unique  feature of this Philippine endemic bird.

Black-naped Orioles were unsurprisingly common and so were Philippine Bulbuls, another of my lifers. Glossy Siftlets were fund everywhere.

We have finally entered the Caylabne Resort, and me the other members tested our skills by trying to spot a Philippine Tailorbird which is very hard to spot, good thing that I was able to. In one area of Caylabne, Pacific Swallows were everywhere and Yellow-vented Bulbuls were found here, which is strange because Kuya Mike (WBCP President) said that they weren’t here before.

Pacific Swallows on a Wire <Photo by King Pandi>

Blue-throated Bee-eaters perched on the wires of this area with some Wood Swallows. In that area I also got two new lifers which are the Whiskered Tree-swift which were also perched on the wires, and the Black-naped Monarch in the trees.

Blue-throated Bee-eater on a Wire
<Photo by King Pandi>

Whiskered Tree-swift on a Wire
<Photo by King Pandi> Lifer no.53

We checked-in to Caylabne Resort, and while checking-in Ate Ixi (WBCP Member) helped us spot a Yellow Wagtail. We ate a quick but heavy lunch and continued birding.

While birding in Caylabne, we saw some White-collared kingfishers, and a Scaly-breasted Munia on a branch of a tree. We saw ONE Eurasian Tree Sparrow, which feels so weird because in the city it is the most common bird there is. Olive-backed Sunbirds feasted on some flowers as we saw them, and Striated Swallows with they’re clear reddish rumps perched on a wire that went across the river. Pied Trillers also stayed beside the same river and Philippine Pygmy Woodpeckers were on a tree upstream.

We went to an area that had an unfinished road and birded there, but saw pretty much the same things, Philippine Bulbuls and Tarictic Hornbill. As we drove back to Metro Manila, we once again passed by the “Falconet Corner” but unfortunately it started raining again, so no Falconets were there, but I was already content on the lifers I got today, because they were different from what I usually see back home.

During this adventure we also encountered some birds we could not ID, a raptor,  and a small brown bird with streaked sides looking like a Rhabdornis.

Bird List

  1. White-throated Kingfisher
  2. Brahminy Kite (Lifer)
  3. Tarictic Hornbill (Lifer)
  4. White-breated Wood Swallow
  5. Rhabdornis sp.
  6. Whit-breasted Woodswallow
  7. Coleto (Lifer)
  8. Black-naped Oriole
  9. Philippine Bulbul (Lifer)
  10. Glossy Swiftlet
  11. Raptor sp.
  12. Philippine Tailorbird (Lifer)
  13. Pacific Swallow
  14. Blue-throated Bee-eater
  15. Whiskered Tree-swift (Lifer)
  16. Yellow-vented Bulbul
  17. Black-naped Monarch (Lifer)
  18. Yellow Wagtail (Lifer)
  19. White-collared Kingfisher
  20. Scaly-breasted Munia
  21. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  22. Olive-backed Sunbird
  23. Striated Swallow (Lifer)
  24. Pied Triller
  25. Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker

We also passed by LPPCHEA on the way back, but it was just a short time so I don’t need to tell the story, just the birds.

Bird List

  1. Little Egret
  2. Black-crowned Night Heron
  3. Barred Rail
  4. Yellow Bittern
  5. Little Heron

A Bird’s Freedom

Are you willing to take a bird’s freedom for the entertainment of others?

I arrived in the Makati Park and Gardens, angered by the fact of Tristan (Cousin) having more lifers than me. I went there hoping to get lucky and actually get a lifer. I walked there for a while with my Sister and Yaya searching the skies, but only seeing bats and Swallows.

It’s been a long time since I went there, about a year, but last time I wasn’t able to see the horror I saw today. I saw cages; I’ve seen the cages before when I was a little kid. I knew that in those cages were birds, but little did i know that those birds were actually WILD!!!

The first cage was a bit larger than the others which had nothing inside but dead leaves and a suspended branch. On that suspended branch, I saw one of the majesties of the sky with its brown body and white head. I saw the sorrow in its eyes, as it lay motionless on the suspended branch. It was a Brahminy Kite.

Caged Brahminy Kite

Brahminy Kite Cage

The second cage contained the king of the Coastals, usually flying freely screeching its creepy call, gracefully fishing in shallow waters. Now, it lays sad and still. The very sad part is, for a bird who loves water, its tiny pond is bone dry. The Black-crowned Night Heron may be very common, but still doesn’t deserve to be caged.

Caged Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron’s Dry Pond

The third cage contained a small little raptor. I pity it so much as I see its feeble attempts of escape. It grabs the walls of its cage with its sharp claws, supposedly made to catch prey, hoping that it would pry open, every attempt a failure. It lives in this agonizingly small cage, not fit for a Eurasian Kestrel.

Caged Eurasian Kestrel

Eurasian Kestrel Cage

I find it very sad that these birds were put in cages in our park just for people’s entertainment. I would partially understand if it was a zoo, but not in an old park, with cages that don’t supply their needs and people who don’t know how to care for them. I see people taking pictures in front of these birds, unaware of their suffering. One man with his child, gave the Black-crowned Night Heron a taunting call “coo-coo-coo…”, incredibly far from its actual call.

I went there full of determination, then left full of sorrow for these birds. WBCP members can we do something to help them?

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