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Wild Bird Club of the Philippines
3rd Quarter Report

MEMBERSHIP

The club membership now stands at 132 members.

Majority of the members are based in Metro Manila, but membership from the Luzon provinces has increased. We now have members from the following: Cavite (6), Laguna (3), Bulacan (1), Bataan (1), Pampanga (4), Nueva Ecija (3), La Union (2), and Benguet (1).

Outside of Luzon, we have members in Cebu (7), Iloilo (1), and Davao (2). The WBCP also has 7 members based abroad: Singapore (2), Japan (1), UK (4), US (2), Canada (1) & Venezuela (1).

As expected, most members are Filipinos. However, foreign nationals based in the country and abroad have also signed up as club members. Among these were British (6), American (5), Canadian (1), Danish (2), Indonesian (1), Singaporean (2) & Indian (1).


TRIPS, Guided and Club

Guided Trips - 32 trips

Since the year started guided trips for first-timers, organized trips upon request from different institutions and trips with visiting foreign birdwatchers have continued to be popular.

The WBCP conducts monthly-guided tours for the general public to introduce bird watching to more people. For these introductory trips, the sites visited were the American War Memorial in Fort Bonifacio (5 trips), South Cemetery (Makati), Tambo mudflats & Coastal Road Lagoons in Parañaque (3 trips), UP Diliman campus in Quezon City (5 trips), Rizal Park and Pasig riverbanks in Manila (1), Mt. Makiling (Laguna) and the first guided trip in Cebu held at the Royale Cebu Estates in Casili, Concepcion.

The WBCP was also invited to conduct bird-watching activities for the DLSU Eco-camp in Mt. Makiling (Laguna), the Slow Food Convivium at Candaba Marsh (Pampanga), a class of Environmental Journalism students at the UP campus (Quezon City) and for WWF members who attended Figaro Foundation's coffee farm tour at the IIRR compound in Silang, Cavite.

The club played a key role in promoting bird watching in the country by providing assistance and bird guides to visiting birders. In January, club members took Singapore-based photographer Edsel Ramos to the Tambo mudflats for a photo shoot. Four Taiwanese birders led by Scott Lin, from the Endemic Species Research Institute in Nantou, Taiwan, came on a 3-week bird watching trip.

Scott Lin and Party with Palawan guide

In February, nine birders from the Wild Bird Federation of Taiwan led by its president, Dr. Tseng Guo-fang, also spent 3 weeks birding different sites in the islands of Luzon, Mindanao and Palawan. Davao-based birders Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Glick, & visiting American birder Ron Martin were shown around the UP campus in Quezon City while Canadian birder Todd Pepper, on his last business trip to the Philippines, asked to see the Tambo mudflats.

Canadian birder Marc Boss who came in April to attend the International Parliamentary Union conference joined club members on a birding trip with to Mt. Makiling.

May started with a request by the Philippine Eagle Foundation in Manila to accompany American raptor book author Dr. William Clark on a half-day birding within Manila. Okinawa-based UP Geology graduate Allan Fernando, who first birded with the club 2 years ago, was shown around newly discovered sites in his old alma mater. Singapore businessman & bird photographer Ivor Lee went on his first trip to Subic in the company by 3 birders. Another Singaporean, artist Yong Ding Li, visited sites in Luzon, Bohol, and Palawan with new-found birding buddy, Mark Villa.

In August, a couple of visiting German biologists, Olaf Harjes and Tina Warnecke-Velasquez, went birdwatching with club members at the Tambo mudflats and Coastal Road Lagoons.


Club Trips - 32 trips

Birders at Westgrove Heights, Cavite
The WBCP regularly conducts bird watching trips for club members. Between January & September 2005, a total 32 trips were organized. These trips include joint trips with the DENR for bird counts during the Asian Waterbird Census.

The club scheduled two trips to Tambo Mudflats & Coastal Road Lagoon (Parañaque), and one trip to each of the following sites: Arroceros Forest Park (Manila), University of the Philippines (QC), Ateneo de Manila University (QC), Corinthian Gardens (Quezon City), Hagonoy Pumping Station (Taguig) & the parking lot of the Burger King in Welcome Rotunda (QC) to watch a pair of Peregrine Falcons!


Outside Metro Manila, the club scheduled one trip each to Westgrove Heights (Cavite), the Toyota Plant in Laguna International Industrial Park (Laguna), Mt. Makiling (Laguna), Boso-boso (Antipolo), Tanay (Rizal) & Sta. Cruz (Zambales). Five trips to Mt. Palay-Palay/Caylabne Bay Resort (Cavite), four trips to the Candaba Marsh (Pampanga) and one trip to the Pampanga Agricultural College (Pampanga).

Asian Waterbird Census

In cooperation with the Manila Bay Environmental Management Project (MBEMP) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the WBCP contributed to the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) with data from six sites.

Last year, the WBCP led the first census for Manila Bay sites within Metro Manila. This year, the club again led the census for two Metro Manila sites --Navotas and Parañaque.

Tim Fisher with Mike Lu

The WBCP also initiated the first joint AWC with DENR-Region 3 at Bgy. Simang, Candaba, Pampanga.. As a follow-up activity, we also conducted a joint 2nd quarter bird count with the DENR & MBEMP in April in Brgys. Simang & Paralaya in Candaba.

Cebu-based WBCP birders also contributed data from two new wetland sites not previously covered by the DENR --Binlod in the town of Argao, and the South Reclamation Project in Cebu City.


OTHER ACTIVITIES

In January, UK-based WBCP birder Jon Hornbuckle gave a lecture on Birds of the Philippines before 60 birders and students at the University of the Philippines.

Canadian birder Todd Pepper on his last business trip in March turned over three pairs of used binoculars to the club.

In May, the president had the opportunity to meet with Philip Round of the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand (BCST) and author of Birds of Thailand.

WBCP was invited by Kag. Norman Subido in July to give a talk on Philippine birds to 300+ Grade 5 & 6 students of the SSS Village Elementary School.

In August, upon the invitation of the WWF, Alice Villa-real gave a talk about Migratory Birds to Grade 3 pupils of the Beacon School in Taguig.

Awards

World Bank's Environmental Champion Award
In the launching of the World Bank's annual state-of-the-environment publication, the Philippine Environment Monitor (PEM) 2004, the WBCP was chosen as one of the Environmental Champions. PEM 2004 recognized environment champions "who have relied largely on their own resources and have demonstrated strong commitment to become pioneering champions of environmental protection."

The awards, given out for the first time this year, was held at the Visitor's Center of the Ninoy Aquino Park on June 20, 2005. The awards were handed out by Secretary Mike Defensor of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Mr. Joachim von Amsberg, the Country Director of the World Bank office in Manila.

On the same month, the Babuyan Expedition led by Carmela Espanola was awarded a British Petroleum Conservation Programme research grant award in the silver category for their project that seeks to conserve the Calayan Rail.


Media Exposure


Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo publicized the Asian Waterbird Census in January. The nation's leading newspapers (Inquirer, Bulletin and Star) and major news networks (ABS, ABC, GMA & RPN) featured the census.

The Candaba birds were also featured in TV shows, Magandang Gabi Bayan & Jessica Soho Reports. Senator Pia Cayetano of the Committee on Environment also attended the bird count.

Manila Bulletin's Picture Perfect column by Raffy Paredes featured the bird photographs of Gerry de Villa on May 11 and Romy Ocon on June 15.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer posted an article on June 23 written by Delfin Mallari, Jr. on the Philippine Ducks and other wild birds found inside the Mirant power plant in Pagbilao, Quezon. The writer was accompanied by WBCP founding members Mike Lu and Ricky de Castro, who works for the Mirant Foundation.

Mayor Jerry Pelayo of Candaba and Senator Pia Cayetano with daughter
Mount Makiling logo
The June 26 issue of the Starweek magazine of the Philippine Star featured the Babuyan expedition members - Lala Espanola, Carl Oliveros & Mads Bajarias - in the article, “Crusaders of the Wild” by Ann Corvera.

Singaporean WBCP member Yong Ding Li was featured in the article “Birding in Paradise with Ballpoint Pens” by Patricia Adversario on the July 19 edition of the web-based Global Pinoy of INQ7.

The August 7 issue of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine, writer Ross Harper-Alonso featured a full-page article on the WBCP and the Environmental Champion award. In the same issue, Carmela Espanola was also the subject of a full-page article “Child of the Forest & Her Winged Victory” by Nestor Burgos. Jr.

Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Michael Tan wrote about his birding experience after joining WBCP’s monthly guided trip on the September 14 issue of his column, Pinoy Kasi.

Club Affairs & Future Plans


On January 8, the WBCP held an election to select officers for the year 2005. The new members of the Executive Committee are Mike Lu (President), Jon Villasper (Vice- President), Kitty Arce (Secretary) and Albert Ramos (Treasurer). As stipulated by the club by-laws, a fifth member should be elected by the newly elected Execom. The Execom's unanimous choice was Nilo Arribas, Jr., who is based in Cebu.

The WBCP celebrated it’s 2nd anniversary party on July 16 at the residence of club secretary, Kitty Arce. The program hosted by Anna Gonzales started with the Membership, Trips and Records Committees reporting updates to the members. Members were also asked to introduce themselves and state the reasons why they joined the club. Bird identification & club trivia games followed with T-shirts designed by Arnel Telesforo as prizes.

Sketch of Steere's Pitta

The club will hold the 1st Philippine Bird Festival on November 18, 2005 at the Crossroad 77 Convenarium in Quezon City. The festival hopes to bring to attention the country's avifauna diversity to the general public. Activities include photo and art exhibits, lectures, film showing, children’s activities & bird watching trips. Exhibitors include the Philippine Eagle Foundation, Katala Foundation, WWF-Philippines, My Zoo Foundation, Isla Biodiversity Conservation, Conservation International, Center for Environmental Awareness and Education, Winner Foundation, National Museum-Manila, Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) & Manila Bay Environmental Management Project (MBEMP) of the DENR-NCR.

Forays into Conservation

While the WBCP has initially set itself out to be a bird-watching club, it gradually gets involved in conservation work. The Records Committee has worked on an updated Philippine Checklist and maintains a record of bird sightings from members, other environmental organizations and visiting birdwatchers

Due to the WBCP participation in the AWC, the club presented bird data during a consultative meeting at the DENR to draft an action plan to preserve the Candaba marsh.

WBCP also continues to monitor the government's plan to reclaim parts of coastal Parañaque & Las Piñas where more than 100 species of resident and migratory birds have been recorded by club members in the last two years

While it seems that the DENR-NCR has given up hope on saving Tambo mudflats, we were assured that the mangroves and mudflats on Freedom Island has taken the interest of the local governments of Las Piñas and Parañaque. Robert Alejandro & Caloy Libosada produced a powerpoint presentation based on the draft prepared by Arne Jensen to develop the lagoons into a bird sanctuary. The presentation was shown to the DENR and local stakeholders. However the representatives of the local government were not present and have not responded to our request for an appointment despite repeated attempts.

Philippine Bird Festival Logo

The WBCP hopes to bring media attention to the destruction of the only primary forest left in Cavite. A highway being constructed through the Mt. Palay-Palay National Park, the only Important Bird Area (IBA) in Cavite has momentarily been stopped due to lack of counterpart government funds. We are working behind-the-scenes to inform the potential donor agency of the continued destruction of this IBA should the project continue as planned.

The WBCP was recently invited by Roberto Cereno, program leader of the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems for a meeting to get input from club members on how the park could be more birder-friendly. Mr. Cereno has requested WBCP members to select a bird to represent Mt. Makiling.

With much deliberation, the members settled for the endemic Scale-feathered Malkoha. Birder-artist Jo Mike Tejido submitted a logo to the park administrators for approval.

The Wildlife Rescue Center of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) has rehabilitated 15 White-bellied Sea-eagles for release into the wild. Upon request for assistance, the WBCP provided the leash and leather materials to be used during transport. The eagles has been scheduled to be transferred to Corregidor Island in Manila Bay in late October.