The official website of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines
The official website of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines

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INVITATION TO A SUNDAY
AFTERNOON BIRDWALK

Birdwatch Philippines (registered as the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines) is organizing an afternoon birdwatching trip at the American War Memorial on October 31, Sunday at 3:00 pm. Assembly place at the parking lot inside the memorial.

Sponsored as a free public service of Birdwatch Philippines to promote birdwatching and responsible enjoyment of nature, this afternoon bird tour offers city dwellers the unique opportunity to view resident and migrant birds in an area close to home.

Not far from the hubbub of the Makati Central Business District is a rare oasis of tranquility. The American War Memorial is the largest facility outside the United States where remains of more than 17,000 U.S., Filipino and Allied servicemen killed in the Philippines and New Guinea during World War II are laid to rest. This sprawling 61.5 hectare plateau overlooking Laguna de Bay, the largest freshwater body in the Philippines, is also a haven for resident and migrant birds and other wildlife.

The endemic Lowland White-Eye (matang dulong) is found in large, active flocks gleaning insects in the tree crowns. Mature gardens in the Forbes Park area provide additional habitat for this species. With well-tended lawns, abundant greenery and towering trees, the American War Cemetery is the best place to view raptors and migrant passerines in Metro Manila. Gray-faced Buzzard (tikhe), Brahminy Kite (kali or lawin) and Eurasian Kestrel have been known to favor this eastern section of the Cemetery, and recently a Peregrine Falcon (limbas) was returned to this area after being banded. During winter migration, Yellow and Gray Wagtails frequent the lawns on both sides of the road further down the slope.

Lowland White-eye

Kingfisher

The concentric rows of white headstones are territory of resident pairs of Pied Bushchat and the trees offers a perch for White-Collared Kingfishers (sasala), which are among the most vocal and colorful birds in this place, as well as cover for the abundant Yellow-Vented Bulbuls (malipago).

The hedge and trees in the southeastern corner of the Cemetery harbor aggressive Pied Fantails (maria capra or pandangera) and with patience, the endemic Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker (patuktok) can be spotted tapping at a snag a few meters left of this place. The restricted area beyond the hedge provides refuge for Zebra and other wild doves, and Club members have noted the presence of Black Naped Oriole (kilyawan) and White-Breasted Wood-swallows (pagatpat) during the birding year.

 

Eastern slope overlooking Laguna de Bay.

Photo: Eastern slope overlooking Laguna de Bay.


With concrete sprawl encroaching on its perimeter, the American War Cemetery contains most of the few remaining acacia and flame trees that until a few years ago were found in abundance in the area. Pied Trillers, the recently introduced Ring Necked Parakeets and North American Gray Squirrels make a home in this section close to the War Memorial. The western side of the War Memorial offers a clear view of well-watered bushes from which Barred Rails (tikling) emerge as the sun sinks in the horizon.

Hats, walking or hiking shoes, jeans, sun block, insect repellent and drinking water are necessary for this expedition. Because this is a U.S.-administered facility, visitors must provide identification and register with the guard at the gate. Visitors are requested to respect the solemnity of the place, stay on the paved roads and keep wide berth of the restricted sections. Food is not allowed in the facility.

The American War Cemetery provides ample parking and well-maintained toilets.

The American War Cemetery is located along Old Lawton Drive in Fort Bonifacio. It is accessible from C-5, Nichols, or McKinley Road, Forbes Park. It can be reached from the Ayala MRT station by taking the jeepney at the terminal near the McKinley Road entrance of Forbes Park. The entrance to the Cemetery is a short walk from the last stop on this route. Alternatively, visitors can take the jeepneys from the Guadalupe or Nichols side, which will pass close to Old Lawton Drive. For a better appreciation of its location see Map 87 in the Metro Manila CITI-ATLAS.

 

Please sign up soon. We have 15 slots available for this trip.

Birdwatch Philippines can provide 10 pairs of 8 x 40 mm binoculars for rent at P50.00 each.

To sign up for the tour or to request more information, please contact Mike Lu at myckle@thenet.ph [0917-3350325] or Mark Villa at mjcv@yahoo.com [0917-8141582]