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.
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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
[0917-3350325] or Mark Villa at email@example.com