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Westgrove Birding

Westgrove Birding by James McCarthy

Location: Westgrove Hts, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
Date: February 23, 2003

Going out before 6 I had a single objective - to get a good picture of the White Throated Kingfisher which is common in the subdivision but hard to catch after early morning. I wanted a good picture because Ayala is doing a PR release on me/ birding/ westgrove and I wanted a nice colorful picture for them.

After a slow drive around before the guards & maintenance crew started work I managed a poor kingfisher shot and was giving up hope when I managed to get a great picture at about 7:10. Taking pictures with a digital camera through a telescope is very tricky (least of all trying to actualy find the bird in the monitor on the back of the camera at about 60X when sunlight is screwing up the LCD is very stressful). Second the timer of 10 seconds is too long for most birds but I am happy to say I am slowly getting better at it.

The kingfisher must be my best picture yet.

After that I drove off to my favorite patch - note Westgrove is a grass/ mango orchard of 100+ hectares with 30 houses. It also overlooks two deep raines typical of the Silang/ cavite area...full of bamboo & secondary scrub.

Just as I started to drive I found a pair of spotted Doves....managed a blurry picture of these (at least something is better than nothing).

Reaching my site too late for the Tailorbird (it appears every day just as the sun hits the bamboo) I managed quite a few birds:

1. Barbet resident pair
2. Oriole pair
3. Y V Bulbul 20
4. Elegant Tit 4+
5. Arctic Warbler 1
6. Pygmy WPecker pair
7. Pacific Swallow 4
8. Phil Coucal 3 (incl an albino)
9. Mangrove B Flycatcher 1 singing
10. Tawney Grassbird 2
11. Olove Backed Sunbird 4
12. Red Keeled FPecker 2
13. Lowland White-eye 10

The place is hard to take photos since the birds are far. As I was thinking of going, a medium sized brown bird flew into the bamboos & getting my binoculars on it I was able to confirm Westgrove's first White eared Brown Dove. It was very obliging...allowing me to put the camera back on the scope & take a picture...which although pretty dreadful does show all the characteristic features (incl the under-tail coverts...though I notice alot of white here which is not in the field guide - comments please Des).

So very happy I went home & after being a good dad managed to add Red Rumped Swallow to my year list for the garden (only 2nd westgrove record) and then while playing with the kids had a lovely Peregrine (first westgrove record & very very long overdue) and a cuckoo - probably Oriental.

All in all not a bad day!