Location: U.P. Diliman campus
Time: 4:30 P.M. to 6:00 P.M., hot, humid
my wife Marilyn and daughter Sasha on a walk around U.P. campus
this afternoon on recon for migrant flycatchers. GOLDEN-BELLIED
GERYGONE were singing in the trees along Jacinto Avenue as
we helped Sasha toddle along on the sidewalk. We didn't have
luck with that species in other parts of the campus we visited
but we did encounter several BROWN SHRIKES in the vicinity
of Lakandula Street, the campus police station, and the groves
around Executive House. Brown Shrikes proved to be the most
common and conspicuous species of the day.
TREE SPARROWS were most apparent on the pipe running through
the field on the inbound lane of University Avenue. A Brown
Shrike perched in the midst of the Tree Sparrows did not seem
to mind the others chatter. To those unfamiliar with U.P.
campus, the field through which runs a creek is within sight
of the Administration Building.
the Vargas Museum, the noisy pair of WHITE-COLLARED KINGFISHERS
made their appearance in the trees behind us and offered satisfying
looks. YELLOW-VENTED BULBULS were most common in the trees
near the flowering police station and though vocal around
the Lagoon were a bit shy because of the large number of people
out for an afternoon stroll. It was frustrating not to be
able to spot the ARCTIC WARBLERS in the canopy nor most of
the PIED FANTAILS that are common around the Lagoon. I finally
managed one fantail in the middle story of a tree off Beta
Way and that was good enough.
the walk back to waiting shed on the corner of Jacinto and
University Avenue, we were treated to the sight of a pair
of CRESTED MYNAHS cockily foraging in the grass near the water
pipe. These took off for the trees displaying their distinct
white wing patches.
bird of the day was a noisy STRIATED GRASSBIRD perched on
the lamppost in the traffic island.
Location: U.P. Diliman campus
Time: 3:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.
that I needed to stretch my legs again today. Proceeded on
foot from Philcoa and decided to follow Garcia all the way
to the N.I.G.S. building. Garcia Avenue is to me the most
pedestrian unfriendly road in campus. The road is in the last
phase of expansion, the sidewalks have not been finished and
the motorists refuse to slow down for pedestrians trying to
get around various barriers left by the road crews.
I spotted a pair of PACIFIC SWALLOWS flying around the reed-grown
patches past the PHILVOCS building. Opted out of Hardin Ni
Doña Aurora because it was still too hot to bird and kids
flying kites overran the area. Had a passing look at the grassland
in the vicinity of the Math Building and N.I.G.S. but the
site didn't seem to host any birds that time. Quite noticeable
was the lack of bird activity in the large trees that lined
Emerging on Roxas from behind Palma Hall, I was rewarded by
a change of atmosphere. Nothing could be sweeter than the
wheezy song of Golden-Bellied Gerygone and the calls of the
resident White-Collared Kingfishers following nearly an hour
of bird-less hiking.
walk around the vicinity of the Lagoon and Beta Way only turned
up a single Brown Shrike. So I decided to sit in the shade
on the slope below Lakandula Street which afforded an unobstructed
view of the creek. Turned out to be a good observation point
because immediately I found the pair of Crested Mynahs from
yesterday's visit. It appears that the pair - it's their breeding
season this month - roosts on top of the Administration Building
and roughly has a territory that includes the lot around U.P.
Press, the groves around Vargas Museum and the field with
the creek. For the next two hours, I would watch the Mynahs
perched in surrounding trees, strutting in the short grass,
frolicking among leaks from the water pipe. Near the Press
office, I even managed to get within five meters of one.
male Brown Shrike seen in the area yesterday was back at its
post surveying its territory from the water pipe. It remained
there for most of the afternoon, only venturing off to seize
prey in the grass. Like the day before, the Brown Shrike did
not appear bothered by the noisy Eurasian Tree Sparrows that
flocked around it.
Yellow-Vented Bulbuls flying across campus would occasionally
alight in the tree near the pipe. Three ZEBRA DOVES landed
in the same branches until driven off by the presence of kids
tramping across the grass.
the creek downstream with my binoculars, I found a LONG-TAILED
SHRIKE keeping watch from a stand of bamboo on my side of
the creek. A second Long-tailed Shrike showed up on a termite
mound on the northern bank quite close to the Brown Shrike's
water pipe later in the afternoon.
the sun bore down on my position, I took off for the shelter
of Beta Way where I spotted another Zebra Dove, more Yellow-Vented
Bulbul, Pied Fantails and by accident a pair of PHILIPPINE
PYGMY WOODPECKERS whose thin trilling drew me to a leafless
tree near the Gonzales Hall. I spent several minutes watching
these endemic birds creeping up and down bare branches in
search of insects and grubs.
my way home, I could not resist cutting across the field for
a last look at the Long-tailed Shrikes. As I approached the
tree line beside University Avenue, one of these beautiful
birds protested the intrusion with a stream of sharp cries.
I saw little more except for the Striated Grassbird encountered
yesterday still at the same lamppost from which it had been
singing all afternoon. On the walk back to Commonwealth Avenue,
I could still hear the Pied Fantails and Brown Shrikes calling
out in the twilight.
U.P. Diliman Bird List, April 5 and 6 (*), 2003
Dove* - 4
2. Rock Dove* - 1
3. White-Collared Kingfisher - 2
4. Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker * - 2
5. near the Beta Way Pacific Swallow * - 2
6. Yellow-Vented Bulbuls - Common throughout campus
7. Golden-Bellied Gerygone - Heard throughout but none seen
8. Arctic Warbler - Heard in Lagoon area
9. Striated Grassbird - 1
10. Pied Fantail - Common in vicinity of Beta Way and Lagoon
11. Long-Tailed Shrike* - 2 in
field along University Drive near the Administration Building
12. Brown Shrike - Common and
13. Crested Mynah - 2 roosts in Administration Building
14. Eurasian Tree Sparrows - Common with large concentrations
in field near the brook
Parañaque Mudflats and Coastal Road
Time: 6:30 A.M. to 9:00 A.M., hot and humid
by Mike Lu, Jon Villasper and Ned Liuag
Mike Lu and Jon Villasper on a quick visit to Tambo, Parañaque
this morning. At 5:30 A.M. the thermometer was hitting 30
degrees Celsius indoors promising another warm, humid day!
Mike and Jon drove at sunrise and we headed for the site through
miraculously light traffic.
species of the day was a flock of over 20 CHESTNUT MUNIAS
feeding in the grass near Building 2 of the Coastal Mall.
Jon remarked that he has not seen them in such large numbers.
Nor have I.
few meters on we tracked a TAWNY GRASSBIRD as it sailed across
Macapagal Boulevard and started to call from its new perch
in the scrub.
grassland was beginning to regenerate after severe fires in
the previous months so we nearly missed the footpath leading
to the channel (identified as Lagoon B in the CitiAtlas Map
90). We got nice views of six LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS feeding
on the sand bar in the middle of the waterway. A few moments
later, we tracked a LITTLE HERON as it flew downstream. From
our location we also saw the first of several COMMON SANDPIPERS,
COMMON KINGFISHERS and WHISKERED TERNS of the day.
the mound we call Point One, we caught sight of a pair of
LITTLE EGRETS - their black bills and legs and yellow feet
visible in flight - as these approached the shallows from
the south. As if on cue, ten BARN SWALLOWS shot out of the
reeds nearby and across the channel to disappear over ASEANA
Business Park. At this time, a mix of Whiskered Terns and
a scattering of WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERNS flew in from Manila
Bay and started diving and picking meals from the water surface.
I was still watching the terns when Mike and Jon called my
attention to three unidentified RAILS - most likely to be
BARRED RAILS - they spotted wandering by the dirt road in
the ASEANA Business Park side of the channel.
for night-herons, we moved on to the mound called Point Two
overlooking the shallows of Lagoon C. As we walked in that
direction, we spotted another Common Kingfisher and a second
Common Sandpiper in the channel that branched off Lagoon B.
Occasionally, a Whiskered Tern would fly past indifferent
to our presence. A single HOUSE SWIFT also shot past, its
contrasting white rump visible in the bright sun.
view from Point Two proved disappointing. The only birds in
the area were terns, two FERAL ROCK DOVES pecking at the mud
and the pair of egrets spotted earlier. The dry scrub in the
western end of the Marina property had been partially cleared,
which might explain the absence of the large concentration
of night-herons observed during the March 2 survey.
Mike pointed to a dark shape that would briefly fly out from
among the aruma thorn bushes and mangroves. This turned out
to be our second Little Heron, though we were hoping to locate
the Yellow Bitterns he and Todd Pepper flushed on their March
there were lots of birds to keep the three of us busy. Jon
and Mike disappeared among the mangroves where I found them
later observing a pair of GOLDEN-BELLIED GERYGONES in the
thorny aruma thicket. This is far the best Manila birding
site to see these small birds up close.
spent an hour at least trying to find one of five or six CLAMOROUS
REED WARBLERS calling from the aroma and mangrove stand less
than a couple of dozen meters square. In our hunt for this
species, something unexpected turned up. All three of us saw
the bird in bright sun from a distance of about five meters.
It had flown out from the scrub; perched on a branch some
slightly two meters from the ground for about 15 seconds,
then it disappeared into a clump of grass nearby. It resembled
a cisticola except being slightly larger and bulkier. Jon
and Mike confirmed that the bird had a streaked brown back,
white throat and belly and buff-colored flanks and breast.
I did not notice the color of its crown because its head was
towards me. Later in the day, going over the illustration
in the Kennedy Guide and the photo in Tim Fisher's book, I
thought the bird remarkably resembled a rare (or under-reported)
STREAKED REED WARBLER. Its call sounded like a soft "ngiw"
which I heard a couple of times.
We were still trying to decide what this species was when
Jon motioned skywards. Four BEE-EATERS flew overhead towards
the north, too high for us to identify between the two resident
species yet providing a pleasant surprise.
Investigating another corner of the mangroves and thorn thicket,
we located a few more noisy Clamorous Reed Warblers. Still
it was very difficult to see them at length because they never
emerged from deep in the under brush. We heard and also saw
a single PIED FANTAIL though we expected more considering
this is the right habitat for this species.
decided to take a different trail through the grassland, skirting
the sentry hut and an unfriendly dog that snapped at Jon and
Mike. While both were trying to avoid the dog, I caught sight
of a handful of EURASIAN TREE SPARROWS foraging on the ground
amidst the tall dray grass. Here we also saw the first of
two BROWN SHRIKES followed by a BRIGHT-CAPPED CISTICOLA perched
on a grass stalk close to the trail.
exiting the Tambo grassland we managed to spot a ZEBRA DOVE
while the Tawny Grassbird obliged by making another display
flight across Macapagal Boulevard into the nearby scrub.
Next stop was the restaurant complex and fish port along Coastal
Road. Here we accidentally flushed a Common Sandpiper and
Common Kingfisher from the embankment. The sandpiper flew
to a mangrove stump in the distance, where it was joined by
one of dozens of Whiskered Terns. We counted two GREY HERONS,
four GREAT EGRETS - long necks outstretched - and eight Little
Egrets in the shallows. In the far distance we could see dozens
of plovers and terns wheeling about the opposite shore.
for a better look, we drove up to the embankment road outside
the Ital-Thai construction site. Tough luck. The dozens of
terns we saw flying around the construction cranes had disappeared
as sudden as they arrived. What we did see was a plump white
Rock Dove struggling against the strong gusts of wind that
it appeared to be hovering above the water.
down the road, we flushed another two Common Sandpipers from
below the embankment and heard a couple more Clamorous Reed
Warblers and Grassbird in the surrounding scrub. On the way
back to the car, I had the luck to see and hear a YELLOW WAGTAIL
in characteristic undulating flight along the shore.
Mudflats/Coastal Road BIRD LIST:
Heron - 2 seen in shallows off Coastal Road
2. Great Egret - 4 off Coastal Road
3. Little Egret - 2 in Tambo mudflats, 8 off Coastal Road
4. Little Heron - 2 in Tambo Lagoon B and mangrove stand
5. Unidentified Rails - 3 in ASEANA Business Park grassland
6. Little Ringed Plovers - 6 in Lagoon B sandbar
7. Common Sandpiper - 1 in Lagoon B, 1 near Lagoon C, 1 off
Coastal Road restaurants, 2 outside Ital-Thai site
8. White-Winged Tern - a few
9. Whiskered Tern - Scores in all sites
10. Zebra Dove - 1 in Tambo grassland
11. Rock Dove - 2 foraging in mudflats, 1 outside Ital-Thai,
10 while driving along Coastal Road
12. House Swift - 1 near mangrove stand
13. Common Kingfisher - 1 in Lagoon B, 1 near Lagoon C, 1
in Coastal Road restaurant complex
14. Unidentified Bee-eaters
- 4 flew over Tambo mangrove stand
15. Barn Swallow - 10 in grassland beside Lagoon B Golden-Bellied
Gerygone - 2 in mangrove stand Clamorous Reed
16. Warbler - 5+ in mangrove stand
17. Streaked Reed Warbler - 1 suspected in mangrove stand
18. Tawny Grassbird - 2 in grassland
19. Bright-capped Cisticola - 1 in Tambo grassland
20. Pied Fantail - 1 in mangrove stand
21. Yellow Wagtail - 1 outside Ital-Thai site
22. Brown Shrike - 2 in Tambo grassland
23. Eurasian Tree Sparrow - a few Chestnut Munia - 20+