Friday, 13 June, 2003
by Mads Bajarias, Mike Lu, Jon Villasper
three of us met in front of Jolibee, UST-Dapitan at 0530H.
From there we went straight to the New Bilibid Prison compound
in Muntilupa (first time there). Just past the gate, there
was this pond which was landscaped by the administration with
rock terraces painted white and a statuette of the Virgin
Mary in the middle rock island. I recalled this pond being
featured in one of those TV documentaries (think it was Magandang
Gabi Bayan, incidentally they featured Samar Island last Saturday
with Lala's mentor JC Gonzales sporting a moustache...new
look...heheheh...). The TV doc said that this pond is a natural
feature and frequented by the locals.
said we were to do the Dam site first and probably check the
pond later, and so off we went.
dam was next to the shooting range. As soon as we alighted
from the car a single BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON flew over
us. A good omen I thought. We
down the shores of the reservoir and briefly scoured the area
to familiarize ourselves with it. There were some fishpens
in the middle of the "lake" and some stretch of lillies towards
the dam. One or two men were perched on trees brandishing
airguns probably hunting tilapia.
went towards the dam to investigate any waders that may be
hiding among the water plants. Nothing, except for a single
loud splash which I think was just a fish. We wanted to get
to the opposite bank but the dam was covered with mounds of
lilies and the thought of having one or two holes along the
wall has to remain a thought. No need to prove otherwise.
Looking down the stream where the dam empties it's excess
water, we resolved that it's a better deal and having a small
stream with rocks and some good tree
it might prove to be good habitat for wagtails. So down we
went...No wagtails, just mosquitoes so we went up the other
side and started birding again. The usual bunch of birds showed
themselves, YELLOW-VENTED BULBULS, EURASIAN TREE SPARROWS,
STRIATED GRASSBIRDS, and BRIGHT-CAPPED CISTICOLAS
we took different routes to investigate. After a while Mike
and I caught up with Mads who was stalking something when
a black bird with a white wing stripe flew over. We were not
able to identify the bird so we tried following it. Pursuing
what we thought was its call, we went back and traced it to
a tree behind some undergrowth. It took us sometime trying
to act like cats when it flew away again. Another stalk session
our prey -- a striated grassbird. We were following the wrong
efforts were rewarded as soon as we came off the trail to
a dirt road. We ha d a good view of ths tall tree where our
black bird (two of them) began showing themselves. We speculated
Pied Trillers but cannot confirm yet so we left them and walked
down the dirt road. We stopped at a fork along the road where
we faced a field and a largish tree with some bare branches.
I saw a small bird but as soon as I focused my bins it was
gone. This fork and the dirt road going left proved to be
the a good site. Another one of them black birds appeared
and we identified it as a PIED TRILLER. Soon enough we were
seeing trillers everywhere in two's or more. The small bird
appeared once again and this time stayed a bit longer. Mads
suggested a PYGMY FLOWERPECKER, and after scanning our bible,
we placed it as such owing to the sound it made.
small, yellow bird appeared, this time we got to see the whites
of his eye, a LOWLAND WHITE-EYE. Still at the fork, we were
hearing coucals to the left so we proceeded down this direction
then suddenly a Mike and Mads were pointing to the undergrowth
at the right side of the road where a large bird with striations
all over landed, an immature LESSER COUCAL. Not long after,
Mike pointed out another coucal flying (or was it jumping)
very low in the field. This time it's a mature Lesser Coucal.
continued down the road where a small garbage dump was located.
I immediately thought of Pied Buschats but none showed up
this time. We were about to go back when Mads heard some melodious
whistling atop some bamboo. I said it sounded familiar and
could probably be just a Yellow-vented Bulbul or a Malaysian
Fantail. Mike went don to the bamboo and tried to look for
the bird. Mads followed suit and I said what the heck, it's
still a bird.
two suddenly pointed up the growth and there was this black
bird with a white wing-stripe with its back towards us and
perched like a flycatcher and a bit larger. It flew away without
us being able to identify it once more.
the likely candidates suddenly began flashing in our minds...Pied
Triller...Black and White Triller...Pied Flycatcher...Minivet...Oriental
Magpie-robin...etc. Magpie-robin seemed to be the most likely
candidate but Mads and I did not see its front and it seemed
to be too small to be one. Mike, being the nearest, confirmed
some white in front. Having no other alternative, we can say
we just found an ORIENTAL MAGPIE-ROBIN.
also found two LEMON-THROATED LEAF WARBLERS just before the
Magpie-robin, by the way...and a PIED FANTAIL along the way.
that we haven't heard any flyeaters yet, GOLDEN-BELLIED FLYEATERS
suddenly made their presence heard.
to see the OMR once more, we went down to the field to look
for it. The heat was becoming quite unbearable and while standing
behind a tree, Mike called out to show a LONG-TAILED SHRIKE.
We found three more of those in that area and a ZEBRA DOVE
while going back.
decided to go back after three hours of birding. We retraced
our route but we hesitated for a while after hearing shots
being fired from the shooting range. Think stray bullets...but
having no other choice we continued and while negotiating
the slope going to the other side, we heard a PYGMY WOODPECKER
but were not able to see it.
proceeded to Monument Hill where we briefly scanned the pond
that I mentioned earlier. Being quite hot and devoid of good
vegetation, the only living things there some goats, two truckers
and a guy taking a rest, and a couple seizing the moment oblivious
of our presence.
Black-crowned Night Heron (1)
Striated Grassbird (3+)
Pied Triller (5+)
Bright-capped Cisticola (c. 3)
Pygmy Flowerpecker (c. 2)
Lemon-throated Leaf Warbler (2)
Lowland White-eye (c. 2)
Lesser Coucal (2)
Oriental Magpie Robin (1)
Pied Fantail (1)
Long-tailed Shrike (4)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (...)
Zebra Dove (1)
Pygmy Woodpecker (heard only)
the NBP we proceeded to bird at the...
Ever Memorial Gardens, Muntinlupa
is the memorial park going to the left at the Susana Heights
exit. The guards at the checkpoint asked where we were headed
and we promptly said to the memorial park, upon which he opened
the guard rail and we were in. I didn't quite get the logic
since we were never asked for any identification.
the use of the checkpoint, pray tell?
road leading to the memorial park had no people around, was
quite Green and seemed promising. As we entered the park gate
Mads and I spotted another LESSER COUCAL to the right. Mike,
being on the wheel, wasn't able to see it. We drove around
investigating the site and eventually stopped at the park's
edge where some mausoleums were located along with the above-ground
graves. We started with a large tree at the edge and by the
creek. Again, the usual birds immediately presented themselves,
BULBULS, PIED FANTAILS, EURASIAN TREE SPARROWS, and STRIATED
LOWLAND WHITE-EYE also showed up and just as Mads and Mike
were moving away, a rather scrawny
WHITE-EARED BROWN DOVE perched from where the white-eye last
were getting quite low-batt so we decided to tour the remaining
areas of the park to look for Zebra Doves and call it a day.
Driving along the sparsely-inhabited (can you say that given
that it's a cemetery?) end of the park, we chanced upon a
WHITE-REASTED WOOD SWALLOW perched on a tree. We found six
ZEBRA DOVES feeding on the opposite block looking like randomly
thrown rocks on the ground.
parked at a dead end (how appropriate) where we saw two more
zebras and walked towards an undeveloped area with lots of
ipil-ipil and grass hoping to get another coucal. We found
nothing except for another wood swallow flying over us from
time to time and a coucal or two calling somewhere. While
letting the car's interior cool down a couple of SCALY-BREASTEDMUNIAS
alighted on a dead tree in front of us.
took to the car and we came across two striated birds walking
on the ground. We initially thought of Richard's Pipit but
they seemed to be too thin to be pipits and they looked more
like Striated Grassbirds which they were when one of them
flew over to a low branch.
was a LONG-TAILED SHRIKE somewhere here, too. Can't recall
think this site has to be revisited once more and much earlier.
Lesser Coucal (1)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (...)
Yellow-vented Bulbul (2+)
Striated Grassbird (2+)
Pied Fantail (1)
Lowland White-eye (1)
White-eared Brown Dove (1)
White-breasted Wood Swallow (2)
9. Zebra Dove (8)
Scaly-breasted Munia (2)