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Ayala Westgrove Heights, Silang, Cavite

Date: July 20, 2003
Warm to hot, a bit humid, with a slightly overcast sky
Birders: Mads Bajarias, Jon Villasper, Mike Lu, James McCarthy, Natalie & Padi McCarthy
Trip report by Jon Villasper

Mike, Mads and I met at 0530H at Jollibee UST in Dapitan. From there we took Forbes going to Nagtahan, turned left to Quirino Ave and straight to the SLEX.

We were supposed to meet Ricky de Castro at a gas station in Sta Rosa before turning right towards Westgrove but he wasn't able to show up.

Along the way, we spotted our first bird, a CINNAMON BITTERN, flying over the Mamplasan Exit of the SLEX.

James met us at the entrance of Westgrove and we immediately proceeded to a place that we called Bee-eater Valley where Mike "saw bee-eaters here gliding down from the highlands and through this passage last April/May." Lots of birds although at first it would look likeone of your ordinary gorges with some vegetation on the slopes and grassland and rice at the flat top.

Very evident were the TAWNY GRASSBIRDS, BRIGHT-CAPPED CISTICOLAS, WHITE-THROATED KINGFISHERS (which were all over), LOWLAND WHITE-EYES, RED-KEELED FLOWERPECKERS, YELLOW-VENTED BULBULS, and of course, our favorite EURASIAN TREE SPARROWS. PHILIPPINE COUCALS and COPPERSMITH BARBETS were heard and seen, too along with 2 or 3 PHILIPPINE BULBULS. James brought a spotting scope along and we got a good look at the barbets and the WT Kingfisher. ELEGANT TITS, a WHITE-COLLARED KINGFISHER, PIED BUSCHATS, WHITE-BELLIED and SCALY-BREASTED MUNIAS, and a PYGMY WOODPECKER completed the list for the first session on this site.

After several minutes on this site, we moved on towards the second site stopping twice to check on a ZEBRA DOVE on a far-away tree and to train our ears on a calling ORIENTAL MAGPIE-ROBIN. A solitary SPOTTED DOVE was seen on the ground at the corner where we took a left turn towards James' place.

The second site is on the far side of Westgrove going down a steeply-sloping road with a roundabout at the end. Mike and Mads named this Coucal Valley due to the exceptionally high number of PHILIPPINE COUCALS that flew around and called. Mike should be very happy to see lots of his favorite bird.

We parked our vehicles just before the road went down and sat on the scrub beyond the guard rails. James mentioned that we could expect a MANGROVE BLUE-FLYCATCHER and a BLUE-NAPED MONARCH here. However, we just heard the two birds most of the time with a single showing of a female MBF.

On a nearby dead tree, another barbet showed up which we got to see very well on the scope. James showed us the barbet's nest on the tree which was a hole on one of the branches. It seemed to be nursing a juvenile as it was regularly going flying away and going back with food. James remarked that the bird inside must be very young since the parent had to put it's head in the hole quite deeply.

James heard a PLAIN BUSH-HEN and a WHITE-BREASTED WATERHEN just as I was about to join Mike and Mads who went down the

This place wasn't as promising as the first site probably due to the time of our arrival. As a treat though, we were able to see an albino Philippine Coucal. There are at least three of them in Westgrove according to James.

As we retreated to have breakfast courtesy of our gracious host, James, we were able to spot a LARGE-BILLED CROW and a ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET flying almost in succession along the road.

We settled at James' veranda which he aptly called McCarthy Lookout. He kept on convincing Mike to buy a lot there so he could also have a "Lu(k)out." Bad sounding pun, if you'd ask me. We just sat there, having coffee and bread, while talking about some issues regarding the club and birding at the same time.

...You know what? This is taking too long and the birds keep on repeating themselves. I've got the bird list as a table below marked by site.

To finish this report, we had a flushing activity to see the BARRED and SPOTTED BUTTONQUAILS, which we did. We also had a last look at the Bee-eater Valley where we chanced upon a PHILIPPINE HAWK-CUCKOO.

A short trip to the reclamation area at 1300H under searing afternoon heat rewarded us with a good look of BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON eggs and a chick.

Common Name Scientific Name  Count  VB  CV  ML  EW RA Remarks
Cinnamon Bittern                
Yellow Bittern                
Black-crowned Night-Heron                
Red Junglefowl                
Barred Buttonquail                 
Spotted Buttonquail                 
White-breasted Waterhen                 
Plain Bush-hen                 
Oriental Pratincole                
Spotted Dove                
Zebra Dove                
Philippine Hawk-cuckoo                
Philippine Coucal                
Glossy Swiftlet                
White-throated Kingfisher                
White-collared Kingfisher                
Coppersmith Barbet                
Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker                
Pacific Swallow                
Pied Triller                
Yellow-vented Bulbul                
Philippine Bulbul                
Large-billed Crow                
Elegant Tit                
Oriental Magpie-robin                
Pied Bushchat