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La Mesa Dam

Date: March 7, 2004
Location: La Mesa Watershed
Time: 5:30am - 3:00pm
Birders: Nilo Arribas, Jr., Mark Jason Villa, Jon Villasper, Arne Jensen, Mike Lu

Bantay Kalikasan readily granted permission to the club to go birding in La Mesa Dam. A few days before, Arne coordinated with Forester Glenn Flores to map out an itinerary to cover the forested areas of the park and the section near the filtration plant. We entered the Montalban Gate just before 6:00 am and headed for the watch tower which Forester Glenn wanted us to see on a elevated portion of the property. The view from the tower is spectacular !

One could easily view the forested watershed including the mist-covered water surface and beyond to the skyscrapers of Ortigas. On a clear day one is supposed to see as far away as the mountains of Bataan. The first birds out were the WHITE-BREASTED WOOD SWALLOWS while the calls of the BLACK-NAPED ORIOLES pierced the air. The forest is just starting to stir when we continued on the dirt trail. A black bird had all of us following with our binoculars turned out to be a BAR-BELLIED CUCKOO SHRIKE - a first record for our Metro bird list ! Following the trail downhill the group encountered a flock of LOWLAND WHITE-EYES & a PYGMY WOODPECKER. At the bottom of the hill, the first bird encountered in the more forested area was the AMETHYST BROWN-DOVE, immediately followed by a WHITE-EARED BROWN DOVE and then a female BLACK-NAPED MONARCH. We followed a shallow stream in search of pittas but turned up empty handed.

Taking another trail that goes up a steep incline we finally saw the perimeter wall of the property. A few sections of the walls have holes big enough for poachers and loggers to come in. It was here that we have a good view of a flowerpecker first thought to be a male Bi-Colored Flowerpecker, but this one had a bright yellow patch on upper mantle, and fine, greyish stripes on upper part of body. Arne had us describing the bird while he took down notes. It shall remain a mystery bird for us all. It rained intermittently and the walk back to the Montalban gate was uneventful. We went back to the tower for lunch and to rest while comparing notes. Next birding site was the guesthouse by the filtration plant located in Fairview. With the traffic outside, it took us almost an hour to get back inside the dam premises again. The security was strict and we had to show a letter from Bantay Kalikasan before the military personnel guarding the premises would let us in. From the guesthouse, one had a nice view of the dam. We stayed for a while before a dark shape suddenly came gliding out from the forest. Someone shouted "OSPREY !" and had all of the birders looking for the bird that was now hovering and in another instant dove down with a splash into the water. Nilo had it on the scope and we can see that the bird was trying to catch fish but always come up empty handed. Later on it rested on a leafless tree, flew around again and was joined by another OSPREY as they flew out of focus. A LITTLE HERON that perched by itself nearby was the last bird we saw before we called it a day at 3pm ! LA MEZA DAM - RIZAL PORTION AND DAM AT FILTRATION PLANT, QC

La Mesa

Date: Sunday, March 7, 2004
Time: 05.30 - 15.00
Weather: Morning: No wind, partly cloudy. After 9.00 am: 6-8 /sec, 5-7/8 cloud cover, clear visibility, + 28-30 C.


1. Little Heron 1
2. Black-crowned Night-heron 2
3. Osprey (fishing excellently) 2
4. White-eared Brown-Dove (1 seen well + 6 heard) 7
5. Amethyst Brown-Dove (seen well) 1
6. Guaiabero 2
7. Scale-feathered Malkoha (heard) 1
8. Philippine Coucal 4
9. Nightjar sp (heard once. Eventually Philippine N.) 1
10. Island Swiftlet 140+
11. Glossy Swiflet 12
12. House Swift 4
13. White-collared Kingfisher (1 heard + 1 seen) 2
14. Blue-throated Bee-eater 4
15. Coppersmith Barbet (heard calling) 4
16. Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker )3 heard + 2 seen) 5
17. Barn Swallow 6
18. Pacific Swallow 8
19. Bar-bellied Cuckoo-shrike 4
20. Pied Triller 1
21. Ashy Minivet 20
22. Yellow-vented Bulbul 9
23. Philippine Bulbul 10+
24. Black-naped Oriole 7
25. Large-billed Crow 2
26. Elegant Tit (1 seen + 4 heard) 5
27. White-browed Shama (heard singing) 1
28. Golden-bellied Flyeater ( 2 seen) 8
29. Arctic Warbler 1
30. Tawny Grassbird (heard calling + 1 seen) 4
31. Grey-backed Tailorbird (heard singing) 3
32. Grey-streaked Flycatcher 3
33. Mangrove Blue Flycatcher 1
34. Blue-headed Fantail 2
35. Black-naped Monarch (female) 1
36. White-breasted Wood-Swallow 16
37. Long-tailed Shrike 1
38. Brown Shrike 5
39. Olive-backed Sunbird 4
40. Red-keeled Flowerpecker 4
41. Flowerpecker sp 1 (identical with male Bi-Colored Flowerpecker
42. but w/ yellow patch on upper mantle, and fine, grayish stripes on upper part of body !)
43. Lowland White-eye 35+
44. Scaly-breasted Munia 2