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Caylabne Bay and Mt. Palay-Palay Highway

Location: Caylabne Bay Resort, Ternate, Cavite
Date: MARCH 27, 2004, 1600H-1830H
Weather: Sunny with occasional breeze
by Nilo Arribas Jr , Ivor Lee, Mike Lu, Romy Benitez

Caylabne Bay Resort has agreed to host our stay over the weekend in exchange for bird photos taken by our Singaporean friend Ivor Lee. Arriving at the resort at 2 pm, it was steaming hot and we decided to venture out later at 4pm. Romy Benitez, the Grounds Supervisor, was to join us around the resort. The noisy ASIAN GLOSSY STARLINGS were the first birds seen as we walked towards the Mediterrean-style villas.

We met Romy outside the El Patio restaurant and headed for the grasslands. An ORIENTAL MAGPIE-ROBIN showed itself pretty well followed by the WHITE-EARED BROWN DOVE. The "pok-poking" calls of the COPPERSMITH BARBET took our attention away as we can see a pair perched near the helipad. Behind the helipad we headed for the secluded hideout of the PHILIPPINE DUCKS. At first, it looked deceptively still and we thought the ducks might have fled the area. Suddenly to our immediate right, a small flock of ducks floated by. The birds detected our presence and gave a few warnings calls and flew away. Almost immediately, more ducks came out of nowhere <... and more and more ...> as they took to the water and swam upstream. I estimated 120+ birds but more could be hiding elsewhere as previous counts came close to 300 birds. See attached picture. Ivor and Romy tried to get closer but only succeeded in scaring off the ducks which took to the air and flew in circles before settling down again in the far side of the estuary.

Emerging back to the grasslands, Nilo and I spotted our mystery bird ... a green bird that turned out to be a female PINK NECK GREEN PIGEON. We made sure Ivor took a picture of it but he was more interested in the PIED BUSHCHAT and the BLUE ROCK THRUSH. Turned out that pink necks are very common in Singapore that he can just look out his apartment window and see these birds everyday. We headed for the bridge that goes to the private villas. PACIFIC SWALLOWS flew about and a pair of BLACK-NAPED ORIOLES came to perch on the dead trees. Our favorite spot on top of the elevated bridge gives us very good views of the surrounding area and we easily spotted the WHITE-BREASTED WOOD SWALLOW, PIED TRILLER, YELLOW-VENTED BUBUL. A solitary WHITE-BELLIED SEA EAGLE flew past as we headed for the next birdsite before it gets dark.

The WHITE-THROATED KINGFISHER was one bird that fascinated Ivor because the white mark on its throat is almost non-existent compared to the white spot in the kinfishers in Singapore. Fortunately we saw 2 kingfishers by the roadside leading to the pond by employee housing area. There were no bee-eaters this time around and there were 4 boys fishing in the pond so the birds were no where to be found.

Back at the resort we had dinner. Rested a bit and went out for a round of "owling." We followed the road around the resort holding on to our flashlights but using only the moonlight as our light. A security guard was assigned to escort us. We heard what sounded like an owl in the distance but otherwise saw and heard nothing else.

The next morning, we headed out of the resort at 5:30am and almost run over a nightjar. It took us by surprise and we were not able to identify it. We were to meet up with Arne along the highway. Arne had wanted to show us a new birding trail that runs deep into the forest. *This early morning trip will be the subject of a separate trip report.

Coming back to the resort at 9:30am, Nilo saw a pair of RED-CRESTED MALKOHAS by the roadside just outside the Las Casas de Cala Buena. Ivor was happy enough to have seen these lifers and took a few shots of this elusive bird. We had a late breakfast and I was ready to head back to the cool compforts of my room. Ivor and Nilo though decided they needed to make the most of their time and stayed out birding till past noon. Both came back hot and tired, howver they had good views of a pair of PHILIPPINE PYGMY WOODPECKERS, PIED FANTAIL, BROWN SHRIKE, BRAHMINY KITES and the LOWLAND WHITE-EYE.

We went back for late lunch at 2:00 pm and left the resort at 3:00 pm, not knowing that more birds await us along the highway. A separate birdlist follows below.

Caylabne Resort
Caylabne Resort, Philippines

Caylabne Bay BIRD LIST:
53 Philippine Duck [Anas luzonica] - 120+
70 Brahminy Kite [Haliastur indus] -many
71 White-bellied Sea-Eagle [Haliaeetus leucogaster] -1
200 Pink-necked Green-Pigeon [Treron vernans] - 3, 2 male & 1 female
222 Zebra Dove [Geopelia striata] -1
201 White-eared Brown-Dove [Phapitreron leucotis] -1
223 Common Emerald Dove [Chalcophaps indica] - 1
259 Red-Crested Malkoha [Phaenicophaeus superciliosus] - 2
263 Philippine Coucal [Centropus viridis] - several heard
287 Nightjar sp - 1, sitting by the roadside
294 Glossy Swiftlet [Collocalia esculenta] - common
315 White-throated Kingfisher [Halcyon smyrnensis] -2
318 White-collared Kingfisher [Todirhamphus chloris] - 1
333 Coppersmith Barbet [Megalaima haemacephala] -1 male + 1 female
334 Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker [Dendrocopos maculatus] - 3
349 Barn Swallow [Hirundo rustica} - 3
350 Pacific Swallow [Hirundo tahitica] - common
361 Pied Triller [Lalage nigra] - 4
369 Yellow-vented Bulbul [Pycnonotus goiavier] -many
374 Philippine Bulbul [Ixos philippinus] -2
385 Black-naped Oriole [Oriolus chinensis] - 5
389 Slender-billed Crow [Corvus enca] -1
396 Stripe-headed Rhabdornis [Rhabdornis mystacalis] -3
421 Oriental Magpie-Robin [Copsychus saularis] - 1
427 Pied Bushchat [Saxicola caprata] -2, 1 male and 1 female
429 Blue Rock-Thrush [Monticola solitarius] -1 male
477 Grey-streaked Flycatcher [Muscicapa griseisticta] -1
494 Pied Fantail [Rhipidura javanica] -1
516 White-breasted Wood-swallow [Artamus leucorynchus] - 2
519 Brown Shrike [Lanius cristatus] -2, 1 adult, 1 imm.
522 Asian Glossy Starling [Aplonis panayensis] - many
560 Lowland White-eye [Zosterops meyeni] -5

Location: Mt. Palay-Palay Highway
Date: March 27, 2004, 1530H-1600H
Weather: Sunny with occasional breeze
by Nilo Arribas Jr (R), Ivor Lee, Mike Lu

Ivor packed all his camera equipment and declared he had enough of bird photography for the day. Nilo and I teased him that the first lifer on the roadside would surely have him setting up his tripod. It seemed quiet all along the highway as the forest looked so brown and dry. Only a Brahminy Kite flying near the road made us stop to take a second look. The forested area in the DENR station was eerily quiet and the hornbills' favorite perch was not taken by any other bird. I was intent on looking for falconets along the way. Ivor doze off and Nilo scanned the electric wires. Just as we were around the bend to Puerto Azul, I spotted a bird perched on a dead tree. I parked the car and Nilo positively confirm the identity. Upon hearing the word "falconet !", Ivor jumped up but cautioned that the bird might fly away once we get off the car. We assured him that these birds stay for hours in just one spot. Everyone got out and I noticed there were 2 more PHILIPPINE FALCONETS perched on the wire, later on a 4th one would come and join the other birds. Further away, 2 WHISKERED TREE SWIFTS occupied another section of the wire. Ivor took position in the middle of the road oblivious to the incoming vehicles. A truck had to change to the opposite lane while other cars heading for Manila would stop beside Ivor to see what he is up to. Hopefully some of them would be birdwatching with us when Caylabne starts the birdwatching program during the Easter holidays. After we had our fill of the falconets, every other section of the road seem to come alive with birds. First stop was a pair of CRESTED MYNAHS, then a LONG-TAILED SHRIKE, followed by a small group of WHITE-BELLIED MUNIAS and the last bird was a lone COLETO.

Mt. Palay-palay Highway BIRD LIST:

87 Philippine Falconet [Microhierax erythrogenys] - 4
302 Whiskered Treeswift [Hemiprocne comata] - 2
517 Long-tailed Shrike [Lanius schach] - 1
528 Crested Myna [Acridotheres cristatellus] - 2
527 Coleto [Sarcops calvus] - 1
572 White-bellied Munia [Lonchura leucogastra] - 4