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Earth Haven, San Mateo, Rizal

Date: June 26, 2004
12:30 - 1:30 pm
Birders: Tina Alejandro, Cele Santisteban and Mike Lu

When the WBCP started out last year, one of the topics we discussed in the egroup was whether we should tackle conservation work. It was decided that the club should concenrate first on promoting birdwatching and let the more established NGOs tackle conservation work.

A lot of the discussion centered then around the illegal wildlife trade and as a member of the Haribon Foundation I thought it was best to let them do the work. I asked Haribon Foundation to initiate a bird release program and after 7 long months of follow-up and coordination, a small batch of doves were scheduled to be released. The doves belong to 4 species - zebra dove, spotted dove, emerald dove and red turtle dove. The site chosen was Earth Haven in San Mateo, Rizal. It has a patch of forest in the upper slopes of the hills surrounded by residential areas and grasslands.

Among WBCP members present were Romy Santos, Tina Alejandro and Cele Santisteban. During the orientation, I could not resist reaching for my binoculars as I saw some movement in the trees. I almost disturbed the group as I told Tina that I just saw an ELEGANT TIT through my binoculars !

Later on after lunch, I walked out to the verandah and saw another tiny bird which turned out to be a RED-KEELED FLOWERPECKER ! I wasted no time and asked the 2 girls to join me while Romy had to do some interviews for the article he is writing. It had been raining most of the day and we took advantage of this lull to go birding. Bird calls everywhere but no sign of any movement.

We paused by the bridge and waited. A few minutes later, what I thought was a butterfly came to perch on one of the heliconias - an OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRD, female! Later on a YELLOW-VENTED BULBUL also came to rest beneath a patch of bamboo followed later by a PHILIPPINE BULBUL.

Olive-backed Sunbird
Olive-Backed Sunbird


Indigo-Banded Kingfisher
Indigo - Banded Kingfisher

Suddenly a tiny speck of bright blue came to rest by a boulder beside the stream. It turned out to be an INDIGO-BANDED KINGFISHER !

We explored the environs some more but no more birds were to be seen. As we headed back to the cars, we passed by the stream again and came upon a trio of INDIGO-BANDED KINGFISHERS chasing each other. It was a good way to end an otherwise slow birding day :)

1. Indigo-banded Kingfisher Alcedo cyanopecta - 3
2. Yellow-vented Bulbul Pyncnonotus goiavier - 1
3. Philippine Bulbul Hypsipetes philippinus - 2, more heard elsewhere
4. Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis - heard only
5. Elegant Tit Parus elegans - 1
6. Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis - 2, 1 male & 1 female
7. Red-keeled Flowerpecker Dicaeum australe - 1
8. Lowland White-eye Zosterops meyeni - 1