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July 4th at the American Cemetery

Date: July 4, 2004
2:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Location: American War Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig

Mike Lu, Nilo Arribas, Pia Belardo, Jed Natividad, Romy Ocon, Jinky del Rosario, Rachel Santos, Stan Penalosa, Ann Lim, Romel Barrera, Jill Lucero, Jomike Tejido, Val Toral, Ruben Bala, Rico Yangco, Philip Dee, Arvin Diesmos, Danny Balete, Ipat Luna

Saksi camera crew : Host Howie Severino, Producer Hazel Galang plus 3 camera crew

This was probably the monthly guided trip with the most number of first-timers and with the least number of regular guides - only Nilo and I. Other members who joined like Pia, Rachel and Jinky has not been birding the whole year ! Howie Severino of Channel 7's Saksi had asked us to accompany him to the Tambo mudflats earlier in the morning. When he leanred that WBCP is conducting a guided tour in the afternoon, they decided to come and join us as well.

Barred Rails
Barred Rails

Ring-necked Parakeet
Ring-Necked Parakeet

It was a hot afternoon and the first birds to appear were a pair of Ring-necked Parakeets. Supt. Neese dropped and was surprised to see so many birders. I scanned the lawn and the crosses but found no birds. Suddenly Nilo espied the seldom seen Richard's Pipit which paraded for everyone to see. The White-collared Kingfisher called from the tree tops and flashed it's aquamarine wings before disappearing again. It was getting difficult to look for birds. Nilo ran off to scout for birds with fellow photographer Romy Ocon.

I remembered Arne's tip that if there are very few birds, the guide has to entertain the first-timers with background stories about the birds. Good enough the newbies still have a lot to learn and I did not run out of stuff to tell :)


Soon enough the birding became secondary to chit-chatting among the birders, most of whom were only meeting for the first time. Pia and Jed found a tree ripe with red cascading berries frequented by the Yellow-vented Bulbuls, further down a pair of Black-crowned Night Herons were flushed out by our presence. A solitary Pied Triller perched and preened on a young Flaming Tree. Past four thirty I led the group to the memorial and saw a Barred Rail with a tiny chick. Later on 2 more adults would ran about in the sprawling grounds. Others in the group stayed behind as they saw a squirrel

It was not a particularly good day but we managed to list down more than my promised 10 species :) More importantly, all the newbies signed up to become members of the Wild Bird Club !

White-breasted Wood Swallow
White-breasted Wood Swallow
1. Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax - 2
2. Barred Rail Gallirallus torquatus - 4, 3 adults and 1 chick
3. White-eared Brown Dove Phapitreron leucotis - 2
4. Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis - 1
5. Zebra Dove Geopelia striata - 15+
6. White-collared Kingfisher Halcyon chloris - 4+
7. Pied Triller Lalage nigra - 3+
8. Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier - common
9. Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis - heard only
10. Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata - 1, male
11. Golden-Bellied Flyeater Gerygone sulphurea - 2+, 2 seen and much more heard
12. Striated Grassbird Megalurus palustris - 1
13. Pied Fantail Phipidura javanica - 4+
14. Richard's Pipit Anthus novaseelandiae - 1
15.White-breasted Wood-swallow Artamus leucorynchus - 6
16. Lowland White-eye Zosterops meyeni - 20+