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Nightjars at the War Memorial

Date: August 22, 2004
Time: 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Location: American War Memorial, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
WBCP members: Nilo Arribas, Lala Espanola, Tim Fisher, Benedict Lu, Mike Lu, Romy Ocon, & Ruth Pearce.

Non-member birders: Charlie Gapuz Te, Catherine Dy, Flordeliza Melendez, Jon Cellona, Isagani Garcia,
Caloy Libusada, David Dawe with Victoria (10), & Calvin (7), Jennifer Holt, Katrina Brown, Alex Loinaz, Marilen Loinaz, Rafael & Cheryl Tabeta with Gabriel (6) and Sabrina (4), Arnel & Cristine Telesforo, Jani Pedroso, Nymfa Ocon with Romeo III (5).

Trip report by Mike Lu
Birdlist by Tim Fisher

It was a windy day and the skies were overcast, as registered participants to the guided trip started to trickle in. We had Tim Fisher as the main guide assisted by other WBCP members. There was a mixed group of first-time and experienced with a good number of kids. Some participants came from out-of-town Laguna, Pangasinan & La Union to learn about birdwatching.

The memorial administration had given us permission to bird the restricted area and Tim wasted no time in heading for the gully. It drizzled a bit along the way as we observed Pied Bushchats, White-collared Kingfishers & Red Turtle Doves perched among the rows of marble crosses. Exotic Ring-neck Parakeets dominated the skies above shrieking as they fly along.

At first it seemed very quiet at the gully area. Perhaps the birds were taking time to get accustomed to such a large group but soon enough the more common species started to come out.

View from the memorial

First were a small group of Yellow-vented Bulbuls followed by the showy Pied Fantails. A flurry of activities atop the acacias turned out to be a small flock of Black-crowned Night-herons and a flock of Zebra Doves. The perimeter fence of the cemetery proved to be most productive as a parade of birds either perched on the fence or ran across the asphalt walk - Barred Rail, Spotted Dove, Crested Mynah, White-breasted Wood-swallow.

The highlight of the trip though were presence of three Philippine Nightjars with their characteristic flight of circling around the group before disappearing again. Other birds that made a late afternoon appearance were Black-naped Orioles, Lowland White-eyes, Pied Trillers and an Island Collared Dove.

Everyone assembled at the parking lot to turn in the binoculars, & compare notes. Some bought the guide books while a few signed up to become club members. Lala was relating to Tim about her experiences in the Sulu Sea and discovering the Calayan rail during the Babuyan Island expedition when she suddenly exclaimed while pointing to a tree : "I finally see my first Golden-bellied Flyeater!" A few eyebrows were raised as we all know that flyeaters were common residents of the memorial and we teased her no end about the truth as to the real identity of the Calayan Rail! Perhaps a Barred Rail with it's legs painted orange ? :)

Pied Fantail
Pied Fantail

Golden-bellied Flyeater
Golden-bellied Flyeater

1. Black-crowned Night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax - 20+
2. Barred rail Gallirallus torquatus - 4
3. White-eared Brown Dove Phapitreron leucotis - 1
4. Island Collared-dove Streptopelia bitorquata 1
5. Red Turtle-dove Streptopelia tranquebarica - 50+
6. Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis - 4-5
7. Zebra Dove Geopelia striata - 20+
8. Philippine Nightjar Caprimulgus manillensis - 4
9. White-collared Kingfisher Halcyon chloris - 3+
10. Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos maculatus - heard only
11. Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica - 1
12. Pied Triller Lalage nigra - 3
13. Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier - 20+.
14. Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis - 4
15. Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata -6 birds,.3 males & 3 females.
16. Golden-bellied Flyeater Gerygone sulphurea - 1+, only 1 seen but heard throughout
17. Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica - 20+
18. Richard's Pipit Anthus novaseelandiae - 4
19. White-breasted Wood-swallow Artamus leucorynchus - 3
20. Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus - 1
21. Crested Mynah Acridotheres cristatellus - 2
22. Lowland White-eye Zosterops meyeni - 3, several heard.
23. Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus - 20+

Exotic species:
24. Rose-ringed Parakeets Ptisittacula krameri - 6