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Caylabne Bay and Mt Palay-Palay National Park

Location: Caylabne Bay and Mt Palay-Palay National Park
Date: September 11-12, 2004

Birders: Mads Bajarias, Mike Lu, Carl Oliveros, Stef Saño Jr., Leni Sutcliffe, Peter Sutcliffe, Mark Villa
Trip report by Stef Saño Jr.
Bird list by Stef Saño Jr., & Mark Villa

11 September 2004
Weather: 75 cloud cover, 28~30 deg C, 10 knots from the South Trip Recording began at 2:35 pm.

Our first stop was about a kilometer before Puerto Azul, on the way to Caylabne Bay. Still in the Palay-Palay area, at 1445h we saw Barn Swallows and Striated Swallows. Everyone became preoccupied with a bird not identifiable from Kennedy or from Mike's copy of a Southeast Asian bird catalog. At first we categorized it as a flycatcher type but later on realized it resembles more of a bushchat. The bird had the following features: white vent, streaked/ mottled light orange breast, white tipped primaries, black face, cap, white ear coverts, buff rump. It flicked its tail, perched on line and branches, then went to the ground (short grass) for 1-2 minutes.

In the vicinity we also heard a Philippine Coucal and saw the following:

Striated Swallow (4), numerous Glossy Swiftlets, Golden-bellied Flyeater (2), Elegant Tit, Brahminy Kites (2) and a Pygmy Woodpecker.

Further approaching Caylabne Bay, we saw a Whiskered Treeswift on a phone line right side of the road.

with Caylabne Bay Birding Guides-In-Training, Mervin and Marcus

Then we arrived at the Caylabne Bay entrance, where we saw a White-breasted Wood-swallow flying and a Male Pied Buschchat on the left (west) side of road, perched on a telephone pole restraining cable, .5m from the ground.

Upon being allowed inside, we headed straight for the "T-intersection" otherwise known as the passerine hangout. Arriving at around 3:10 pm, we could only stop for a few minutes as we needed to soon check in and meet with Leni and Peter. We saw the following:

Blue-throated Bee-eater
Blue-throated Bee-eater

White-breasted Wood-swallow (1) in flight, White-throated Kingfisher (1) on the left (southwest) side among the trees, Striated Swallow (10+), Pacific Swallow 46 and Blue-throated Bee-eater (5).

We stopped the car at check-in, around 3:15 pm. Outside the reception building we saw: Yellow-vented Bulbul (2) in trees up front, Philippine Bulbul (1) also in trees, Glossy Swiftlet (6). We also heard a Black Naped Oriole and saw several Brahminy Kites in various orientations from the building: 2 South, 3 northeast, 1 East, and 2 West.

Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite

After checking in, we went to cottage #605 and met with Leni and Peter; from thence we proceeded to the patio restaurant to meet with the Bird Guides-In-Training, Mervin and Marcus. It was 3:40 pm, about time to prepare for early evening bird action. Before beginning the hike to the Caylabne Bay Bridge, we saw: White-breasted Wood-Swallow (8) in flight 25m overhead, Brahminy Kite (7) from the west going east and another one closer to unit 605, Yellow-Vented Bulbul (1), Eurasian Tree Sparrow (4+) flying from a tree in the rotunda to a tree across street by the seafront cottages.

Just before 4:00 pm we went to the Caylabne Bay Bridge, and observed 20 species, including a Barred Rail on the grass and, vocally, a White Eared Brown Dove, the ubiquitous Philippine Coucal, & a Golden-bellied Gerygone.

From the bridge we proceeded towards the new River Trail, constructed in late August and a possible reason for the absence of Philippine Ducks in the estuary. While the Anas Luzonica could not be found from anywhere along the trail, other interesting birds kept us company, including a Black Naped Monarch, a Striated Heron walking on opposite riverbank, and at the end of the trail, a small flock of Pink-necked Green Pigeons. Birders also heard a White-Breasted
Waterhen among others.

At the end of the trail, we arrived back at the entrance road and headed back to civilization, at the Caylabne port around 6:00 pm or so. Behind the residences was an open area by the forest edge, where a medium-sized tree lay fallen. A Zebra Dove landed on one of its branches, with dozens of Yellow Vented Bulbul (100+) flitting through from north to south, right in front of the dove. Atop a flowering coconut tree on the bay side of the road, a gang of Stripe-headed Rhabdornis (30+) made lots of noise, jockeying for position, presumably to either eat or sleep. Looking overhead, a team of ten Brahminy Kites soared westwards, while a Philippine Coucal made a few calls at dusk.


Date: 12 September 2004
Time: 515a-730a
Weather: 25 deg C, 60%-70% cloud cover, decreased as sun came up; no discernable wind, occasional 1-2 knot gusts

The group (sans Peter who chose wisely not to cut short his sleep) departed unit 605 around 5:10 am. Upon arriving at the Caylabne Entrance Gate, we noticed a pair of glowing eyes blocking the gate, staring back at the car's headlamps it took off after a second. A similar set of eyes showed up on the road outside, and similarly took off. Nightjar species. We were hoping Mike could tell Nightjar species just by looking at their eyes.

On the way to Palay-Palay, Madz spotted a large bird on the left side of the road flying parallel to car, 15m away, 10m above. It had a small head, perhaps too small and pointed to be an owl's, a long tail and streamlined wings, perhaps fitting the silhouette of large nightjar.

Stripe-sided Rhabdornis
Stripe-sided Rhabdornis

With the car going slow and with windows open, we could hear at least one identifiable call, that of the Spotted Wood-kingfisher.

We arrived at the observation area on Mt. Palay-Palay and alighted from the car, at which point Madz heard a White-browed Shama. We saw a Philippine Bulbul among the trees and a vocal Stripe-headed Rhabdornis flying between trees, circling 10m above our heads. Other birds chirped and cawed to welcome us (or maybe they were telling us to go away), including:

Coppersmith Barbet, a pair of Philippine Coucals answering each other, a Philippine Fairy Bluebird perched ~10m above ground; and the deep drumming of a larger woodpecker.

The Philippine Fairy Bluebird was a treat for everyone as it did not cease calling for a while a repeating uEEEP, enough for everyone to get a good look through the scope.

Tarictic Hornbill
Tarictic Hornbill

Looking around some trees surrounding us, we saw an Elegant Tit with yellow underneath, black upper with white stripes diagnostic, perched at eye level in a tree about 12m away. Farther away, we spotted a Coleto on a barren branch about 15-20m above ground, 10m away. A couple of Philippine Bulbuls joined the chorus, even as more Coleto (5+) came out of the woodwork. A pair of Balicassiao perched on a branch, in the same tree as the Coletos.

Then we chanced upon a barren tree where it turns out six Philippine Falconets were hanging out, about 30m away, 3m above eye level. Another three of them were spotted on a nearby tree. They barely moved, and looked more like stuffed toys than real birds. They minded their business and didn't seem to care about anything.

Far away, about 200m into the forest, we spotted up to 7 Tarictic Hornbills. Not too far below the hornbill haven was the answer to the deep drumming from earlier: a White-bellied Woodpecker on the lower part of a woodpecker condo about 100m away, still drumming it up. Several minutes later it went away, and a wily Coleto was seen crawling up and down the same woodpecker condo.

Eventually the Tarictics, specifically 2F and 4M, moved to a tree on nearby hill, about 20m overhead. Group members enjoyed the good view, while elsewhere, a Philippine Bulbul kept moving around and a pair of Red-keeled Flowerpeckers started calling above in nearby tree, 10m high; it gave a rapid tst, tst, tst...

All of a sudden, a straight-flying green parrot went from east to west, emitting a high-pitched, metallic teeet, teeet, teeet. It was Mr. Guaiabero wearing green plumage with bluish smudges, no red. A couple of other calls were heard, particularly those of a White-throated Kingfisher and of a Pygmy woodpecker.

As we walked back to the car, almost at eye level about 15m away, we saw a Bar-bellied Cuckoo-shrike in its dark gray, and on the same tree, were a couple of Blackish Cuckoo-shrike singing eeuw, eeuw, eeuw repeated.


Group members also spotted a Fruit Dove, either a Black-chinned or a Yellow-breasted.

On the drive back to Caylabne Bay, a Brahminy Kite flew overhead, and we saw about 17 Pacific Swallow perched on phone wire on the bay side of the road. About three White-breasted Wood-swallows also were perched there.


Between the "Security Inspection" gate and the main Caylabne Bay entrance, we saw Black Naped Orioles, White-breasted Wood-swallows, Glossy Swiftlets, more Brahminy Kites, more Pacific Swallows, White-breasted Wood-swallows, Pacific Swallows, Asian Glossy Starlings and White-Throated Kingfishers.

Then we returned to the passerine hangout (T-intersection) where the Pacific Swallows had doubled their numbers since yesterday. There were more Asian Glossy Starlings and Black-Naped Orioles there. We then started hiking upstream to find more birds near the freshwater bodies of Caylabne Bay. We again saw Whiskered Treeswifts, Pygmy woodpeckers, more Pacific Swallows in flight, a pair of Yellow-vented Bulbuls. We alse heard already familiar calls of a Gerygone/ Golden-bellied Flyeater and two Philippine Coucals.

Looking overhead we saw a Pied Triller about 5m in a tree. Nearby was an Arctic Warbler, with diagnostic all-dirty white underparts. Madz then spotted a Kingfisher that later turned out to be a female Indigo-banded Kingfisher with white ear coverts, reddish beak, turquoise back, turquoise/ bluish broken chest band and red feet. We followed the Kingfisher further upstream and saw it capture and eat prey. We heard a Black Naped Oriole along the way and were surprised by an Emerald Dove scurrying downstream at eye level. As did the dove, so we also started heading back downstream.

We got back to the road, near the small lagoon, where we saw a Common Kingfisher 1m above the water, perched on a small dead branch. Back near the T-intersection, we saw 9+ Blue-throated Bee-eaters, another Pygmy Swiftlet in flight and another Pied Triller.

During lunch, a Collared Kingfisher was looking for lunch at the estuary, calling loudly, flying out then back into vegetation. On the way back from lunch, group members saw two Scaly-breated Munia and four Guaiaberos.

We checked out right after lunch, leaving Caylabne Bay by 12:40 pm. Along the way, near the transmission tower where a flyeater-like bird was seen yesterday, we saw a Long-tailed Shrike, a couple of Zebra Doves, a whole bunch of Asian Glossy Starling (20+) in trees along the bay side of the road. The last surveyed birds we saw were a pair of White-collared Kingfisher in a tree on highway.

-------------------- PALAY-PALAY BIRD COUNT 2004 SEPTEMBER 11-12 (35 species) --------------------

1. Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus 4
2. Philippine Falconet Microhierax erythrogenys 9
3. Fruit Dove sp 1
4. Zebra Dove Geopelia striata 2
5. Guaiabero Bolbopsittacus lunulatus 1
6. Philippine Coucal Centropus viridis (2) vocal
7. Nightjar sp - most likely Great-eared Nightjar based on the size
8. Glossy Swiftlet Aerodramus esculenta 12+
9. Whiskered Treeswift Hemiprocne comata 1
10. White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis 1
11. Spotted Wood Kingfisher Actenoides lindsayi (2)
12. Tarictic Hornbill Penelopides panini 10+
13. Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala (1) vocal
14. Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos maculatus
15. White-bellied Woodpecker Dryocopus javensis 1
16. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 27
17. Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica 12
18. Striated Swallow Hirundo striolata 4
19. Bar-bellied Cuckoo-shrike Coracina striata 1+
20. Blackish Cuckoo-shrike Coracina coerulescens 4+
21. Philippine Bulbul Ixos philippinus 2+
22. Balicassiao Dicrurus balicassius
23. Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis 1
24. Philippine Fairy-bluebird Irena cyanogaster 1
25. Elegant Tit Pardaliparus elegans 1
26. Stripe-sided Rhabdornis Rhabdornis mysticalis 1
27. White-browed Shama Copsychus luzoniensis (1) vocal
28. Bushchat sp - 1, probably immature Pied Bushchat
29. Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea 2
30. Grey backed TailorbirdOrthotomus derbianus - (2)
31. White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus 13
32. Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach 1
33. Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis 20+
34. Coleto Sarcops calvus 6
35. Red-keeled Flowerpecker Dicaeum haematostictum 2

--------------------- CAYLABNE BAY BIRD COUNT 2004 Sept 11- 12 (41 species) ----------------------------

1. Striated Heron Butorides striatus 1
2. Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus 12+, including 2 immatures
3. Barred Rail Gallirallus torquatus 2
4. White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis olivaceus 2
5. Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos - 2
6. White-eared Dove Phapitreron leucotis (3) vocal
7. Pink-necked Pigeon Treron vernans 4+, including a pair (1 Male, 1 Female)
8. Zebra Dove Geopelia striata 1
9. Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica 1
10. Guaiabero Bolbopsittacus lunulatus 4
11. Philippine Coucal Centropus viridis (5) vocal
12. Nightjar sp. - 3, probably Philippine Nightjar
13. Glossy Swiftlet Aerodramus esculenta 6
14. Pygmy Swiftlet Aerodramus troglodytes 1
15. Whiskered Treeswift Hemiprocne comata 3+
16. Indigo-banded Kingfisher Alcedo cyanopecta 1
17. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 1
18. White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis 2
19. Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris 3
20. Spotted Kingfisher Actenoides lindsayi (1) vocal
21. Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis 9+
22. Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala 6
23. Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos kizuki 2
24. Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica - 120+
25. Striated Swallow Hirundo striolata 10+
26. Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier 110+
27. Philippine Bulbul Ixos philippinus 6 + 1 vocal
28. Pied Triller Lalage nigra 1
29. Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis 6 + (1) vocal
30. Stripe-sided Rhabdornis Rhabdornis mysticalis 35+
31. Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata 1
32. Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea 5
33. Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis 1
34. Philippine Tailorbird Orthotomus castaneiceps 1
35. Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea 1 + (1) vocal
36. White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus 16+
37. Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach 1
38. Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis 5+, including 1 immature
39. Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis 1
40. Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 4+
41. Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata 2