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Mt. Palay Palay & Caylabne Bay Resort

Date: November 27-28, 2004
Site: Mt. Palay-Palay & Caylabne Bay Resort, Cavite
Birders: Ruben Bala, Catherine Dy, Ivor Lee, Mike Lu & Charlie Te
Trip report by : Mike Lu
Birdlist by : Charlie Te & Mike Lu

Caylabne Bay Resort

Philippine Ducks
Philippine Ducks

This trip to Mt. Palay-Palay National Park was to accompany our friend, Singaporean bird photographer Ivor Lee. Ivor is on a business trip but has set aside the weekend to go birdwatching. He had intended to introduce Philippine endemics by writing an article for the Nature Society of Singapore.

Caylabne Bay Resort is located in the fringes of the national park and we used the resort as our "base camp" : ) The resort itself is home to more than 70 species of birds among the most interesting is a flock of the endemic Philippine Ducks.

We saw around 150 birds in the lagoon. As we peered from behind the bushes, the ducks were unaware and cam close to us. Ivor was able to get some pretty good shots of this very shy duck.

We also explored the stream where I had seen a Hooded Pitta on a previous trip. The water level was a higher due to the rains the past few weeks. We caught a glimpse of a kingfisher as it flew away.

We believed it is the endemic Indigo-banded Kingfisher and crossed our fingers hoping that it does not turn out to be the migrant Common Kingfisher. Waiting close to an hour, we finally gave up and as we turned around the bird flew beside us and perched on a low branch less than 20 meters away from us. Ivor slowly moved closer with his heavy gear and happily announced that the pictures can be considered as "magazine cover material"!

We also noticed a flurry of activity as we passed by the resort's open garbage dump. Aside from the more common Pacific Swallows and Yellow-vented Bulbuls, surprisingly there were also Philippine Bulbuls, Blue-throated Bee-eaters, Whiskered Tree Swifts, Black-naped Monarchs and even a Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker in the vicinity.

Indigo-banded Kingfisher
Indigo-banded Kingfisher

Caylabne Bay Resort BIRD LIST:
1. Striated Heron [Butorides striatus] - 1
2. Rufous Night-heron [Nycticorax nycticorax] - 1
3. Philippine Duck [Anas luzonica] - 150+
4. Brahminy Kite [Haliastur indus] - 10+
5. Red Junglefowl [Gallus gallus] - 1
6. White-Breasted Water-Hen [Amaurornis phoenicurus] - 1
7. Common Sandpiper [Actitis hypoleucos] - 1
8. White-Eared Brown Dove [Phapitreron leucotis] - 7
9. Zebra Dove [Geopelia striata] - 20+
10. Philippine Coucal [Centropus viridis] - 2, immature
11. Glossy Swiftlet [Collocalia esculenta] - 30+
12. Whiskered Treeswift [Hemiprocne comata] - 3
13. Common Kingfisher [Alcedo atthis] - 2
14. Indigo-banded Kingfisher [Alcedo cyanopecta] - 1
15. White-Throated Kingfisher [Halcyon smyrnensis] - 1
16. White-Collared Kingfisher [Todirhampus chloris] - 2
17. Blue-Throated Bee-Eater [Merops viridis] - 8+
18. Coppersmith Barbet [Megalaima haemacephala] - heard only
19. Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker [Dendrocopos maculatus] - 1
20. Pacific Swallow [Hirundo tahitica] - 40+
21. Pied Triller [Lalage nigra] - 1
22. Yellow Vented Bulbul [Pycnonotus goiavier] - 30+
23. Philippine Bulbul [Hypsipetes philippinus] - 15+
24. Black-Naped Oriole - 5+
25. Pied Buschat 1 male 1 female
26. Golden-bellied Flyeater [Gerygone sulphurea] - heard only
27. Black-naped [Monarch] - 4+
28. Grey Wagtail [Motacilla cinerea] - 1
29. White Bellied Wood Swallow [Artamus leucorynchus] - 5
30. Long-tailed Shrike[Lanius schach] - 1
31. Brown Shrike [Lanius cristatus] - 1
32. Asian Glossy Starling [Aplonis panayensis] - 4+
33. Lowland White-eye [Zosterops meyeni] - 20+
34. Eurasian Tree Sparrow [Passer montanus] - 25+

Mt. Palay Palay National Park

Birding Mt. Palay-Palay has always been a rewarding experience. Today's trip proved less productive in terms of species and numbers seen however I added two lifers and that was good enough for me. It was still dark when we arrived at 5:30 am. I have always been bad with birdcalls but Ivor identified the call of a Brown Hawk-owl. The trip started out slow perhaps because of the cool weather, the birds were not calling as loud as usual. As the day brightened up, the dominant sound was the persistent drumming of a woodpecker. We checked out a tree that fellow birder Mark Villa had previously referred to as the "woodpecker apartment" so-called because the tree had 4 big holes. Sure enough, our first bird of the day was a White-bellied Woodpecker. Later on, my first lifer made a grand entrance - pair of raucuous Greater Flamebacks jumping up and down on the branches and later on chasing each other.

The Palay-Palay specialties came out one by one although in very low numbers ... Blackish Cuckoo Shrike, Guaiabero, Balicassiao, Coleto, and Philippine Fairy Blue-bird. Only 2 Tarictic Hornbills were seen although more were heard at a distance away coupled with > the persistent "pok-poks" of the Coppersmith Barbet. The "stars of the rainforest", my favorite Rufous Hornbills were disappointingly absent.

The surprise for the day were the 5 raptor species that showed up - the commonly seen Brahminy Kites and the expected endemic Philippine Falconets, a Crested Serpent Eagle gliding away with a dangling serpent (!), a pair of adult Chinese Goshawks circling overhead and what we identified as a Barred Honey Buzzard. When I first caught sight of this raptor as it emerged from the cliff, the only thing I noticed is the brown plumage. Ivor whispered "Honey Buzzard" as the bird came closer and flew directly above us and glided silently towards the other side of the valley. I noticed the white belly of this bird, with short dark brown lines running down from the throat to the breast. Dark brown spots marked the belly and the pattern was repeated in the wings. The tail was flared out with 2 dark brown barrings however unlike the guide book the outer tail feathers were white. If the Records Committee accepts this sighting, it would be the first record for this species and would add to the existing 11 species of raptor recorded in Mt. Palay-Palay.

1. Barred Honeybuzzard* - [Pernis celebensis] - 1
2. Brahminy Kite [Haliastur indus] - 5
3. Chinese Goshawk [Accipiter soloensis] - 2
4. Crested Serpent-Eagle [Spilornis cheela] - 1
5. Philippine Falconet - 6
6. Red Junglefowl [Gallus gallus] - heard only
7. Guaiabero [Bolbopsittacus lunulatus] - 2
8. Brown Hawk-owl* [Ninox scutulata] - heard only
9. Glossy Swiftlet [Collocalia esculenta] - 30+
10. White-Throated Kingfisher [Halcyon symrnensis] - 2
11. Tarictic Hornbill [Penelopides manillae] - 2+
12. Coppersmith Barbet [Megalaima haemacephala] - heard only
13. White-Bellied Woodpecker [Dryocopus javensis] - 1
14. Greater Flameback [Chrysocolaptes lucidus] - 2
15. Blackish Cuckoo-Shrike [Coracina coerulescens] - 2
16. Philippine Bulbul ]Hypsipetes philippinus] - 10+
17. Balicassiao [Dicrurus balicassius] - 3
18. Black-Naped Oriole [Oriolus chinensis] -1
19. Philippine Fairy-bluebird [Irena syanogaster] - 1
20. Elegant Tit [Parus elegans] - 1
21. Blue Rock Thrush [Monticola solitarius] - 2
22. Grey-streaked Flycatcher [Muscicapa griseistucta] - 1
23. Coleto Sarcops calvus - 4

*For final review by the Records Committee.