Volume 1, Issue 1 Wild about 14 July 2005

Newsletter of the Wild Club of the Philippines

WBCP is two years old Inside this issue: The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) celebrates its second birthday today, 14 July, with WBCP is two 1 many feathers in its cap. years old It has just been declared a World Bank environmental champion. Some of its members took part in a scientific expedition that discovered the Calayan Rail, a new world bird species. Two of these Club bags members have since received a British Petroleum Conservation grant for the preservation of this World Bank 1 species. (See stories on pages 1-2). It has just published the second of its annual database of birds award seen in the Philippines; its Records and Rarities Committee ensures that this database is compiled in accordance with international scientific procedures. Calayan Rail Not bad for a Club that began as Birdwatch Philippines on 9 January 2003, an e-group of weekend discoverers win 2 birdwatchers. With the aim of “promoting birdwatching and the responsible enjoyment of award nature”, the e-group established WBCP at the Manila Zoo on 14 July 2003. The Club is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Its founder members are Tina WBCP team Alejandro, Kitty Arce, Mads Bajarias, Ricky de Castro, Carmela Española, Lu-Ann Fuentes, Drew carries out 2 Galano, Arne Jensen, Ned Liuag, Mike Lu, James McCarthy and Jon Villasper. island census The rest, as they say, is history. Since its inception, the Club has conducted 51 guided trips for the public, school groups, government bodies and private companies. It has carried out 78 birding Bird’s-eye view 2 trips for members. It has attracted widespread attention and has been the subject of several television programmes and newspaper articles. Metro Manila Acknowledgement of its know-how has led to invitations from government and other bodies to birding: 3 participate in numerous environment-related activities. The Club now contributes regularly to American War the Asian Waterbird Census that takes place in Manila Bay and Candaba Swamp (among other Cemetery places in the Philippines). Club officers have acted as resource persons for local governments: in Parañaque on declaring the Tambo mudflats as a bird sanctuary, in Candaba for the creation of a Meet the 4 protected area in the marshlands, in Valenzuela City on the adoption of the Black-crowned Execom Night-Heron as the city’s flagship species. Membership for the first half of 2005 stood at 114, compared to 117 for 2004. Most members Highlights from 5 are Filipinos from Metro Manila. Among the Club’s international birder members are Philippine the field residents Tim Fisher, one of the authors of the premier Guide to the Birds of the Philippines and Arne Jensen, Danish ornithologist and impassioned conservationist; Desmond Allen, based in the United Kingdom; Steve Pryor from Italy; and founder James McCarthy, now back in his native Bird gallery 8 Britain. á

Club bags World Bank award

On 20 June, WBCP received recognized the awardees as not sure we deserve this one of seven of the World role models. “The challenge,” award. But I am sure we shall Bank’s first-ever “environmental he said, “is to replicate and continue to birdwatch and to champion” awards in the scale up best practices.” educate people about our country. These were given at WBCP was commended for country’s avifauna diversity. the launch of the Bank’s identifying critical habitats and Philippine Environment Monitor “We shall continue to raising awareness of the need 2004, an annual report on the conduct monthly guided trips to protect them. state of the environment. for the public. We shall Mike Defensor, Secretary, continue to contribute to The awards honour individuals Department of the Philippine bird records. And and organizations that have Environment and Natural when we see bird habitats demonstrated a commitment to Resources, presented the being destroyed and bird environmental conservation and awards at the Visitor’s Center populations diminishing, we protection while relying on of the Ninoy Aquino Park in will take a stand. You will Photo: Gerry de Villa de Villa Gerry Photo: their own resources. Joachim Quezon City. In his continue to hear from us.”á The environmental champion award. von Amsberg, World Bank acceptance speech, Mike Lu, country director, said the Bank WBCP President, said: “I am

Calayan Rail discoverers win award Bird's-eye view

By Ipat Luna Carmela Española and Carl Oliveros, members of the team that discovered “The discovery of the Calayan “‘Great Egret’? That’s what you call the Calayan Rail, have won a first-year Rail is a wonderful us? I think I prefer ‘Oh Great Silver Award from the British Petroleum demonstration Egret’.” Sheepishly, I said there Conservation Programme. The award that the world still has much was a Little Egret and an will fund a 14-month project focusing on to reveal to us.” — Intermediate Egret. He just happened to be bigger than they the endemic Philippine rail species. The Nigel Collar, WBCP team, which was among 28 were. He was no deity. Birdlife International chosen from a field of 400 applicants, "You live here? Like all the time?" received the award on 23 June 2005 at a I was flabbergasted. Here I was ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National doing my best to keep this habitat Museum of the American Indian in The award, amounting to US$12,500, for the birds and they think it's Washington, D.C. will be used for baseline research on worth shit. This was supposed to be the population and distribution of the a simple request, but it was quickly Carmela and Carl then joined other Calayan Rail, to assess threats to its turning out to be a prosecution of awardees in a training workshop run by survival, and to formulate a the way I live. I could not summon the Smithsonian’s Monitoring and conservation action plan in my defensive responses, not when Assessment of Biodiversity Programme. collaboration with local government, both the bird and I were being The workshop covered biological NGOs and other institutions. The assailed by the stench of my monitoring and surveying techniques, project envisions an environmental species. conservation education and people- education campaign in schools and “Not to say we can't find what we oriented research. forest communities. á need here on the way through, you see. You’re here all the time but you’ve given up this place. Only Boracay for the tourists need to be WBCP team carries out E. coli-free. I used to know the guys who lived here.” He pointed his island census beak to the vast expanse of dead By Mads Bajarias water we call Manila Bay. I wanted to get to the point. Colleagues in Japan went to a bird Wildlife biologist Carmela Española The survey aimed to ascertain the rail’s park and made a plaster cast of a recently led a team of conservationists population and distribution. It also bird's footprint in the mud. They on a month-and-a-half survey of the sought to identify future courses of used it to sign a petition for the Calayan Rail. The survey took place from action for conservationists and local birds to keep the habitat. I thought 27 March to 11 May 2005 on Calayan stakeholders. The team networked the tactic was clever but was Island, the species’ sole known habitat. with local government officers, notably missing the actual consent of the The ground-dwelling rail inhabits a forest the Governor, Mayor and barangay petitioner. I had a tough time growing on coralline limestone in central leaders. They discussed ways of arranging this interview, but it seemed this bird was even more Calayan. (It was first recorded for balancing the island’s human population interested in why we do what we do science in 2004 and Carmela is credited with long-term biodiversity to ourselves. with having been the first to see it during conservation. that scientific expedition.) Prior to the Pressing concern Continued on page 3 survey, almost nothing else was known about its life cycle, habitat requirements, A pressing concern that came up during and the threats to its survival as a the informal discussions was the species. prevalence of slash-and-burn activities

in the dry season. The census team documented instances of this Playback: a surveying tool unsustainable agricultural practice The team used the playback method to during their stay. detect the rail’s presence. This entailed Team members obtaining a recording of the rail’s call and playing the recording at specified Team members were Carl Oliveros, intervals in pinpointed areas around the Mads Bajarias (both WBCP members), island. The number and behaviour of the forester Baby Jhane Clemeno and birds attracted to the recording, along expedition cook Nancy Dian. Various with type of vegetation and other local guides, who also acted as porters, pertinent information, were then noted translators and spotters, provided by the census-takers. The census points invaluable assistance. Mads gives a vivid were determined from interviews account of the expedition’s experiences conducted by team members with key (and encounters with mosquitoes and informants, mainly subsistence hunters in the local soap-munching madman) on the forests of Calayan. the WBCP website.á Survey objective Cartoon: Peter Sutcliffe

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Metro Manila birding: American War Cemetery

By Ned Liuag Not far from the hubbub of the Makati greenery and towering trees, the green deep feathers. Central Business District is the American War Cemetery is the best American War Cemetery, a rare oasis place to view raptors and migrant The restricted area beyond the hedge of tranquility. The largest outside the in Metro Manila. Gray- provides refuge for Zebra and other United States, the Cemetery holds the faced Buzzard, Chinese Goshawk, wild doves like the endemic White- remains of more than 17,000 Japanese Sparrowhawk and Eurasian Eared Brown Dove. Large flocks of American, Filipino and Allied Kestrel have been known to favour Red Turtle Doves make an occasional servicemen killed in the Philippines and the Cemetery. appearance. New Guinea during the World War II. During winter migration, Yellow and Black-Naped Orioles have been This sprawling 61.5-hectare plateau Gray Wagtails frequent the lawns on noted in large numbers by Club overlooking Laguna de Bay, the biggest both sides of the road at the bottom members. Sometimes White- freshwater body in the Philippines, is of the slope east of the War Breasted Wood Swallows will appear also a haven for resident and migrant Memorial. Flocks of Chestnut- overhead from their haunts in the birds and other wildlife. cheeked Starlings have been seen restricted areas of this American- wheeling by the Memorial colonnade. administered park. With freshly tended lawns, abundant The concentric rows of white With concrete sprawl encroaching on headstones south and east of the War Memorial are territory of Bird´s-eye view resident pairs of Pied Bushchat. Occasionally, White- “So will you agree that we use Collared Kingfishers which are among your print to present a petition to the most vocal and colourful birds in keep this habitat here?" this place, will sit on the headstones

“No dice.” I could not believe it. scanning the ground for prey. Photo: Sean Co The bird went on, "I can't promise I'll keep coming even after you file The hedge and trees in the south- the petition.” eastern corner of the Cemetery “Why not? It's precisely so you harbour aggressive Pied Fantails and could keep coming.” Birding at the Cemetery “Face it, human brain. If you win, the common Yellow-Vented Bulbuls. will your shit go somewhere else With some patience the endemic then?” Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker can be Direct question. I realized my spotted tapping at a snack in this its perimeter, the American War trash went to Pier 18, its juices place. If you are lucky, a Colasisi will Cemetery contains most of the few into the bay and my shit doesn’t make its presence known by its remaining acacia and flame trees that go farther either. “We can at least whistle and flash past in a blur of until a few years ago were found in stop them from cementing abundance in the area. everything here.” It sounded lame. As if the bird had any idea why we How to get there Pied Trillers, near-endemic Lowland used so much cement to begin The American War Cemetery is White-Eye and the recently with. located along Old Lawton Drive in introduced Ring-Necked Parakeets “What do you think would make a Fort Bonifacio. It is accessible from C- difference?” He may as well have make a home in the section close to 5, Nichols or from McKinley Road, been Great One and not just Great the War Memorial parking lot. Forbes Park. Commuters can take a Egret for me right then; on his jeepney or the Fort Bus at the corner response seemed to hinge my life's Occasionally, visitors will also of McKinley and EDSA near the MRT- work. encounter another recent arrival: the Ayala station and reach the War “Keep your shit together.” Cemetery gate after a short walk up North American Gray Squirrel. Its He flew off and I still did not the tree-lined Lawton Drive or sunny local range covers Forbes Park and have a petitioner. If our shit Rizal Drive from 5th Avenue. For a Dasmariñas Village in Makati. were together, it would be better appreciation of its location, fertilizing the central plains and please see Map 87 in the Metro Just before the 5:00 pm closing time, feeding all 11 million of us. And Manila CITI-ATLAS. a visitor should consider choosing a I would be jobless. I trudged Entrance to the park is free but an ID shaded spot on the western back through the grasslands is required to enter the grounds, hemicycle of the Memorial. From towards where I parked my fossil which is under U.S. Government there, one can get a clear view of the fuel machine, thinking how we administration. No food is allowed lawns and Barred Rails emerging from ever got so lost to begin with. and a strict no-walking-on-the-grass well-watered bushes. This is truly a I wondered if he would ever want rule is implemented. There are clean good way to end an afternoon of my thumbprint to petition the washrooms near the gate and at the birdwatching at the Cemetery.á Maker to let us out of this mess parking lot behind the War Memorial. for good behaviour.á

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Meet the Execom...

The brains, the brawn, and certainly geographical information systems Director for Management the fire behind WBCP is its Executive (GIS) and satellite remote sensing as Information Systems at the Lyceum of Committee. Four officers are elected applied in biodiversity conservation, the Philippines in Manila. An avid annually, and a fifth is voted in by the transportation, family planninng and photographer, Nilo has attracted Execom. Members of the founding contraception, and urban planning. attention in his new home city both Execom are Execom members for life. He is a faculty member at UP's for his photography and for the Department of Geography, a GIS activities of the WBCP Cebu At the helm is Michael C. Lu. President Consultant at the University's Natural Chapter, which he established soon for two terms now, Mike is without Sciences Research Institute, and a after his arrival. doubt the Club’s dynamo. A hands-on GIS/Mapping Volunteer for Miriam- Edward Dennis P. Liuag, permanent officer, Mike initiates, guides and PEACE's Southern Sierra Madre Execom member and a third- participates actively in Club activities. Wildlife Conservation Centre. He has generation banker, is now senior He represents the Club in dealings worked with Haribon on several GIS assistant manager for with the outside world. With his quiet mapping and database development communications at Planters diplomatic ways and steely projects. He has been conferred Development Bank. A journalist for businessman’s acumen, he is largely honorary membership by the two years in his pre-banking days and responsible for the progress the Club Oriental Bird Club for his work on a published writer of short fiction, has made in its short existence. Mike is Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife Ned edits and manages his company’s a WBCP founding member and a International Red Data Book. newsletters and magazines. He has permanent member of the Execom. He Treasurer Dr Albert Ramos is a visiting made the American War Cemetery, is also the moderator of the Club’s surgeon at the Capitol Medical one of Metro Manila’s prime birding two e-groups. When he is not working Center, Sta Teresita General Hospital sites (see story on page 3), his personal for the Club, he is Sales Manager for and the Pres. Diosdado Macapagal birdwatching turf and nothing much C.K. Lu Enterprises, a family business Memorial Medical. Albert became a happens among the birdlife there that dealing with industrial tools. He is a birdwatcher by way of being a he does not know about. He often member of the Haribon Foundation photography enthusiast. He was one contributes delightful and precise and a member of the El Presidente of the first to sign up for WBCP’s nature observations to the WBCP e- Toastmaster’s Club. regular weekend guided bird walks. exchange. Vice-President Jonathan M. Villasper, On her second term as Secretary, James McCarthy, permanent Execom Marie Kathleen Denise Arce is a member and Treasurer in 2003-2004, founding member and permanent is by all accounts the spur behind the member of the Execom. She is co- establishment of WBCP. James founder of the MyZooVolunteer retains his membership and officer Group Foundation, an NGO that status in WBCP although he returned operates in zoos and wildlife rescue to his native United Kingdom with his centers in the Philippines. It also family last June after 16 years in the supports the conservation programs Philippines. During his residence at of the Wildlife Rescue Center of the Ayala Westgrove Heights in Silang, DENR-Protected Areas and Wildlife Cavite, he identified 87 species of Bureau (PAWB) and other birds in the area, putting that Elected officers (clockwise): conservation groups. A psychology residential development on the map President Mike Lu, Vice-President Jon Villasper, Secretary Kitty Arce and Treasurer major in college, Kitty is now as bird-rich site. James started early Albert Ramos. Personnel Manager at Selecta Feeds. as a birdwatcher. At age 8 he was the youngest member of his local Nilo M. Arribas, Jr., voted in by his ornithological society. James put a WBCP founding member and Execom peers as fifth Execom member, has scientific cast on his “obsession” by permanent member, is the scientist been an IT professional for more obtaining a degree in zoology at among the group. Jon, ex-MENSA than nine years. Before he left for Oxford University.á member, is experienced in Cebu in 2004, Nilo was Assistant

Special points of interest:

Š 9 January 2003. Birdwatch Philippines is launched.

Š 14 July 2003. WBCP is set up.

Š 11 May 2004. The Calayan Rail is discovered.

Š 20 June 2005. WBCP receives World Bank environmental champion award.

Š 3 July 2005. Club holds first environmental planning meeting.

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Highlights from four WBCP members of the Babuyan Parañaque wetlands (NL, JH, AJ). The Island Expedition (CE, CO, DA, GB). A only record of Purple Swamphen the field... Jacobin or Pied Cuckoo Clamator Porphyrio porphyrio for many years came jacobinus* on Dalupiri Island (DA) and in from the Bonifacio Wetlands, By Arne Jensen and an Orange-flanked Bush Robin Luscinia Misamis Occidental in January (AWC). cyanura* on Calayan Island were James McCarthy The Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus recorded by the same expedition in cinereus*, seen in Balatubat, Camiguin May. Both were first records for the Norte in April (DA), is the country’s This is an abridged version of the WBCP Philippines. field report for the first half of 2004. The fourth record. A third country record report was compiled from the notes of Accidental visitors and rare of a Common Ringed-Plover Charadrius residents Arne Jensen (AJ), Arnel Mallari (AM), hiaticula* was obtained at the Tambo Alice Villa-real (AV), the Asian Some 580 Chinese Egret Egretta Mudflats, Parañaque in January (JM, JV, Waterbird Census (AWC), Birdquest eulophotes from 10 sites were reported TF, AJ). Two Nordmann's Greenshank (BQ), Carmela Espanola (CE), by AWC in January. Cebu, Bohol and Tringa guttifer* (AJ) shared the lagoon in Conservational International-Philippines Leyte are possible main overwintering Baluarte, Bulacan in January with (CI), Carl Oliveros (CO), Desmond sites; several birds were also seen on Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia Allen (DA), Genevieve Broad (GB), Jon Palawan’s Rasa Island and White Beach and Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis. Hornbuckle (JH), Jill Lucas (JL), James in February (BQ). A Chinese Pond- Among the uncommon waders in McCarthy (JM), Jonathan Rossouw (JR), Heron Ardeola bacchus* was observed January-March were 4 Sharp-tailed Jonathan Villasper (JV), Kitty Arce (KA), on Babuyan Claro Island, in Sandpipers Calidris acuminate in Metro King Tours (KT), Lisa Marie Paguntalan April (CO). In the fishponds of Iwahig, Manila (AJ) and Candaba Marsh (TP); (LP), Mads Bajarias (MB), Mike Lu (ML), Puerto Princesa, 3 Black-faced Ruff Philomachus pugnax in March (2 in Mike Edgecombe (ME), Marijn Prins Spoonbills Platalea minor* (first the Parañaque wetlands and 1 [AJ] in (MP), Mark Villa (MV), Merlijn van reported in December 2003) were still Baluarte); 6 Broad-billed Sandpipers Weerd (MW), Nilo Arribas (NA), Ned present up to end of May (AM, JR). Limicola falcinellus in March (JM) in Baluarte; and 14 Red-necked Phalarope Liuag (NL), Pia Belardo (PB), Rene Bajit One Black-shouldered Kite Elanus (RB), Stef Saño (SS), Tim Fisher (TF), Phalaropus lobatus at Tubbataha in May caeruleus was spotted in Malasi Lakes, (AJ). Todd Pepper (TP), William Rutchert (WT), the first record for (WR), Wouter Thijs (WT), WWF- many years. The Grey-headed Fish- Two Pomarine Skua Stercorarius Philippines (WWF) and Zardy Goering Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus, a rare pomarinus* were seen in Manila Bay in (ZG). raptor, was noted in the Callao Cave February (TF), the sixth country record The full report highlights the most area, Cagayan (WT). A Philippine Eagle and the first since 1986 of this probably threatened species, some of the least Pithecophaga jefferyi was seen in overlooked species. At least 2 Black- known important bird areas (IBAs) and February (KT) and May (JR) in its tailed Gull Larus crassirostris* were unusual records (new observations known breeding area of Mt Kitanglad observed off Calayan Island (CO) in outside known home ranges or new or Range Natural Park, Mindanao; in January. Also seen were: 1 Roseate accidental records to the Philippines). It February an immature bird was Tern Sterna dougallii and 6 Bridled covers 167 localities, of which 103 in observed in North Cotabato (BQ). The Terns Sterna anaethetus off Puerto Luzon, 39 in the Visayas and 25 in good news included a breeding pair on Princesa in May (AJ); 1 Sooty Tern Mindanao. Species listed as “rarity Sierra Madre Mountains (CI) and 1bird Sterna fuscata between Sta Ana and records” (RR) are marked with an on Mt Los Dos Cuernos, Cagayan (JH). Camiguin Claro, Cagayan in April (MB, asterisk. It report is available from the A Black Kite Milvus migrans* in Mt CO); and 1 Brown Noddy Anous stolidus WBCP website, as is the database on all Palay-Palay in May was the country's between Cebu City and Dumaguete bird sightings in 2004. third record. City in April (WR). New country records Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca The list continues: 6 Flame-breasted was observed in February-March in the WWF-Philippines finally documented the Continued on page 6 presence of the endangered Christmas Island Frigatebird Fregata andrewsi* in the country: in the Sulu Sea in April, and on Cawili Island and North Islet, Tubbataha Reef in May (AJ, WWF-Philippines). A Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentiles* was seen in the Mts. Palay-Palay-Mataas na Gulod National Park, Cavite (AJ, MV) in February, the second record for the Philippines in one year. Two Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo seen in April in the foothills of the Sierra Madre, in Tanay, Rizal, (JM) were the first documented for the country. The discovery of the endemic Calayan Rail Gallirallus cayalanensis on Calayan Island in May put the Philippines back on The newly discovered Calayan Rail puts the Philippines back on the global ornithological map. the global ornithological map. Between Left: Calayan Rail walking along the forest floor. Right: Close-up. 100 and 200 pairs were documented by

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Highlights from the field

Photo: Romy Ocon

Garganeys and other wild birds flying over Candaba Swamp, Pampanga.

Pigeon Ptilinopus marchei and 20 of the bellied Woodpecker Dryocopus javensis Locustella ochotensis in the Parañaque increasingly rare Spotted Imperial- noted in March is the second record wetlands was reported as new to Pigeon Ducula carola in May at Mt Los for the area (AJ). Metro Manila, with more than 4 birds Dos Cuernos (JR); a Spotted Imperial- in January (JV, JM) and 2 in February Pigeon on Trail Hill 394, Subic, in The Wattled Broadbill Sarcophanops (AJ, JH). The other records include: a February (TF); a Luzon Bleeding-heart steerii was observed in May in the White-throated Jungle-Flycatcher Gallicolumba luzonica on Los Dos PICOP area (JR) although an important Rhinomyias albigularis* on Mt Talinis in Cuernos in May (JR), and two of the roost was reportedly destroyed by April; a male Narcissus Flycatcher same bird in Mt Makiling (JM, MB). illegal logging (ZG). In March a pair with Ficedula narcissina in the mangrove nest was found in the Rajah Sikatuna forest near Bais Harbor, Negros The number of Philippine Cockatoo National Park, Bohol (JH). The first Oriental (WR) in April; a Little Slaty Cacatua haematuropygia on Rasa Island, documented nest of the Whiskered Flycatcher Ficedula basilanica in the Palawan is said to have risen to 100, of Pitta Pitta kochii was seen in May at Los PICOP forest in May; the rare Palawan which 11 were seen in May (JR). Dos Cuernos; 6 birds were reported Flycatcher Ficedula platanea in February Records of 1 Blue-naped Parrot from this area (JR) and 4 from Mt Polis, (BQ) and May at Zig-Zag Road, Puerto Tanygnathus lucionensis and 3 Green Benguet (ME). Streak-breasted Bulbul Princesa (JR); Furtive Flycatcher Ficedula Racquet-tail Prioniturus luconensis in Ixos siquijorensis of the critically rare disposita on Dos Cuernos in May (JR) Subic forest in February, and 3 on Mt Cebu subspecies monticola was and at the Talaytay Watershed Palay-Palay in February and March recorded in Tabuan (2 in May) and in Reserve, Aurora in February (BQ); 3 expand the known Luzon range of Nug-as, Alcoy, Cebu (3 in June) (LP). Celestial Monarch Hypothymis coelestis these rare species. Three Blue-naped Another world class record is a pair of in Apaya, San Mariano, Isabela (ME), 2 Parrot were also seen in May in the Isabela Oriole isabellae*, of in the Talaytay Watershed Reserve Subic forest (SS) where it is still which 1 was netted in April (MW). (BQ) (both in February), two in the common. Three Blue-backed Parrot PICOP forest in March (TP) and 1 in Tanygnathus sumatranus were reported Also recorded were 3 White-fronted May (JR); and, in the same area, 8 from PICOP, Surigao del Sur in Tit Parus semilarvatus in February along Short-crested Monarch Hypothymis February (BQ) and May (JR). the trail to Hill 394, Subic (TF) and a pair with 2 young in May on Dos helenae in March (TP) and 2 in May (JR). There are good records of the Cuernos (JR); Rabor's Wren-Babbler Forest Wagtail Dendronantus indicus Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus Napothera rabori in May (JR), also at were reported only from Mt Makiling in septimus from Mt Talinis, Dumaguete in Dos Cuernos; 2 Flame-templed Babbler February (BQ). In March, a White April (WR) and 20 Purple Needletails Stachyris speciosa* on Mt Talinis (WR); Wagtail Motacilla alba of the subspecies Hirundapus celebensis in January from 1 male Black Shama Copsychus cebuensis lugens was photographed at Sta Ana, Ateneo University, Metro Manila (MV). at Tabuan in May (JR) and 8 of these Cagayan (CO) and 1 bird was seen at A male Mindoro Tarictic Penelopides birds in Nug-as, Cebu in June (LP); and Tambo, Parañaque. The latter showed mindorensis was seen in Casa Rora, the elusive Ashy Ground-Thrush characteristics similar to the subspecies Dumaguete (JR) and 3 Writhed Zoothera cinerea at Mt Makiling in leucopsis, which is unreported from the Hornbill Aceros leucocephalus were January (BK) and February (BQ) and in Philippines (MV, JV). Records have been noted in PICOP in April (MB). The Batulao, Batangas in February (TP). The received of 2 Red-throated Pipit Anthus record of 3 Palawan Hornbill three Manila observations between cervinus at Musuan, Bukidnon in January; Anthracoceros marchei from El Nido, February and March of White's Thrush the near-extinct Cebu Flowerpecker Palawan in April (JL) is one of the first Zoothera aurea at the Ateneo University Dicaeum quadricolor* in May in Tabuan from this area. In April, 9 Rufous are unusual (MV). and 2 males at Nugas, Alcoy (LP); and Hornbills Buceros hydrocorax were an immature Java Sparrow Lonchura observed at Mt Palay-Palay; the White- Middendorff's Grasshopper-Warbler Continued on page 7

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Harrier Circus melanoleucos (4) in February seen at Malasi Lakes (WT, MP). A concentration of 60-100 Brahminy Kites Haliastur indus on 24-25 May in Mt Palay-Palay is unusually high although it is this species’ supreme stronghold. Other birds Up to 20 Spotted Wood-Kingfisher Actenoides lindsayi in April and 23 Tarictic Hornbill Penelopides manillae in March, recorded in Mt Palay-Palay (AJ, JM), indicate the abundance of uncommon endemics in this protected area (JM, AJ). An impressive 800 Yellow Wagtails Motacilla flava were noted in March at PICOP. About 200 Chestnut- cheeked Starling Sturnus philippensis were roosting in the American War Cemetery on 17 April (NA); 109 were recorded in the area on 25 April (AV). Photo: Sean Co Co Sean Photo: Birdwatching at La Mesa Watershed. A good total of 10 Naked-faced Spiderhunter Arachnothera clarae was noted in March at PICOP (TP). reported from 24 localities (AWC) and oryzivora at Ateneo University (MV) and The Green-faced Parrotfinch Erythrura in May-June from five other localities. 3 adults at the American War coloria, occurring in unusually high The highest numbers were from Malasi Cemetery (ML) in June. numbers in Luzon because of the Lakes (1,420), and Magat Dam (1,060), flowering bamboo, a favorite food Large congregations and Luzon. The wetlands of Negros held source, were seen at Ambakok, San unusual numbers good numbers (1,095), and even Metro Mariano, Isabela: 195 in February (ME) Two flocks of 110 and 60 Little Grebes Manila had 12 birds resident in the and 30 in March (JH) and at Hamud Tachybaptus ruficollis were observed in Parañaque wetland (ML, NL). March and April in the Pampanga Camp, Mt Los Dos Cuernos: 300 in wetlands (MV). A group of 150 Shorebirds May (JR). Frigatebirds Fregata sp were present in The most notable counts of migratory June at Nagtabon, Palawan (JH). shorebirds from January 2004 (AWC) Important bird areas (IBAs) Although considered uncommon, fairly were recorded in Cebu (503 Grey The Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary, high numbers of Grey Heron Ardea Plovers Pluvialis squatarola in Olango Cebu continues to be internationally cinerea were reported in January from Island and 248 Whimbrels Numenius important. More than 9,400 birds of 28 Cavite Bay (168) and the Paranaque phaeopus in the Cordoba Wetland) and species were counted on the Island wetlands (110) (AJ). The largest Parañaque (575 Greenshanks Tringa during the AWC in January, including congregations of Great Egret Ardea alba nebularia, 619 Wood Sandpiper Tringa Chinese Egret (11), Far Eastern Curlew were found in the Puerto Rivas glareola, and 438 Marsh Sandpiper Numenius madagascariensis (3), Asian fishponds, Bataan (2,070) and Paltan Tringa stagnatilis). At least 12,600 terns Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus Lake, Nueva Ecija (740) in January (6,600 Whiskered Terns Chlidonias (23) and Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris (AWC). Groups of over 1,000 hybridus and 5,600 unidentified terns) (657). individuals of Little Egrets Egretta were counted in January in eight sites in garzetta were reported by AWC in Manila Bay, together with 320 Black- Other important wetlands are the January from the Agusan Marsh Wildlife headed Gulls Larus ridibundus (AWC). A following: Puerto Rivas, Bataan (12,600 Sanctuary (4,050) and the Bonifacio single fishpond in Pampanga’s near- Continued on page 8 Wetlands, Misamis Occidental (1,020). coastal wetlands hosted 3,000 individuals of Whiskered Terns in late A stunning 3,200 Wandering Whisling March (MV). Ducks Dendrocygna arcuata were observed at Malasi Lakes in January Raptor bonanza (AWC). These lakes are among the Seen migrating north from 7 to 10 April country's most important sites for over the Sierra Madre Mountains at over-wintering duck species (5,000 Tanay, Rizal over the Sierra Madre individuals in February) and the only Mountains were Oriental site that reported Green-winged Teal Honeybuzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus (36), Anas crecca (15), Garganey Anas Chinese Goshawk Accipiter soloensis querquedula (900) and Eurasian Wigeon (12,500), Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur Photo: Sean Co Anas penelope (150) (WT, MP). Mainit indicus (14) and Peregrine Falcon Falco Lake, Agusan del Norte had 5,300 peregrinus (2) (JM). The only other Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula in Jaunary. noteworthy reports on migratory Although considered vulnerable, 4,600 raptors concern the Eastern Marsh- Harrier Circus spilonotus (8) and Pied Execom member James McCarthy watching Philippine Duck Anas luzonica were migrating raptors.

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Bird gallery Photos by Romy Ocon; text by Adrian Constantino based on Kennedy et al.

[email protected] www.birdwatch.ph

The Club:

Provides unrestricted access to the records that it publishes; maintains the integrity of its records; is interested in all wild birds, in all The Spotted Wood– The country’s only endemic Known for its fast undulating habitats whatever their status; Kingfisher, locally known as duck, the Philippine Duck can flight, the Colasisi is the assists all members of whatever Salaksak Gubat, is a fairly be found in freshwater marshes, country’s smallest parrot. experience; enables foreign common bird in the understory shallow lakes and ricefields. It Usually found feeding on birdwatchers to access information on of lowland forests. This can be distinguished from other flowers and nectar, this hanging birdwatching in the Philippines, and endemic bird perches ducks by its cinnamon rust parrot is found in all forest receives and collates their findings; motionless in dark recesses and head, dark brown crown and types and even in city gardens. assists local and foreign is found in Luzon, Negros and the line through its eye. organizations in recording, sharing Panay. and disseminating information; assists in relevant events within its capacities; conducts activities to expose the general public to birdwatching and the need to protect birds; remains sensitive to people living within birdwatching areas.

Wild about Birds

Editor Leni Sutcliffe Editorial Adviser Jon Villasper Design and layout Adrian Constantino The Whiskered Treeswift The shy White-breasted Fairly common in forest edge Photos usually inhabits forest edges or Waterhen is a rail with white and clearings, the Dollarbird is Romy Ocon recent forest clearings where it face and underparts. Locally the only roller found in the flies out to catch insects in the known as Tariwakwak,, this bird Philippines. It displays with air Sean Co air. Its diagnostic features are is common in freshwater acrobatics and noisy calls during Gerry de Villa the whiskers above and below marshes, grasslands and the breeding months of April Printing its eyes and its squeaky toy-like mangroves. It immediately runs and May. Ann Lim call. into cover when disturbed. © All rights reserved

Highlights from the field

waterbirds), the Cavite-Bacoor Bay Surigao del Sur (5,800); Bonifacio Goshawk; 9 species of pigeons and (5,000), Parañaque Coastal Wetland Wetlands, Misamis Occidental (5,200); doves including Luzon Bleeding-heart (4,700 including more than 1% of the and Agusan Marsh Wildlife Santuary, Callicolumba luzonica; Philippine Eagle- flyway population of Common Agusan del Sur (5,000). Owl Bubo philippensis; 4 species of Greenshank), Tanza Coastal Wetland, A neglected but excellent IBA is the Mt woodpeckers; and a surprising density Navotas (4,000, of which 17 Chinese Palay-Palay Mataas Na Gulod National of endemic forest birds such as Egret). These are just four of the Park, Cavite. Just two hours’ drive from Philippine Trogon Harpactes ardens, wetlands in the Manila Bay area which Manila, it is one of the Club's favorite Spotted Wood-kingfisher Actenoides in total are likely to host more than destinations. After one year’s birding in Lindsay and White-browed Shama 100,000 waterbirds from August to the area, the number of species stood Copsychus luzonensis. It also one of the May. Notable areas in the rest of the at 136 compared to a minimum of 150 last breeding areas of the Rufous country include the Cordoba Wetlands, for Mt Makiling. Among the most Hornbill Buceros hydrocorax on Luzon Cebu (3,500 waterbirds); Himamaylan, notable are Philippine Duck; 14 species outside the Sierra Madre. á Kabangland and Ilog Wetlands, Negros of raptors such as Black Kite, Jerdon's Occidental (3,100); La Paz, Carmen, Baza Aviceda jerdoni and Northern Davao del Norte (9,800); Lake Mainit,

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