A Haven for Birding Enthusiasts
A Haven for Birding Enthusiasts
The morning was cold and overcast, the kind of weather that invites you to reconsider your plans for the day. From time to time, an outburst of rain would fall, further reinforcing the thought of staying inside your walls.
The White-Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus Chloris)
At least in Manila it was that way, but not for us. For our small but enduring group, a night filled with intermittent rain and winds only meant the coming sunrise, with its warmth and light, would be even more grand. This is the time for birds to slowly peek out of their perches and dry their feathers for everyone to see, provided you know where to look.
For this reason, our newly-formed bird watching group opted one Saturday morning to head away from the buildings of Manila and in to the forests of Cavite. Our destination was the campus of the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, a sprawling compound surrounded by small streams and rivers and old wood and fruit trees. We had hardly arrived when we knew it was going to be a good day since from the view inside our van, we were treated with a sighting of an Emerald Dove and a crossing Plain Bush-Hen, all nimble and fleeting.
Then, with the sun starting to shine through the dark clouds, we alighted from our vehicle and began our quest. From the onset, we could already hear the calls of a number of birds overhead and it only took a short while before we saw who was responsible for them: Bulbuls and Gerygones. This was only a short sighting though, as rain forced us take shelter for a few minutes, making us a bit restless as we were all rearing to go. As soon as we were able to, we went out on to the roads and spotted the Yellow-Vented Bulbuls perched discretely on poles and feeding on the fruit trees. We walked a bit more and saw from afar a bird that was very attractive to the eyes: the White-Throated Kingfisher. With its back slightly to us, we were free to see its lush blue wings, chestnut head, and trademark beak for quite some time. It required some practice of giving directions though as it was some distance away, but it was well worth the effort.
The Pygmy Woodpecker
We took a break from walking when we found an excellent vantage point of several species and temporarily rooted ourselves there because just in front of us was a tree that seemed very popular. For the almost half hour that we positioned ourselves, we saw several Olive-Backed Sunbirds of both genders, Philippine Pygmy Woodpeckers climbing up the trunk and branches, Lowland White Eyes frolicking among the leaves, and a White-Collared Kingfisher.
A few hours later, we transferred to the nearby Agape Springs Resort, and, just as we were about to finish our modules and assessment of the morning, we got distracted by another species: the Philippine Hawk-Cuckoo, a raptor look alike found only in the Philippines. We quickly (but quietly) got hold of our binoculars and attempted to find where it was perched. Unfortunately it didn't stay long enough for us to take a photo of it so for those who are curious to know, consider joining the next birdwatching trip. Photos on books and scattered on the internet can't really do it justice.