Monday, August 11, 2014

Starlings and Bee-eaters in the 'Hood!

Living in one of the busiest streets in my part of Quezon City, I've been very happy with the birds I've seen inside our small compound. Aside from the very common urban birds, the Eurasian Tree Sparrows, we also have our own community of Yellow-vented Bulbuls, Philippine Pied Fantails, Olive-backed Sunbirds, and Golden-bellied Gerygones.

On some mornings, we hear the loud calls of Black-naped Orioles calling from high up our neighbor's gmelina tree and also the trilling calls of Philippine Pygmy Woodpeckers.

One of the noisy neighborhood Black-naped Orioles

When the weather is a bit wet, the Collared Kingfishers also make an appearance by the small creek near our house. We usually have a lot of fly-by Colasisis (Philippine Hanging Parrot) but there are some lucky days they come and perch. One early morning, I even saw one perched beside a Collared Kingfisher!

Kingfisher on the left and Colasisi (face hidden) on the right

We also have Zebra Doves in the compound but I rarely see them, usually just hear them calling from somewhere up in the trees. We've also have some visitors such as a Red-keeled Flowerpecker and even a Rose-ringed Parakeet! The Parakeet must have been an escapee though. We've also seen some Asian Glossy Starlings once before but we haven't seen them again.

Until last week! My mom pointed them out to me atop our neighbor's mango tree and upon closer inspection with my bins, found quite a number of them: adults and lots of immature birds! We've gotten quite used to their noisy calls early in the morning as they fly to and fro the mango tree. By mid-morning, the starlings transfer near the entrance of the compound and perch on a neighbor's window grills to escape the heat of the sun.

Asian Glossy Starlings
The adult birds have all-black plumage and red eyes while the immature
birds have streaked bodies and not-so-red eyes yet

The latest sighting, and one that got me really excited, were a trio of Blue-tailed Bee-eaters! I was jogging around the compound when I saw a kite-like bird swoop above me and land on an electric wire. I tripped and almost fell but was able to catch myself and properly look at the bird! It was indeed a bee-eater! I finished my jog, ran up to my room for my bins and camera, and went back to find three of them. They were catching bugs on the fly and swallowing them while perched on the electric wires. I was thrilled to have seen the bee-eaters in our neighborhood in the middle of the city!

Blue-tailed Bee-eater gulping down its catch!

I wasn't able to check them our over the weekend though and I wasn't able to spot them during my early morning jog today. Maybe they were just passing through and saw a yummy swarm of insects in our airspace that day. The number of starlings I saw were also considerably less today and they haven't been to the mango tree too. I really do hope they stay...

I'm still on the lookout for any Crested Mynas in our compound since I see them along nearby Visayas Avenue already. Who knows who will visit our neighborhood next! =)