Tuesday, April 10, 2012

But Wait! There's More!

April 9 is a three-occasion date for me. It is the Philippines' Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) which commemorates the bravery of Filipino soldiers who fought to defend Bataan against the Japanese during World War II. It is also my good friend Sharon's birthday AND it  marks our birding birthday! 

Last year, Jops and I went with a group of friends to Nuvali and saw the Chinese Francolin for our bird day lifer. This year, we found ourselves with family in Canyon Cove Resort in Nasugbu, Batangas. The resort is a three-hour drive from Manila, and we arrived towards 8 in the morning. Having no background as to the "birdy-ness" of the site, we were set on exploring without any expectations. As soon as we parked, we saw a female Blue Rock Thrush running around the parking lot! 



I've seen the male BRT more often, and although it is more colorful (and consistent with it's name), seeing the female BRT is always a treat.

This is the male BRT, photographed in the UP campus in Quezon City.

There were already lots of people on the beach and in the pool when we arrived and settled in a cabana. There were lots of Striated Swallows (Jops' lifer!) flying overhead as well as White-breasted Woodswallows (some nesting in the coconut trees) and Olive-backed Sunbirds. We decided to walk along the shore and scan the huge rocks out at sea for any waders. I imagined some sandpipers and maybe a whimbrel if we were lucky but the beach and rocks yielded zero birds. We headed towards the end of the cove where there was a thick patch of trees.

At first it was mainly Eurasian Tree Sparrows and Yellow-vented Bulbuls we saw. But as we waited, we saw two more female Blue Rock-Thrushes perched atop one of the residential units. We could hear some Tailorbirds calling from the brush (one flew just in front of Jops!) and a White-collared Kingfisher called and flew around the taller trees. While standing in that small portion, we also saw a lone Chinese Goshawk fly overhead and another raptor which we could not identify because it was flying too high up.

We were also treated to good views of a female Pink-necked Green Pigeon. I was silently hoping a male Pink-neck would appear since I've only seen the female, but the bird flew deeper into the trees and disappeared. We were preparing to leave our spot when suddenly a plump green bird perched on the branches above us! I focused my binoculars on the bird and voila! A handsome male Pink-necked Green Pigeon just above us!


Here's a photo of the female Pink-necked Green Pigeon, which lacks the beautiful coloration of the male:

Photographed also in the UP campus in Quezon City a few years back.

We finally packed our things and walked back to the cabana in time for lunch. Before leaving, we scanned the rocky shores at the other end of the cove and spotted a lone Common Sandpiper. Sadly for me, that was the only wader seen.

On the ride back to Manila, I thought about the birds we saw. I was happy Jops was able to see the Striated Swallows and I was contented with being able to see the male Pink-neck and the female thrushes. I dozed off resigned, but not sad at all, that I would have no lifers on our second bird day.

But wait! There's more!

We reached Manila before night settled in. We were already on our way out to get long overdue massages  when we heard an immature Philippine Scops Owl calling loudly! We have been hearing it for the past couple of days but were never able to spot it. Out came our bins and a flashlight. We positioned ourselves under a mango tree where the calls were coming from. We scanned the branches with the flashlight but couldn't see it. I borrowed the flashlight and for the first time tried my luck at spotting an owl in the dark. I didn't have my glasses on (I wasn't expecting we'd see the owl) and am actually quite blind at night BUT almost immediately I saw two red dots staring back at me! I found it!!! I whispered harshly for Jops to come closer and pointed out the bird to him. Unbelievably, we still got a LIFER! I didn't expect it at all, but we still got an awesome lifer on our second bird day! Yay!

This immature Philippine Scops Owl is soooo tiny and fluffy-looking and absolutely ADORABLE!

12 comments:

  1. How lucky can you be!! Cynthia and I were at canyon cove last year (February) and didn't see anything except the usual Brown Shrikes, YVBs and White-breasted Wood Swallows.

    Congrats on the bird-day lifer!!

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    1. Thank you po Tito Bob! We didn't expect to see anything especially when we saw all the buildings =P Warm reagrds to you and Tita Cynthia! =)

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  2. Thanks for the special mention hehe :))
    People like you help others open their eyes to the wonders of nature. I used to just let birds be; I was aware they are around but never really cared about them. But now, I always look up the sky and the trees :)

    sharonnina

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    1. Hey Sha! Of course, I won't forget your birthday! =) Aw, that's so nice to read =) We really should go birdwatching SOON! =)

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  3. IT'S SOOOOO FLUFFFFFYYYYY!

    cobngrats maia and jops! :-)

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    1. Oh yes! And sooo tiny! I didn't imagine it to be so small! Thanks Trinket! =)

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  4. super cute naman ng owl na yan!

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    1. oh yes! Sana we can watch it grow up, hehe =)

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  5. Alisin lang yung sharp claws pwede nang stuffed toy! :D

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    1. Hahaha! oo nga! The claws look like freshly sharpened pencils!=P

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