Sunday, June 10, 2012

First Flight!

Today, Jops and  I took out visiting birder friend from Boston, E.M. to the La Mesa Ecopark and the Angono Petroglyphs. We were joined by some of our birder friends (Leni, Jun, Yana, Christian, Rob, Mark Jason V., and Anthony A.) and met up early at the park. We also met some new friends, some were visiting birders and some were scuba divers who were newly discovering the wonderful world of birding!

We lingered a bit near the entrance and some of us were able to see a Red-bellied Pitta in the area. We then headed to the trails, most of us to try our luck with the Slaty-legged Crake. Unfortunately, the Crake was a no-show but we did get excellent views of more Ashy Ground Thrushes, hopping around and preening on the ground. A Mangrove Blue Flycatcher was noisily flying about, showcasing its different calls.

While waiting for the Slaty-legged Crake to show, we noticed a couple of Lowland White-eyes chirping away in a nearby tree. They flew in quite near us and we could clearly see little green worms in their beaks. They flitted from branch to branch, carrying the worms around. They weren't gobbling them down... nest with chicks,  maybe?

Never having seen a Lowland White-eye's nest in person, I didn't know what to look for. I scanned the area but didn't see anything. After moving further along the trail, Yana and I went back and saw the two White-eyes, still in the same area. I scanned a bit more thoroughly with my bins and voila! I found it! A small, neatly woven, cup-shaped nest was there right in front of us! The adult birds still had food in their beaks but did not approach the nest. We moved back to give them "space" and in just a few seconds of our retreat, one adult bird perched on the nest and deposited the bright green worm into the hungry mouth of a chick! AMAZING!

We left the nest and moved to another spot. Still no Crake. I headed back to the nest with Jops and Anthony, hoping to witness another feeding and also, I requested Jops to take a photo for me =). What we saw was the nest with a bird sitting very still right next to it. We thought it was the adult guarding the nest. After some shots were taken, we reviewed the photos and discovered that the bird was the Lowland White-eye chick! It still lacked the white eye-ring and the yellow color was just starting to show on its chin, like a bib. 

Baby Lowland White-eye sitting beside its nest. Photo by Jops =)

After a few minutes, and with the birders now regrouped in the area, the adults came back. One was carrying a red berry in its beak and fed it to the hungry, waiting chick! EVEN MORE AMAZING! Here's a video taken by Mark Jason of the adult feeding the chick with the berry! So cool that he was able to document it!!! Thank you, Mark for sharing this video! Here's a link to the video.

The parents flitted away from the nest after the "berry meal" but the chick started to follow them! It hopped further up the branch, then onto a nearby branch... following its parents! It was quite nerve-wracking to watch, to be honest. I was praying it wouldn't fall! It soon disappeared into the trees together with its parents, leaving us birders ecstatic upon watching its first flight out of its nest =)


  1. What an amazing debut flight?! Have a great day!

    1. Yes, it was really amazing to watch =) Have a great day too!