Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rainy Forest Birding in Tanay

June 12, 2012 = Philippine Independence Day = Holiday = Birding
Independence Day birders! Photo from Jun Osano

Members of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) met up early Tuesday morning and efficiently convoyed up to the Tanay Rainforest Camp in Barangay Sampaloc, Rizal. It was a cool morning, having had strong downpour the night before. The weather forecast was rain and drizzle so we were more or less prepared for rain.

On the drive up, first came the fog...

Poor visibility going up to Tanay...

Then came the rain...
We had to roll our windows up...

We arrived at the Camp a little before 7AM and only a light shower was falling. We parked and immediately heard a Scale-feathered Malhoka and White-throated Kingfisher calling from somewhere inside the cluster of trees in front of us! We dropped off our things and picnic stuff at the mess hall and proceeded to the trail. The rain had finally stopped and we were blessed with pockets of blue skies.

There were patches of blue skies
but not long enough for more birds to come out

Along the trail, we could hear more Scale-feathered Malhokas, White-browed Shamas, Grey-backed Tailorbirds, and lots of Philippine Bulbuls. The trails are pretty easy, the one we first explored was going downhill. To get back to the main Camp, you had to go up the way you came, which was the most challenging part for me. One of my personal highlights was seeing three thermalling raptors! One Oriental Honey Buzzard and two Crested Serpent Eagles! It was amazing actually SEEING the Oriental Honey Buzzard calling while soaring above us! On our way back to the mess hall, we tried our luck with the Spotted Wood Kingfisher just seen a few minutes earlier by some fellow birders. As we reached the spot, heavy rain suddenly fell! Out came the ponchos and umbrellas and other rain gear, and we patiently waited for the rain to stop.

Birders in the rain... and no Spotted Wood Kingfisher =(

As soon as the rain let up, we headed back to the mess hall for some snacks and to dry up a bit. The rain would stop for a few minutes but would fall again, not as strong as the downpour we experienced, but enough to make the birds hide. We had our "picnic" lunch in the mess hall and went out again after. In the immediate area, we saw a couple of Ashy Ground-Thrushes near their nest.

The other trails were easy and pleasant to bird in. I could imagine it would be absolutely fantastic in good weather! In one area, I got superb views of a White-browed Shama and a small flock of Scale-feathered and Red-crested Malkohas! My best views of the Scale-feathered Malkoha yet! I could see every detail (even the white spots on the black stripe running down its throat!) AND saw it calling too! I wished I had a camera at that very moment!

My favorite part of the Camp during our trip!

We explored another trail but didn't see much birds, thanks to the rainy weather. We decided to draw up the bird list at around 3PM with a bit more birding in the area around the mess hall. Additional birds we saw there were Stripe-headed Rhabdornis, Red-keeled Flowerpecker, and White-eared Brown Dove. We left the place with a Brush Cuckoo calling very close to us. That gave us a total of 43 bird species seen and heard =)

On the drive back, we talked about our Tanay Rainforest Camp adventure and decided to go back when the weather is more pleasant and with bigger promise of more birds. I still want to see the Rufous Paradise Flycatcher again =)


  1. Wow, 43 bird species in the rain, your trip sounds like a very interesting and fun adventure. Any leeches there? Rain forest always reminds me of leeches and I am scared of them :)

    Ha Luong

    1. Hmmm, I didn't see (or notice) any leeches there... I'm curious about them! =)