Monday, September 9, 2013

More Friends, More Birders, More Lifers in Coron!

After a successful first day training and easy afternoon birding in Coron, the following morning was dedicated to more birding in the field. We met up with the participants from the training in Barangay 6, Capayas. While distributing the binoculars, we were greeted by a small flock of Yellow-throated Leafbirds and Palawan Flowerpeckers.

We divided the group into two and took different directions for our birding morning. Our group decided to check out part of the Mabentangen River to look for kingfishers. Along the way, we heard and saw quite a number of White-vented Shamas, Ashy Drongos, Olive-winged Bulbuls, and Rufous-tailed Tailorbirds. All Palawan birds!

We went off the road and headed closer to the stream where our guide and new friend from Birdwatch Coron, Zelyn, said the kingfishers frequent. We spent some time quietly waiting when a high pitched flash of blue flew in front of us! It was the Blue-eared Kingfisher! I couldn't count it as a lifer though but knowing it was just there made me want to see it all the more!

Birders along the stream, waiting for the kingfishers

We moved to another area of the river when Zelyn pointed out a kingfisher perched a few meters away downstream. It was orange but too big to be the dwarf-kingfisher. As we got a better view, we confirmed it to be a Ruddy Kingfisher!

A documentary shot of the Ruddy Kingfisher. 

Suddenly, the flash of blue crossed in front of our group and very kindly perched very near us! The handsome Blue-eared Kingfisher stayed just a few seconds, but long enough for us to get good views through our binoculars and for me to snap a single photo of one of my favorite lifers on this trip!

Handsome Blue-eared Kingfisher! Definitely one of my favorites!

It soon darted away from us, leaving us all ecstatic at its brief appearance. The Ruddy Kingfisher came into view again and Sir Chin crossed the knee-high waters to get a better photo. After a few minutes, we all made our way out back to the street. On our way back out, we encountered some Black-naped Orioles and a Hooded Pitta, who was friendly but too shy to have its photo taken. We said goodbye to the new birders, fresh with awesome lifers for that morning. The rest of us stayed and went to see Kuya Erwin, the resident guide in the Capayas area. He brought us around the area and showed us more lifers, but I'm saving that story for last =)

Fast forward to later in the afternoon. We were in Villa Khadine Grand Vista Resort in nearby Sitio Jolo where we were going to conduct a birdwatching lecture and activity for kids. The kids started arriving at around 3PM and we gave a short introduction to birding.

Short lecture before heading out to bird

After the lecture, the kids were given binoculars to use for the afternoon and we stepped out to bird in the resort. I guided the group of the girls and was assisted by another new friend and Birdwatch Coron member, Michelle

I lagged behind a bit to get my Kennedy field guide when a loud collective "Ayuuuuun!!!" was heard from the young birdwatchers. Apparently, they had all seen the Yellow-throated Leafbird being pointed out to them! This got them more excited to see more birds! And more birds they saw! 

Michelle pointing out more birds to the enthusiastic young birders

The kids got a great birdlist for their first birding trip: Asian Glossy Starling, Collared Kingfisher, White-bellied Munia, Pied Fantail, White-vented Shama, and Ashy Drongo. We were hoping to see some woodpeckers and maybe the Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, as they would be lifers for me too, but they didn't show that afternoon. We got great views of a Hooded Pitta though and the girls were treated to helping "rescue" a Monitor Lizard that got stuck in the empty swimming pool!

Hooded Pitta, another awesome lifer for the first time birders!

We headed back to the lecture area and helped the kids make their very first bird list. We all had a great time and a lot of them were asking if we were going to go birding again the following day and if not, when the next birding trip would be. They also wanted to be members of Birdwatch Coron. =)

We winded down with merienda and cold, refreshing softdrinks. Certificates were awarded to the kids and after them, the participants of the training the previous day were also given their certificates. It was such a fun two days birding with them, gaining new friends, bringing more birders into the field, plus getting more lifers along the way! 

After a scrumptious dinner courtesy of Sir Chin, we said our good nights and rested early because... the following day was dedicated solely for birding!!!

To be continued...

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