Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Bird Walk and some Mystery Wings

It has been a hectic month for me as my students' exams are fast approaching BUT I was lucky enough to sneak in a quick birding trip in the form of an Ateneo birdwalk last Friday.

The campus birdwalk was part of the activities lined up for the university's Ignatian Festival. Sponsored by the Ateneo Institute of Sustainability, led by the very enthusiastic Abby F., a total of four bird walks were conducted the past month with Trinket as the lead. Jops and I were able to volunteer and help guide for the first one earlier this month and I was happy to find an opening in my Friday schedule to volunteer for this last one.

I met up with Trinket, Doc Cha, and Abby around 4PM and, thankful for the break in the rainy weather that drenched the whole week, we began the birdwalk. Tita Lydia would join us later on.

Giving the introductory talk to birdwatching

We had quite a number of kids who joined us and they were raring to use their binoculars! A few steps from where we did the orientation, a well-behaved Collared Kingfisher gave every one excellent views. It stayed still and long enough for even the kids to see it through the scope =)

I was on "scope duty" so I didn't bring my camera, so...
I tried digiscoping again =)

We moved along and tried to spot some more birds along the road. It was dismissal time and the area was quite busy, so not much bird activity. We crossed to another part of the campus and spent some time observing a noisy bunch of White-breasted Woodswallows and a big flock of foraging Lowland White-eyes. Unfortunately, the Black-naped Orioles and Coppersmith Barbets chose to just fly by above us.

We stayed a while in the open meadow, hoping more birds would show. Aside from a brief appearance of a Yellow-vented Bulbul and a couple of flyby Pied Trillers, no more birds showed.

As we made our way back to the road, the group spotted a "crime scene" of sorts: a pair of bird wings lay near each other on the grass, just beside one of the tall towers in the area. A lot of questions were asked: What bird was it? Was it a victim of a raptor? Was the migratory Peregrine Falcon back on campus? Here are the photo I took of the mystery wings:

This was one of the wings our group found. I placed a 5-peso coin beside
it for size reference (diameter is 27 mm or 1.1 in.)
This is the second wing we saw, with part of what looked like
a breastbone still attached.

I would have loved to stay and look for other "clues" but we had a birdwalk to finish. After taking photos, we moved forward, leaving the mystery unsolved.

The rest of the walk was still quiet, but another Collared Kingfisher and a couple of Long-tailed Shrikes posed nicely for our group before we ended the trip.

One of the two Long-tailed Shrikes we saw

We ended the activity as the sun was starting to set. My birding afternoon was short and sweet, with a little bit of mystery mixed in as a bonus. Now, it's back to work for me and I am soooo looking forward to the next chance I will get to go birding.

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