Sunday, February 15, 2015

Backyard Valentine Bird Count

I decided to go birding on the morning of Valentine's Day. I decided to go birding by myself in UP Diliman. It is so near where I live, it can pass as my backyard ;) The weekend also fell under eBird's Great Backyard Bird Count, so I was happy I would get to contribute to the Philippine list.

I had a couple of other goals for my solo birding morning: first was to bird with only my bins and no camera and second was to find the Ashy Drongo which was spotted in the campus last month.

The trees lining the UP Oval are almost completely bare

I haven't gone birding without my Canon SX50 ever since Jops gave it to me two years ago. I wanted to go back to just pure birding, even for a few hours and this was the perfect time to do that. Armed with only my bins and notebook, I set off from the AS parking lot and headed to the library.

Colasisis and Philippine Pygmy Woodpeckers were calling from nearby and Yellow-vented Bulbuls were feeding on a tall, flowering African Tulip. I was spotting a Coppersmith Barbet on a tall tree when a grey bird flew past with a characteristic undulating flight. Could it be the Drongo??? After a bit of searching, I spotted the all-grey bird swallowing its prey. I spent some time observing it and taking note of its field marks: whitish face, splayed fish tail, and sharp bill. Found it! The Ashy Drongo I saw is the luecogenys ssp. which is a migrant.

Somewhere up that tree, there is an Ashy Drongo,
Coppersmith Barbet, and Yellow-vented Bulbul

I lingered a bit in the area, wishing for the unicorn (aka male Narcissus Flycatcher) to make an appearance. I soon left, the unicorn still being a unicorn.

I walked through the Beta Way but didn't see much birds except for a few Brown Shrikes and an Arctic/Kamchatka/Japanese Leaf Warbler.

I used to see so many birds here including
Grey-streaked Flycatchers and even an
Oriental/Himalayan Cuckoo...

Next stop was the path leading to the U Lagoon and heard some Collared Kingfishers and Black-naped Orioles calling from the trees. I inspected the leftmost pond and found it to be slowly drying up. Instead of the usual Common Kingfisher, I saw a Grey Wagtail instead and also a couple of White-breasted Waterhens.

The usually muddy portions are now cracked earth

Along the path, I got great views of Colasisis and Philippine Pygmy Woodpeckers. As I approached the end of the trail, I was happy to see the Common Kingfisher. It transferred to an area that still had a considerable amount of water.

A wetter, more watery part of the lagoon

I exited at the UP Oval fronting the Vargas Musuem and I saw a lot of Golden-bellied Gerygones and Lowland White-eyes flitting among the trees. There were also a lot of Pied Trillers that morning. I walked to the Faculty Center and looked for the Philippine Nightjar but it wasn't in its usual roosting tree.

I checked my watch and it was already 10AM. I decided to walk back to the parking and drive home. I remember the times I spent a lot of time birding in UP years before and it still is a great site for a quick birding fix. I have yet to see that unicorn of a bird but I am very happy with my bird list for my solo Valentine backyard birding morning sans my camera =)

For those going birding anywhere from now until Monday (February 16), submit your bird lists on to contribute to the Philippine Great Backyard Bird Count.


  1. Looks like it was a relaxing Valentine's morning for you! And... wow! I didn't know there was an Ashy Drongo in UP! Congrats on the sighting!

    1. Birdwatching PE class ni Bert M. ang nakakita, same area! =) Yeah, relax before the exams start ;)

  2. Your blog is really enjoyable to read...