Sunday, April 10, 2016

Paying It Forward

It was on April 09, 2010 that I joined my first birdwatching trip with the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) in UP Diliman. I remember Mike pointing out my first bird on that trip: a Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker climbing a kapok tree in the NIGS area. The tree is no longer there and a building has taken its place, but I will always remember that afternoon with fondness.

There are other kapok trees on campus,
but I still remember THAT other one

Six years has passed and I found myself with a perfect chance to "pay it forward" as a celebration of my sixth year as a birder: I volunteered to guide (mostly) first-time birdwatchers in UP Diliman!

I met up with the group on the steps of the main library and it was nice seeing familiar faces who've signed up for the activity. We walked to pick up their binoculars and saw Mike gesturing us to look through the scope. There was a nest of a Black-naped Oriole atop a tall tree with a chick peeping out! The parent would perch on the nest to feed the chick before flying off again.

Meeting place

It was a great way to start the morning! We divided the group into two and went our separate ways. Our group made its way to the oval and spent some time there spotting quite a number of birds: Grey-streaked Flycatcher, Collared Kingfisher, Pied Triller, Lowland White-eyes, and another nest! A pair of Golden-bellied Gerygones were flitting in and out of their nest that looked like a hanging clump of dirt!

It's a messy but well-camouflaged nest ;)

We were also treated to a low-flying flock of egrets in v-formation as well as a big flock of Blue-tailed Bee-eaters that flew over our group. We continued our walk and headed to the lagoon. Some of us in the group were able to spot a Yellow Bittern sitting in the grass by the water's edge but it quickly disappeared after a couple of minutes. Moving along, we spotted Brown Shrikes, a Grey Wagtail, and Yellow-vented Bulbuls.

More birds in the lagoon area

We made our way out of the lagoon area and took some time admiring the flowering Salingbobog tree (aka Balai Lamok.) The flowers are now changing from white to yellow!

This native tree only blooms for around two weeks,
once a year!
Beautiful blooms!

We went to the other side of the oval and checked out the usual roosting site of the Philippine Nightjar. The bird was there on its usual tree, seemingly unaffected by the big fire that gutted the building just beside it a little more than a week ago.

Philippine Nightjar, fast asleep
We made a last stop to see the Blue Rock Thrush, which has become a yearly visitor in the campus from since I started birding. The handsome thrush did not disappoint and stood tall on a high branch as the group observed it through the spotting scope.

We walked back to the parking area and ended the activity. It was a good 2 1/2 hours well-spent! I wish I was able to chat with more people but I'm sure I'll be seeing some of them again soon ;)

Group pic!
Photo from Karen O.
After we said goodbye to the group, Fredd, Karen, and I made the birdlist while having a late breakfast of waffles and burgers. The three of us are birding batchmates, having joined the club in 2010. It was such a great way to celebrate and I went home with my heart full and very very happy to have paid it forward (and possibly infecting other people with the highly addictive birding bug!) =)

Me, Karen, and Fredd: 6-year old birders!
Waffles and bird lists

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