Saturday, January 04, 2014

From Green to Yellow - Our 2013 Birding Year

It seemed like the light turned green at the beginning of 2013. We were on the go! In January we already chalked up eight lifers - foremost of which were the Green-faced Parrotfinches in Samal, Bataan.

February was spent birding at Bukit Tinggi and Fraser's Hill in Peninsular Malaysia. Of course, practically every bird we saw there were lifers. 

We did our annual trip to California in March to visit my children and grandchildren. There were some birding on the side and one of the very first species we saw was our nemesis bird - the Solitary Sandpiper. After eluding us for almost 10 years, we finally got lucky in 2013. On our return trip we stopped over South Korea and spent a day birding in Seoul.

April added two more lifers for us - the Philippine Frogmouth and the Pechora Pipit.

Pechora Pipit
Philippine Frogmouth
Lifers galore as we visited Puerto Princesa in May. We were lucky to be able to visit Pandan Island and see the Mantanani Scops Owl and the Grey Imperial Pigeon before the place was declared off limits to birders.

Grey Imperial Pigeon
Mantanani Scops Owl
The rainy months of June and July limited our birding forays and we only got one lifer, the Philippine Hawk Eagle in Mt. Palay-palay.

We spent eight days in Sepilok and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah in August. Although we did see many birds, we missed some of our targets - Bornean Bristlehead and Black-and-Red Broadbill - just to name a couple. It had been an exhausting trip for us and it was after this that I started not feeling well.

Which made birding in September only few and far between. It was only when Oriental Plovers were sighted at IRRI that we decided to twitch it.

October was mainly spent at the La Mesa Ecopark to photograph the two endemic kingfishers - the Indigo-banded and the Spotted Wood.

Indigo-banded Kingfisher
Spotted Wood Kingfisher
My health finally gave in in November when I was hospitalized for three days to undergo some minor surgery. Because of this we had to cancel two birding trips: to Kuala Lumpur and to Bacolod. I thought that would be the end of my birding forays for the year. But….

Late December and I was feeling better. A trip to Candaba to twitch the Black-faced Spoonbill confirmed that I could do a bit of driving and still feel OK. That was followed a week later by a trip to Subic. To cap the year off, it was a test of endurance as we dared drive to Laoag. We were rewarded by three more lifers - the Black-tailed and Slaty-backed Gulls and my target - the Yellow Bunting on the very last day of the year.

Yellow Bunting
All in all, 2013 was not so bad. We had 31 lifers for our Philippine birdlist and many more from South Korea, Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah. We're now looking forward to 2014.

1 comment:

eileeninmd said...

Great birds and photos. Your outings and sightings sound wonderful.