Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Palawan Birding - Day 3 - Two

Having checked off 5 of the 7 species in our want list the day before, our guide, Totic, was determined to get the remaining 2 on our last day. He picked us up at 5:30 from our hotel and proceeded to Barangay Bahile. After a somewhat strenuous (for us septuagenarians) climb, Totic told us to wait. A few minutes went by then a beautiful song came from the forest and soon item # 6 on our list appeared. The colorful Falcated Wren-Babbler displayed its beauty before us.

With such an auspicious start, we moved on. This time we took the famous road to Sabang. After about an hour, we stopped by the roadside. We were waiting for item #7 to show up. While doing so, an unexpected White-bellied Woodpecker flew by and landed on a nearby tree.

A few minutes later, a male Olive-backed Sunbird of the aurora race flashed its distinguishing feature.

Then they came. A small flock of Palawan Hornbills came flying in and gave us enough opportunities to photograph them. Woohoo! We finally got the last species in our list! 

Our next stop was at the Cacaoyan Restaurant. Our guide assured us that we would be getting good views of the Palawan Tit here. And indeed they came. At first the flock of about 5 individuals were flitting way up on the tree tops. Eventually, they moved closer until they came to about eye level. One even came to the ground!

After the Tits left, we stayed in the area since this was where we would be having our lunch. While lingering around, I saw a flash of red fly into the patch of forest nearby. "Red-headed Flameback!" Totic informed me. "I want!" I replied and we rushed to the place where we thought it landed. Unfortunately it seemed to have vanished in thin air as we never even caught a glimpse of that bird. Not even a sound. When we tried looking for the Flameback, Cynthia opted to remain near the restaurant. Good thing she did. When Totic and I returned from our unsuccessful hunt, my wife flaunted an awesome shot of the appropriately named Lovely Sunbird.

There was still ample time before lunch so I tried looking for the Sunbird to get photos for myself. It was during this time that a Palawan Bulbul decided to have an early lunch. Some red berries were at the bottom (!) of a palm tree and the Bulbul would fly in, grab a berry, swallow it, and then fly off again. This became such a routine that we were able to anticipate its moves.

After lunch we all agreed to continue on to Sabang and visit the Dabdab Resort and hopefully see the Pale Spiderhunter - a species that we failed to see at the Badjao Seafood Restaurant area the past two days. As fate would have it, the Spiderhunter was still a no show. In its place it was the Asian Fairy Bluebird that showed up.

On the way back we stopped by an elementary school where we hoped to see the Pale Spiderhunter. Once again, it never showed up. As a "consolation", a Copper-throated Sunbird gave us good looks.

That was a fitting end to our 3-day birding stint in Palawan. A million thanks to our very efficient guide, Totic Failana, for being able to show us all 7 species that we wanted to see - and more! Two thumbs up for him.

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