Friday, January 03, 2020

Year End Birding - 2019

It had become some sort of tradition that Cynthia and I spend the last days of the year at Subic. And so it was for the year 2019. We arrived at our hotel around 1pm and after a quick check in, we proceeded to our favorite birding destination - the Nabasan trail. Along the way, just to get our mood started, we took photos of the birds we saw along the way such as the White-breasted Woodswallow, the Spotted Dove and the Large-billed Crow - all birds on a wire.

White-breasted Woodswallow
Spotted Dove
Large-billed Crow

At Nabasan trail, we saw an Oriental Dollarbird perched on a wire. Surprisingly the birds in this place seemed to be more skittish than before - imagine the Brown Shrike darting off from its perch and hiding as soon as our car approached it. Same thing with the White-throated Kingfishers. The Dollarbird we saw was no exception. Luckily we got a shot before it flew off.

The species that stayed within view were those that were perched high up in the tree tops allowing us only documentary shots - like this Philippine Cuckoo Dove, the Bar-bellied Cuckooshrike and the Philippine Green Pigeon.

Philippine Cuckoo-dove
Bar-bellied Cuckooshrike
Philippine Green Pigeon
We started off early on our second day and went straight to the Botanical Garden area. Surprise! - no birds at all! Off to Nabasan trail where we met birding friend, Doc Chito. We all waited for the woodpeckers - any kind - to show up. Nada. My wife and I decided to move on further down the trail, so we bade goodbye to our friend and wished him well. As we neared the intersection going to the Kamayan Resort, we encountered a flock (!) of Blue-naped Parrots. They were, without question, our bird of the day.

Moving on, we finally met a cooperative White-throated Kingfisher.

Other than those two, the only bird we saw was a Philippine Falconet that was way too far for a good photo. Exiting the Nabasan trail, we opted to try the Argonaut Road. Before reaching that place we spotted a Philippine Serpent Eagle blending with the tree behind it.

The Argonaut road was more productive even if the birds we encountered were the more common ones such as the Brown Shrike, Collared Kingfisher, Zebra Dove and a gang of Crested Mynas.

Brown Shrike
Collared Kingfisher
Zebra Dove
Crested Myna
To end our birding day, we stopped over the Volunteer Shrine Park where Brahminy Kites are sure sightings. And indeed they were, soaring beautifully as the sun started to set.

On our final day, we went to the Treetop Adventure Park. The park was no longer in operation but still can be accessed. There we met fellow birder Abner Lu (he was the one who told me about this place) along with his group and our new friends, Thomas Yie and Rodger Yu. True enough, this place was a favorite hangout of the Luzon Hornbills.

Coletos also visited the nearby fruiting tree.

Since we will be checking out at around 11 am, we told our new friends that we had to go ahead and visit other birding places. On our way out, we saw a Guaiabero land on the tree ahead of us.

Back at Nabasan, all we got was a Whiskered Treeswift and a Red Junglefowl.

At Cubi Point, we were glad that the Blue-throated Bee-eaters were back - we didn't see them the past two days we came here.

And that was, in my opinion, and nice finale to our year-end birding at Subic. Although it was quite disappointing (we only photographed 30 species) compared to the previous years we spent here, nevertheless, we enjoyed the last three days of 2019, having met old and new friends during those times. 

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