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					Trip Report: Alaminos, Pangasinan*
19 June 2006
Report and bird list by Agerico de Villa

Birders: Agerico M. De Villa (propjerry), Buboy Francisco, Ismael
Najera and Jed Santos
Clear Skies (90% Clear) and Fair Weather

Invited by Alaminos Mayor Nani Braganza, our group left Manila for Alaminos at 3:00 a.m. By
6:00 a.m., we were at the docks of the town ready for the trip to nearby Hundred Islands.

Immediately as we disembarked from the car, birds could be heard chirping from the trees and
shrieking from the direction of the waters. Atop trees behind the docks could be seen and heard
Yellow-vented Bulbuls together with Eurasian tree sparrows. Right along the docks were
communication antennas where Pacific Swallows perched. Over the waters could be seen what looked
like terns. In a few minutes a couple of egrets flew overhead from somewhere inland in the direction of
an island across from the town.

By 6:30 am, we boarded a boat on our way to the Hundred Islands. In about 15 minutes we were
already traversing between islands and one immediately noticed the cacophony of birds that, even for
one used to birding for years, it was difficult to identify all the birds involved (There must have been
over a dozen types of calls many of which were new to me).

From afar, I could see through my binoculars a Brahminy Kite that later dives for a fish. Then after
about five minutes, another one appeared from the north, again from afar.

As the boat left the channel between two islands and another island appeared before us, a couple of
Oriental Magpie-robins showed themselves with one perching on the twig right over the waters along
the edge of the island. This one perched on the twig sang its melodious song and enthralled everyone.
Jed Santos took a number of photographs. Looking at the island, I saw what looked like a guaiabero or
a colasisi dive into a canopy & unfortunately I never had the chance to confirm. Before I could feel
bad about the sighting I spotted a White-eared brown Dove flying over us going north. A few
moments later, a number of Asian Glossy Starlings hurriedly flew low over the trees going northeast.
This would be followed by countless others in intervals for the whole duration of the trip.

I asked the boatmen to land us on the island along the newly planted mangrove site. It was a pleasant
surprise that there had been mangrove planting where it was possible and more a pleasant surprise
because the plants are thriving well with so many already mature and well-established. Before we
could even land on the island, on three occasions, we spotted Pompadour Green Pigeons flying over us
towards northeast of the island.

On the beach we immediately heard and spotted Pied Fantails, Yellow-vented Bulbuls, and Golden-
bellied Flyeaters. No Eurasian Tree Sparrows were immediately noticeable which was an indicator
there was no garbage anywhere near the area.

Jed Santos stayed put on a spot and took photographs of the Golden-bellied Flyeaters while Buboy and
I went deeper into the mangrove area. On the tamarind tree along the edge of the mangrove area, I
spotted a Blue-headed Fantail and pointed it out to Buboy. It stayed for a while but kept moving from
branch to branch. As we went deeper into the mangrove area, I heard a quack-quack from afar and I
* Taken from the archives of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines
looked for the source to no avail. On the beach this time, I heard again the quack-quack and I saw a
duck flying encircling the island and moments later off in the northeast direction. As Buboy and I
stood standing on the beach, a couple of Olive-backed Sunbirds flew into the prickly tree right before
us. Moments later, these were followed by a couple of Scaly-breasted Munias. I spotted the sunbirds
and munias in good light for Buboy; Buboy shortly afterwards declared that he really has to take up
birding seriously after the trip.

Again there was much cacophony on the island especially from Oriental Magpie-robins and the
fantails. I thought I could hear calls from a Mangrove Blue-flycatcher but it was difficult to confirm
given the magpie-robins all over the place. Also, there were a number of White-breasted Wood-
swallows flying overhead.

The boatmen later took everyone around the island. As we started off on our way a Little Heron flew
skimming the waters behind us.

I saw a beach on the other side the looked promising so I asked the boatmen to land everyone again on
the island. As it turned out, there was a trail going up from that beach forking into all directions all
over the island through the forest including a trail into the spot where we had just come from. I got
separated from everybody trying to catch photographs of more birds.

As we landed on the island, an owl flew from under the canopy of a tree somewhere above everyone
along the slopes of the island. It was gone before I could identify it; however, its head shape was a
give-away for an owl.

Along the trail I could hear rapid tapping on some tree branch that certainly must have come from a
woodpecker; unfortunately I could not reach the spot though the thickets. I, however, spotted a
Lowland White-eye as I lost the woodpecker. Also, I spotted and heard what looked like a sunbird;
again after some minutes, I could not find it from under the thick thickets & it sounded similar but also
different from an olive-backed sunbird. The whole duration on the island, I could hear from all over
White-eared Brown Doves and Pompadour Green pigeons.

As we left the island, a handful of White-collared Kingfishers showed themselves from different spots
on the island. The island, we were later told, was Celeste Island. It was so clean we did not see even a
single cigarette but or candy wrapper anywhere around. Except for the trail, it could have been easily
thought of as literally untouched.

As we went beyond Quezon Island onto more uninhabited islands, we again saw over us Philippine
ducks, one at a time, more Asian glossy starlings, more pompadour green pigeons, and more terns.

Finally, somewhere some island, over waters several meters away from the island walls, we saw seven
ducks floating and feeding on some items from underneath the waters. We went as close as about 25
meters away from them before they flew away.

Closeby, the boatmen took everyone to an island full of terns with chicks in so many of the nooks and
crannies. The terns certainly did not like the boat coming close and there was much raucous noise from
terns flying close over our heads. We went as close as about 5 meters away from the nooks and
crannies. In the excitement, I forgot to click away with my camera until we were already a bit farther
away from it all. The birds were later identified through the photos to be Roseate and Black-naped
Terns.

Onto another island, the highlight of the day, I am left with only a couple of shot left with my film
camera. The next island was a story on its own.

The last island was so full of birds; about every two to five meters away from every spot was some bird
of some sort. Immediately I spotted Purple Herons probably nesting as can be seen from the position
of the birds, Rufous Night-herons and Black-crowned Night-herons. There were other smaller birds
but everyone's attention was on the big birds.

I tried to take photographs with my digiscoping set-up but the boat was so rocky from the waves, it was
no use. I took photographs with my last shots of film camera but forgot to fix the settings in the
excitement. There must have been over a hundred of the night herons.

The last stop was an island full of fruit bats ; very large fruit bats. It was not possible to use my
digiscoping set-up and I had no more shots left with my film camera.

In all, the duration of the trip was a little under three hours. It had involved a very pleasant ride the
whole time with surprisingly very clean beaches and trails with no hint of any form of garbage at all.
Proof of cleanliness, except for a handful, no Eurasian tree sparrows on the islands.

Later in the day, near the town hall, we spotted more Asian Glossy Starlings and one Common Emerald
Dove.

On the way to Manila, just outside the town, I saw Cattle Egrets, Crested Mynahs and more White-
breasted Wood-swallows.

Bird List:

Purple Heron - 4
Egret sp - 2, possibly Little Egret
Little Heron - 1
Cattle Egret - 5, outside town
Black-crowned Night-heron - common, nesting
Rufous Night-heron - common, nesting
Duck sp - 7
Brahminy Kite - 3
Black-naped Tern - common
Roseate Tern - common
Pompadour Green-pigeon - 8
White-eared Brown Dove - 2, heard more
Common Emerald-dove - 1, near Town Hall
Cuckoo sp - 1
Owl sp - 1
Glossy Swiftlet - 10
White-collared Kingfisher - 4
Woodpecker sp - heard only
Pacific Swallow - common
Pied Triller - 2
Yellow-vented Bulbul - common
Philippine Bulbul - 3
Oriental Magpie Robin - 5
Golden-bellied Flyeater - 4
Blue-headed Fantail - 1
Pied Fantail - 2, heard more
White-breasted Wood-swallow - 10
Asian Glossy Starling - common
Crested Mynah - 2, outside town
Olive-backed Sunbird - 2
Sunbird      sp - 1
Lowland White-eye - 1, heard more
Eurasian Tree Sparrow - common
Scaly-breasted Munia - 4

				
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