Philippines - 4 - 26 April 2008

Participants: Andy Bunting, Richard Fairbank, Nick Preston, Gerry Price, Graham Thurlow, Jon Hornbuckle

I arranged and led a 3 week budget tour of the Philippines for friends. The late timing in April was chosen to include the Easter school holiday and avoid overlap with the many other groups visiting the country this year. It was beneficial in being a relatively dry time and enabling us to view nesting rarities, notably Phil Dwarf-Kingfisher and Wattled Broadbill, but was a poor time for some birds such as owls and Bukidnon Woodcock which had stopped roding at the main site. We saw an impressive list of birds between us, although some of the birds were only seen by 1 or 2 of us. Notable highlights included good views for all of Palawan Peacock-Pheasant, Phil Dwarf-Kingfisher and Mindanao Wattled Broadbill at the nest, adult male Pied Harrier and Little Curlew, while some saw 4 species of pitta, Benguet Bush-warbler, Gray’s Grasshopper-warbler and male Blue-and-white Flycatcher and kampalili Flame-crowned Flowerpecker.


Most birders go on organised tours to the Phils, BirdtourAsia are especially recommended, or ask Tim Fisher to organise tours for them, a sensible strategy as the logistics are tricky to put in place unless you have plenty of time or good contacts. I have visited the country many times and so am able to arrange tours myself, liaising with Tim to avoid overlap - this was the first private tour I have done.

The logistics worked well except that the hotel reservation in Pto Princesa was cancelled without telling me, because the Asian Games were being held in Palawan at that time and all hotels fully booked. Fortunately, a good contact was able to find us an excellent part-time guesthouse. We found that security at the Paper Country Inn at Bislig was inadequate - one of the group had his spare bins stolen from his bag in the room and the management refused to accept any responsibility. We then heard that there were reports of a few other less valuable items "disappearing" in previous months.

The itinerary worked well but in retrospect I would drop 1 day off Mt Kitanglad and visit Subic Bay or Cebu, preferably both, and add a day to Hamut and Mt Polis if extra days could be accommodated. There are other islands and sites that are worth visiting for additional species, notably Mindoro, Bohol, Negros, Panay and southern Mindanao, all of which I have birded at least twice.

The success of the trip was greatly assisted by help from Tim Fisher, Rob Hutchinson, Mads Bajarias, Irma Boncodin, Mahleen, Gabby, Felix, Zardo, and Carlito and Aquilino and their families.

Jonhornbuckle at


05-Apr Arrive Manila late afternoon, drive to Los Banos. Night at Trees.
06-Apr All day birding on Mt Makiling.
07-Apr Early Morning on Mt Makiling, drive to Manila, fly to Tuguegarao, 1240-1330. Shop for supplies, drive to Baliwag, walk to camp 1, last part in dark.
08-Apr Walk to Hamut. Camp 2
09-Apr Full day on Hamut. Camp 2.
10-Apr Walk slowly down from Camp 2 to Camp 1.
11-Apr Morning walk to Baliwag, drive to Banaue. Banaue View Hotel.
12-Apr Early drive to Mt Polis, morning birding on Polis and at Bay-yo. Pm drive to Manila. Ermita Tourist Inn.
13-Apr 0800-0900 flight to Pto Princesa; drive to Sabang; owling at Lion’s Cave. Taraw Lodge.
14-Apr Wet morning at St Pauls NP, even wetter pm at Sabang. Taraw Lodge
15-Apr Morning St Pauls NP, afternoon back to Pto Princesa, night at guest house.
16-Apr Early morning Balsahan trail, Iwahig, 1100-1210 fly to Manila, 1400-1540 fly to Davao, drive to Bislig. Paper Country Inn.
17-Apr PICOP till late afternoon, drive to Bislig airport, staying till dark.
18-Apr PICOP all day (road 42).
19-Apr Morning at PICOP, farewell to NP; late afternoon to Bislig airport.
20-Apr Early birding at PICOP, drive to Malaybalay for overnight stay at Haus Malibu.
21-Apr Shop for supplies, drive to Dalwangan, drive and walk up Mt Kitanglad; pm birding. Del Monte Lodge.
22-24 Apr Full days birding on Mt Kitanglad
25-Apr Walk and drive down to Dalwangan, drive to Cagayan de Oro, evening flight to Manila.
26-Apr Morning visit to American Cemetery for AB and RF. Fly home.

We assembled at Manila airport in the afternoon of April 5 and drove to Mount Makiling, which should have been no more than a 2 hour drive but took over 4 hours, including a supper stop at Pancake House, due to unusually heavy traffic. After a welcome sleep at Trees lodge, we started birding at 5 and soon had a Phil Hawk-Owl in sight – a good start as this can be a tricky bird to see. After this the forest seemed quiet but, assisted by local birder Mads, we slowly accumulated a good selection of species during the morning, with Black-chinned Fruit-Dove, Scale-feathered and Red-crested Malkohas, Phil Trogon, Phil Coucal, Stripe-headed Rhabdornis, White-browed Shama, 3 flowerpeckers, 2 sunbirds and a few Chinese Goshawks. Returning to Trees at 2 pm, we drove down to Los Banos for brunch then checked the river for Indigo-banded Kingfisher – no luck so we tried the Botanical Gardens and soon succeeded there. It was then time to go to the University campus to look for buttonquails. A surprise was the sound of a Hooded Pitta calling from a small forest island in the grassland, and this beauty was soon added to the list. The buttonquails were unusually cooperative – we saw at least 5 Spotted and heard them calling, and saw 3 Barred, as well as 2 Long-tailed Shrikes and 10 Striated Grassbirds. After supper at Pizzahut and shopping for supplies for our camping trip at Hamut, we returned to Trees.

Another early start was rewarded by a Phil Scops-Owl, initially spotted by RF, and then Red-bellied Pitta, Spotted Wood-Kingfisher and Pechora Pipit for some. We all had good views of a single Tarictic Hornbill, Chinese Goshawk and Phil Serpent-Eagle before it was time to depart for Manila airport at 9 am. We arrived at 11, after the first of many future stops at Jollibee, well in time for our flight to Tuguegarao in North Luzon. Here we were met by Aquilino, with wife and daughter in their jeepney. After shopping for food, we drove to their house in Baliwag and agreed to take 11 porters for the 5 day expedition to Hamut Camp. Jurgen Dewolf, a very keen Belgian birder, also joined us. We finally left at 5 pm for the 2h 30m trek to Camp 1 - the spectacular displays of Savanna Nightjars at dusk were notable. Amazingly, the next 4 nights of camping were dry – a lucky break compared to Tim Fisher’s earlier BirdQuest tour which had continuous heavy rain throughout! The following morning we birded remnant forest near the campsite till 9. The highlight was a sighting of Whiskered Pitta for RF, NP and Jurgen; other birds seen included Rufous Coucal, Luzon Striped-Babbler and Golden-headed Babbler. We then walked to Camp 2, which was rather tough going in the heat of the day, arriving about 3.30. Birds on the way included Yellow-breasted Fruit-dove, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Rufous and Tarictic Hornbills, Blackish Cuckooshrike, Phil Fairy Bluebird , Blue-headed Fantail and Yellowish White-eye. Omelette, rice and noodle soup were prepared on our arrival.

The one full day based at Camp 2, spent mainly along the ridge, was rather disappointing as only 1 pitta called, invisibly. Yellow-bellied Whistler, Lemon-throated Warbler, Flaming Sunbird and Olive-backed Flowerpecker were new for the group, while AB had Flame-breasted Fruit-dove and RF saw Luzon Bleedingheart. The hot, dry weather was not helping our search. The next morning a Blue-breasted Flycatcher was found to be nesting near the camp, a Grand Rhabdornis seen near the ridge view-point and RF saw the rare Blue-and-white Flycatcher along the ridge. We split up on the way down to Camp 1: GP saw 3 Luzon Racquet-tails, unusually low; RF and NP had another Whiskered Pitta sighting while with Aquilino; NP a Furtive Flycatcher and GP saw 2 Cream-breasted Fruit-Dove. AB and JH missed the turn-off to Camp 1 so walked an extra 2 km before finding the route after calling Rob Hutchinson on Palawan by mobile phone! GP saw a Phil Scops at dusk and others had Great Eared Nightjar.

We birded near Camp 2 again for 3 hours in the morning. This time there was no response from the pitta but Barred Honeybuzzard, Ashy Woodpecker and Blue-breasted Flycatcher were seen by some. Then we walked down to Baliwag, a physically draining trek in the very hot conditions – a record 39 degrees in Tuguegarao! The highlight was a magnificent male Pied Harrier that eventually flew overhead while quartering the extensive grassland. It flushed another male. We finally staggered into Aquilino’s house at 1 pm and rehydrated with many litres of water, then drove in his jeepney to Tuguegarao where Gabby was waiting to take us to Banaue. Leaving at 3 pm, we reached the plush Banaue View Hotel at 10 pm, with an obligatory Jollibee stop on the way, in time for a well-deserved beer or 3.

After a hearty breakfast, we reached the Mt Polis pass at 6.15 on a beautiful morning. A major passage of swiftlets soon started, the majority appearing so large that we were convinced they were the rarely identified Whitehead’s, although Island Swiftlet A vanikorensis was later proposed as more likely – the jury is still out on the photos! There were no such doubts about the single Purple Needletail that jetted over with them at hair-parting height. Taking the trail a little higher up the mountain gave most of the highland specialities here: Island Thrush, Chestnut-faced Babbler, Mountain Verditer and Little Pied Flycatchers, Green-backed Whistler, Luzon Bush-Warbler and a female Flame-crowned Flowerpecker for some. Long-tailed Ground-Warblers called invisibly and even a distant Whiskered Pitta joined in but there was no sign of the hoped-for Mountain Shrike. We drove down to the village of Bay-yo where the rice-terraces were spectacular. The Luzon Water-Redstart took a little finding and only a female was in evidence, and a Benguet Bush-Warbler, normally an arch-skulker, responded to play-back for some of us, popping up and flying across the track. After a brief roadside stop we reluctantly returned to the hotel, and left at one for the long, slow drive to Manila. We arrived at 10.30, with only one food stop, checked into the hotel and ate at a nearby middle-eastern restaurant where we joined by Rob Hutchinson for a few beers.

After a short night, we were at the airport for the 8 am flight to Palawan. On arrival at Puerto Princesa we took a van to Sabang, the gateway to St Paul’s National Park. Our first stop was at nearby Garceliano Beach where we found the target Chinese Egrets after a bit of a search, not helped by it being high tide. Then after an early lunch at a nice new restaurant by the main road, we continued to Sabang, stopping for some good birds, notably Blue-headed Racquet-tail, Yellow-throated Leafbird, Blue Paradise-Flycatcher and Palawan Flowerpecker. The track to our guest-house was water-logged but the van just made it. We returned to the road to visit Frontier Resort to collect the St Paul’s NP permit for the morrow and then visited Lion’s Cave at dusk to look for Palawan Scops and Frogmouth. Both birds called very close to the track but from such thick cover that, try as we might, we could not see them, and so vowed to return the next night. After an early breakfast we took a banca along the coast to St Paul’s. The famous habituated Palawan Peacock-Pheasant performed well, a splendid sight, and an endemic White-vented Shama was equally obliging. The other two targets, Ruddy Kingfisher and Tabon Scrubfowl, were much less helpful, with the former only spotted in flight by GP. By then it had started raining heavily and this continued for the rest of the day. We sheltered at first, watching the huge sluggish monitor lizards Veranus salvator, then elected to walk back on the Monkey Trail. The only notable birds were Asian Fairy Bluebird and a flock of Blue-headed Racquet-tail, until we reached the sandy shore where a pair of Malaysian Plover was a welcome sight. The wooden bridge across the river had been washed away so we had to cross in a small boat, finally reaching the guest-house at 2 pm, thoroughly soaked. News was that the main road was deeply flooded so we had to scrap plans to return to the Lions Cave track at dusk and pre-dawn.

It was still raining in the morning, negating a final attempt for the Lion’s Cave nightbirds, but eventually stopped so we were able to go to Frontier Resort and spend two hours on trails near there. Highlights were Blue-naped Parrot, Thick-billed Pigeon, Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, Black-headed Bulbul and Shelley’s Sunbird. We slowly made our way back to Pto Princesa. The first of several good stops was at a small bridge over a stream with a sizeable gorge where we saw Ashy-headed Babbler, then walked in the forest along the stream and flushed a female Palawan Blue-Flycatcher from a nest in the top of a 1.5m high tree stump. The nest contained 3 eggs, unusual as tropical passerines normally lay 2, and appears to be undescribed. Meanwhile, back on the road GP and GT saw a single Phil Cockatoo – a very good sighting as nowadays it is usually only seen at Rasa Island. The next stop was at a steep hill through tall mature trees – here we saw Palawan Hornbills, White-bellied Woodpecker, Common and Greater Flamebacks and Olive-winged Bulbul, while GP had a male Palawan Blue-Flycatcher. A Rockjumper tour group was encountered here, led by the indefatigable Tim Fisher, the only other birders we met during the trip. A brief stop was made to check a wader in a damp field, which turned out to be a rare Little Curlew, possibly only the second record for Palawan. The next stop, in good forest, gave Fiery Minivet, Palawan Tit and Sulphur-bellied Bulbul. The last stop of note was at the deserted house on the brow of a hill just before Buenavista. Taking the track down to the mangroves gave Copper-throated and Purple-throated Sunbirds. We finally reached the guesthouse, 2 km out of PP, and enjoyed a sumptuous meal including jumbo prawns, sweet and sour tilapia and mangoes.

Next morning saw us on the Balsahan Trail, Iwahig prison colony at 6 am with Danny as driver and guide. We located Melodious Babbler and Falcated Ground-babbler, the main targets, with difficulty, but failed to find Palawan Flycatcher. Considering the day lost to rain, we had done pretty well on Palawan. On driving out of the prison, Danny announced that the van had lost all its oil and so we would have to await a replacement vehicle. This seemed to take forever to come, the only consolation being that AB spotted a Long-toed Stint in breeding plumage. We were able to dash to the airport at 10.15 for the 11.00 flight to Manila, where we arrived on time at 1 pm. Unfortunately, our 2 pm flight to Davao was delayed until 5 pm. We were met by Rudy and driven to Bislig, with the obligatory stop at Jollibee, reaching the Paper County Inn at 12.15! We postponed breakfast till 4.30 and left with Zardo for PICOP at 5.0, driving to the quarry area, with a stop for open country birds such as Naked-faced Spiderhunter, Phil Leafbird and Black-and-white Triller. The first major target, Little Slaty Flycatcher, was unusually obliging, then we spent the rest of the morning in forest looking for flocks. The only one encountered contained Rusty-crowned Babbler, Rufous-tailed Jungle-Flycatcher, Blue Fantail and Short-crested Monarch; a beautiful Steere’s Pitta was taped in and the few other birds seen included Amethyst Dove, Yellowish and Yellow-wattled Bulbuls, and Brown Tit-babbler. After a siesta in the jeepney, in the rain, we drove to the Silvery Kingfisher site. There was no sign of the bird at first but then it suddenly appeared and gave good views. We moved on to an area of open forest and saw Writhed Hornbill, Black-faced Coucal and Coleto. Then we left PICOP for a very successful 2 hours at Bislig airport: Lesser Frigatebird, Black, Cinnamon and Yellow Bitterns, Phil Duck, Watercock, White-browed Crake, Blue-breasted Quail, Oriental Pratincole, Pintail/Swinhoe's Snipe and Painted Snipe, with a distant Grass Owl late on.

The next day we left at 4 am with an egg and bacon sandwich breakfast but arrival at the main owl site was too late at 5.15 – Chocolate Boobook was the only bird calling and could not be seen. Rufous-lored Kingfisher was elusive, only observed by NP and RF, but two mega birds were seen by all in the forest at Road 42: Phil Dwarf -Kingfisher with food and a female Wattled Broadbill. The Kingfisher appeared to be nesting in a bank 4m above the ground. Rufous Paradise-Flycatcher, Streaked Ground-Babbler, Pygmy Babbler and Everett’s White-eye were also here but no Celestial Monarch. We spent the afternoon in an open area, seeing Phil Needletail, Phil Falconet, Blue-crowned Racquet-tail and Phil Oriole, then at dusk tried for Phil Frogmouth – soon seen brilliantly. We returned to PCI for a well-earned supper, only for NP to find his spare bins had been stolen from his bag in the room, which necessitated an unwanted trip to the police-station. The following morning we left at 3.30 to look for owls but only Giant Scops was responsive, possibly because it was very damp due to heavy rain in the night, and we could not see it. Good views were had of perched-up Mindanao Tarictic, Rufous-lored Kingfisher and a pair of Wattled Broadbills nest-building some 10m up in the canopy on the Quarry trail. Nick had to leave to return home to school-teaching but little else of note was seen except Red-bellied Pitta and 2 Gray’s Groppers that flew out of a patch of scrub calling loudly, a most unusual sighting of this scarce winter/passage visitor. Rain started and we returned to the PCI for an American breakfast brunch, stopping to scan the shore for waders. Later when it had stopped we returned to Bislig airport, and found stints and plovers roosting on the tarmac (it was high tide on the coast). The Kentish Plovers appeared to prefer standing on the white line running along the middle of the runway, while the Red-necked Stints were mostly on the grey tarmac; only one of the 19 stints was in full breeding plumage. Bird activity was much less this time but we did have a much better view of Grass Owl at dusk.

After our last night at Bislig, AB and RF tried for owls again but the only sighting was a fly-past Phil Scops for AB, and later our only male Short-crested Monarch. They had hoped to re-visit Road 42 to look for Celestial Monarch but the driver said there was not enough fuel to go that far, a bit of a bummer. We all met up at PICOP entrance at 9 am and drove to Davao; after a lunch stop we continued a further 172 km to Malaybalay in Bukidnon. This took longer than expected as several stops were needed to cool the engine down with water. We finally reached the up-market Haus Malibu at 7 pm and partook of a fine fish and chip supper, followed by a meeting with a DENR official to pay for the Mt Kitanglad permit and chicken-sacrifice ceremony, to ensure all went well on our trip up the mountain!

After shopping for supplies for our final “camping” trip, we hired a small vehicle for the 20 min journey to Dalwangan where we met Carlito, his wife and 3 of his daughters. A pick-up took us on a new road up the mountain, most of the way to Del Monte Lodge. I was in the front and was amazed to hear that RF and GT in the back had seen what they were sure was a male Hen Harrier, a bird they didn’t realise was unrecorded in the Phils! The lodge had been improved considerably since my last visit 2 years earlier and was now well-equipped with gas-cooker, good lighting, bedding, cutlery and crockery. At noon we had a hot hike up to the eagle view-point with Carlito and his assistant Danny. A flock included Black-and-cinnamon Fantail, Cinnamon Ibon, Rufous-headed Tailorbird and Olive-capped Flowerpecker. There were no eagles at the view-point but a close Grass Owl was flushed and Apo Myna and McGregor’s Cuckooshrike seen. It rained from 3 till 5 so we walked back down, spending some time watching Red-eared Parrotfinches feeding in flowering bushes. As the skies cleared, we were hopeful of owls and woodcock but the only activity was by Philippine and Great Eared Nightjars.

We were well looked after by Carlito’s family during the 3 full days we spent on Mt Kitanglad. We saw most of the specialities including Plain Bush-hen, Mindanao Racket-tail, Stripe-breasted Rhabdornis, Grey-hooded and Apo Sunbirds, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker and Black-masked White-eye, along with a few migrants such as Oriental Cuckoo and Mugimaki Flycatcher. A pair of Streaked Ground-Babbler was an unusual sighting here; Long-tailed Ground-warblers were frequently heard but only seen briefly on 2 occasions; Mountain Shrike and a fine male Flame-crowned Flowerpecker only made single appearances for some, and the distinctive and rarely seen katanglad form of Island Thrush was only spotted by RF. Time and effort looking for Phil Eagle, Bukidnon Woodcock, Blue-capped Kingfisher and owls was poorly rewarded, with the Kingfisher, Bogobo Babbler and White-cheeked Bullfinch only heard, once. Oriental Honey-buzzards were common and an imm Rufous-bellied Eagle seen several times but the big boy was only spotted on the first full day, perched a long way off although later most of the group were treated to a much closer fly-past. Owls only called occasionally and seemed unresponsive, probably not helped by rain on most nights. The Woodcock did not rode at all near the lodge, a phenomenon noted before in April/ May, but on our last day a local farmer said it was still active higher up the mountain so we waited there at dusk. Its distinctive call was not heard until we were about to leave as the light had gone. It came in so low that we could not see it but Carlito continued to imitate the call and it suddenly flew straight towards us calling loudly, nearly hitting us but was only glimpsed by some. RF returned before dawn the following morning but had no luck.

We spent the rest of the last morning trying to catch up on birds we had missed – a few good sightings such as Red-eared Parrotfinch but nothing new. After an early lunch, we went down to Dalwangan and rented a mini-jeepney to take us to Cagayan de Oro airport for the 5 pm flight to Manila. We decided to abort the planned trip to Subic Bay the following morning to avoid any risk of missing the evening’s international flights, then discovered finding suitable accommodation in Manila at short notice on a Friday evening was not easy. AB and RF visited the American Cemetery (now open at 9 – 5 only) and caught up with Lowland White-eye and Barred Rail. I stayed on a few days longer and had the opportunity to visit Candaba Swamp with Tim Fisher. Here Phil Round was mist-netting for Streaked Reed-Warbler, seen a few days earlier by Rob Hutchinson et al., the first record in the Phils for some years. There was no sign of the Streaked R-W but I had the good fortune to extract a Black-browed Reed-Warbler from a net, a new record for the country and fine way to end a most enjoyable trip!

Species Lists

Lesser Frigatebird 1 over Bislig airport on 17th.
Grey Heron 1 when travelling in N Luzon on 11th
Purple Heron 1 over Bislig airport on 17th and 2 on 19th.
Great Egret A few
Eastern Reef-Egret 2 at St Paul’s NP on 14th.
Intermediate Egret Several
Chinese Egret 4 at Puerto Princesa on 13th.
Little Egret 15 at Puerto Princesa on 13th and a few elsewhere.
Striated Heron 1 at Puerto Princesa on 13th
Cattle Egret Common in suitable habitat.
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1 in flight at Manila on 25th, 22 in American Cemetery on 26th.
Yellow Bittern 1 at Bislig airport on 17th and 3 on 19th.
Cinnamon Bittern 2 at Bislig airport on 17th.
Black Bittern At least 4 at Bislig airport on 17th and 19th.
Wandering Whistling-Duck 20-30 at Bislig airport on 17th and 19th.
Philippine Duck 6-8 at Bislig airport on 17th and 19th.
Osprey 1 at St Paul’s NP on 14th.
Oriental Honeybuzzard At least 1 at Hamut and up to 3 daily at Kitanglad.
Barred Honeybuzzard 1 at Hamut on 11th.
Brahminy Kite Only 1 at Mt Makiling, on 7th.
White-bellied Sea-Eagle 2 at St Paul’s NP on 14th.
Hen Harrier An adult male hunting over farmland on the way up to Mt Kitanglad on 21st.
Pied Harrier An adult male and a sub-adult male hunting over grassland between Hamut and Baliwag on 11th.
Besra 1 at Hamut on 9th.
Chinese Goshawk 6 at Mt Makiling on 6th and 2 on 7th; an accip. en route to St Paul’s NP on 13th was thought to be this sp.
Crested Goshawk 1 at PICOP on 17th.
Philippine Serpent-Eagle 1 or 2 daily at Hamut and singles at PICOP and Kitanglad.
Philippine Eagle 1 perched distantly at Kitanglad for a long time on 22nd and 1 in flight later on the same day.
Rufous-bellied Eagle An immature at Kitanglad on 23rd and 24th.
Changeable Hawk-Eagle 1 at PICOP on18th and this or the next sp at Hamut at 9th
Philippine Hawk-Eagle Not identified for certain but singles possibly seen at Hamut and Kitanglad.
Philippine Falconet 4 at PICOP on 18th.
Peregrine Falcon Singles at Hamut on 10th and 11th.
Tabon Scrubfowl 1 at St Paul’s NP on 14th.
Red Junglefowl Heard daily at Hamut with singles seen on 9th and 10th.
Palawan Peacock-Pheasant The regular male gave excellent views at the Subterranean River Ranger Station at St Paul’s NP on 14th and later a female seen briefly on the walk out of the park.
Blue-breasted Quail 1 below Hamut on 11th, 3 at Bislig airport on 17th and 1 on 19th.
Barred Buttonquail 3 at Los Banos on 6th.
Spotted Buttonquail 5 at Los Banos on 6th.
Barred Rail 1 at American Cemetery, Manila
White-browed Crake 2 at Bislig airport on 17th and 19th.
Plain Bush-hen 2 at Kitanglad on 22nd, heard other days there and at Los Banos and below Hamut.
White-breasted Waterhen 1 at Los Banos on 6th.
Watercock 8 at Bislig airport on 17th and 2 on 19th.
Greater Painted-snipe At least 2 at Bislig airport on 17th.
Little Ringed-Plover 1 at the quarry at PICOP on 17th
Kentish Plover 2 on the coast and 6 at Bislig airport on 19th favoured sitting on the white runway lines.
Malaysian Plover A pair at St Paul’s NP on 14th.
Lesser Sand-Plover 4 at Bislig airport on 19th.
Little Curlew 1 in a field between Sabang and Pto Princesa on 15th.
Common Greenshank 1 at Iwahig on 16th.
Wood Sandpiper 1 at Bay-yo on 12th and 8 at Iwahig on 16th.
Common Sandpiper Up to 4 daily on Palawan, 1 at Bay-yo on 12th and 1 at Bislig airport on 19th.
Pintail/Swinhoe's Snipe 3 at Bislig airport on 17th.
Bukidnon Woodcock 1 roding on Kitanglad on 24th.
Sanderling 8 on the coast at Bislig on 19th.
Rufous-necked Stint 3 on the coast at Bislig and 16 at the airport on 19th.
Long-toed Stint 1 at Iwahig on 16th.
Oriental Pratincole 1 at Iwahig on 16th, 6 at Bislig airport on 17th.
Black-winged Stilt 1 at Iwahig on 16th.
Whiskered Tern Common at Manila Bay and a few at Bislig.
Thick-billed Green-Pigeon 2 Sabang – Pto Princesa on 15th.
Pompadour Green-Pigeon 8 at PICOP on 17th and 4 on 18th.
Pink-necked Green-Pigeon At least 1 Pto Princesa – Sabang on 13th, 2-3 daily at PICOP.
White-eared Brown-Dove Up to 4 daily at Makiling and Hamut, 2 daily at PICOP and 3 at Kitanglad on 23rd.
Amethyst Brown-Dove 2 at PICOP on 17th.
Flame-breasted Fruit-Dove Singles at Hamut on 7th and 9th (AB) and 1 on 10th (NP).
Cream-bellied Fruit-Dove 2 at Hamut on 10th (GP) with others heard there.
Yellow-breasted Fruit-Dove 2 at Hamut on 8th and 10th.and 1 or 2 daily at Kitanglad.
Black-chinned Fruit-Dove 2 at Makiling on 6th.
Pink-bellied Imperial-Pigeon Heard at PICOP on 20th.
Green Imperial-Pigeon Up to 8 daily on Palawan and 3-5 daily at PICOP.
Philippine Cuckoo-Dove A few at Hamut, PICOP and Kitanglad.
Spotted Dove Fairly common in the lowlands.
Zebra Dove 1 or 2 at Los Banos and Bislig, up to 3 daily on Palawan.
Emerald Dove Up to 3 daily on Palawan and 1 at PICOP.
Luzon Bleeding-heart 3 singles at Hamut.
Ring-necked Parakeet 1 at American Cemetery, Manila
Guaiabero 2 at Makiling, 1 at Hamut on 10th and up to 3 daily at PICOP.
Philippine Cockatoo 1 Sabang – Pto Princesa on 15th (GP,GT).
Blue-naped Parrot 4 at Sabang on 15th.
Blue-headed Racquet-tail 1 at Sabang on 13th and 20 St Paul’s NP on 14th.
Blue-crowned Racquet-tail 2 at PICOP on 18th.
Montane Racquet-tail 3 at Hamut (GP).
Mindanao Racquet-tail Up to 5 on 3 days at Kitanglad.
Colasisi 2 at Makiling on 6th, up to 8 daily at Hamut and fairly common at Kitanglad.
Philippine Hawk-Cuckoo Frequently heard but only singles seen at PICOP and Kitanglad.
Oriental Cuckoo Singles at Kitanglad on 23rd and 25th.
Plaintive Cuckoo Singles daily at PICOP.
Brush/Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Singles at Hamut on 9th and Kitanglad, where heard daily, on 24th.
Asian Drongo-Cuckoo 1 on Palawan on 13th and 2 on 15th.
Philippine Drongo-Cucoo 2 at PICOP on 18th.
Common Koel 2 at PICOP on 17th and 1 on 18th.
Scale-feathered Malkoha 2 at Makiling on 6th, 2 at Hamut on 9th and 1 on 10th.
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha 2 at St Paul’s NP and Sabang – Pto Princesa, 1 at Iwahig on 16th.
Red-crested Malkoha 4 at Makiling on 6th, 1 at Hamut on 10th and 2 on 11th.
Lesser Coucal Singles at Hamut on 8th and PICOP on 18th.
Philippine Coucal Small numbers throughout.
Black-faced Coucal 2 singles at PICOP.
Rufous Coucal 2 at Hamut on 8th.
Grass Owl 1 or 2 at Bislig airport on 17th and 1 on 19th, 1 flushed at Kitanglad on 21st.
Mindanao Scops-Owl 1 heard at Kitanglad on 22nd.
Palawan Scops-Owl 1 heard at Lion’s Cave trail on 13th.
Philippine Scops-Owl Singles at TREES (Makiling) on 7th, Hamut on 10th and PICOP on 20th (AB).
Giant Scops-Owl 1 heard at PICOP on 19th and heard most days at Kitanglad.
Chocolate Hawk-Owl 1 heard at PICOP on 18-19th.
Philippine Hawk-Owl At least 1 at TREES (Makiling), heard at Hamut and Kitanglad
Philippine Frogmouth 1 at PICOP on 18th, heard at Kitanglad.
Palawan Frogmouth 1 heard at Lion’s Cave trail on 13th.
Great Eared-Nightjar Singles at Hamut on 8-9th and at Kitanglad on 21st – 23rd.
Large-tailed Nightjar Heard on Palawan on 15th.
Philippine Nightjar 1 or 2 daily at PICOP and Kitanglad and 5 roosting in American Cemetery, Manila on 26th.
Savanna Nightjar 6 on trek to camp 1 at Hamut.
Whitehead's Swiftlet At least 100 large swiftlets flew over the pass at Mt Polis early on 12th. We thought they were this species but as yet cannot rule out C. vanikorensis although this is predominantly a lowland bird.
Grey/Island Swiftlet Common at Bislig, PICOP and Manila.
Palawan Swiftlet Fairly common on Palawan.
Philippine Swiftlet At least 1 at Hamut on 9th and a few at Kitanglad.
Glossy Swiftlet Common at Makiling, St Paul’s NP and Kitanglad, and a few at Pto Princesa and Mt Polis.
Pygmy Swiftlet Common at Hamut, 3 on Palawan on 15th, and up to 20 daily at PICOP.
Philippine Needletail 2 at PICOP on 18th.
Purple Needletail 1 at Mt Polis on 12th.
Philippine Trogon A pair at Makiling, 1 at Hamut on 8th and PICOP on 17th with 3 on 18th, and heard at Kitanglad.
Dollarbird 2 on Palawan on 13th with 5 on 15th, and 1 at Picop on 18th.
Common Kingfisher 1 on Palawan on 15th.
Indigo-banded Kingfisher 2 at Los Banos botanical gardens.
Silvery Kingfisher 1 at PICOP on 17th.
Philippine Dwarf-Kingfisher 2 at Road 42, PICOP on 18th.
Stork-billed Kingfisher 1 at Iwahig on 16th.
Ruddy Kingfisher 1 at St Paul’s NP on 14th (GP).
White-throated Kingfisher 2 at Makiling, 1 at Bay-yo and 2-3 at PICOP.
Rufous-lored Kingfisher Singles at PICOP on 18th and 19th.
White-collared Kingfisher 2-3 on Palawan on 3 days, 2 at PICOP on 18th and 4 PICOP-Malaybalay on 20th, 1 at Kitanglad on 25th and 4 in American Cemetery, Manila on 26th.
Spotted Wood-Kingfisher Singles at Makiling on 7th and 8-9th at Hamut where heard daily.
Blue-capped Wood-Kingfisher Only heard briefly at 1 site on Kitanglad on 23rd.
Blue-throated Bee-eater Up to 10+ daily at and below Hamut.
Blue-tailed Bee-eater Fairly common at Los Banos/Makiling and 15 Baliwag – Banaue on 11th.
Tarictic Hornbill Up to 3 on 3 days at Hamut.
Mindanao Tarictic 5 at PICOP on 19th and 2 at Kitanglad, where heard on 24-25th, on 21st.
Writhed Hornbill A pair at PICOP on 17th.
Palawan Hornbill 6 Sabang – Pto Princesa on 15th.
Rufous Hornbill Up to 10 daily at Hamut and 2 at PICOP on 18th.
Coppersmith Barbet 1 or 2 most days at Makiling, Hamut and PICOP.
Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker 1 or 2 on 3 days at Hamut and Kitanglad, and heard at Makiling.
Sooty Woodpecker 1 near camp 1 at Hamut on 11th
White-bellied Woodpecker 2 on Palawan on 15th and PICOP on 18th with 1 there on 20th.
Greater Flameback 4 on Palawan on 15th, 3 at PICOP on 18th and 1 on 20th; heard at Kitanglad on 24th.
Common Flameback 1 at Hamut on 8th and 2 on Palawan on 15th.
Mindanao Wattled Broadbill A female on road 42 at PICOP on 18th and a pair nest-building on the Quarry Trail at PICOP on 19th. Red-bellied Pitta Singles at Makiling on 7th and PICOP on 19th, with others heard.
Whiskered Pitta Heard daily at Hamut but singles only seen on 8th and 10th by RF and NP; 1 heard at Mt Polis.
Hooded Pitta 1 at Los Banos on 6th, 1 at St Paul’s NP on 14th (RF) and 3 at Iwahig on 16th; heard at PICOP on 17th.
Steere's Pitta Singles at PICOP on 17-19th.
Barn Swallow A few Baliwag – Benaue and singles on Palawan on 13th and 15th.
Pacific Swallow Fairly common throughout except on Polis and Kitanglad.
Striated Swallow 6 at Los Banos on 6th and 2 at Hamut on 9th and Polis on 12th.
Oriental Skylark 3 below Hamut on 11th.
Bar-bellied Cuckoo-shrike 4 at Hamut on 7th, 1 on 9th, 4 on Palawan on 15th and 1 at PICOP on 19th.
Blackish Cuckoo-shrike 6 at Hamut on 8th.
Black-bibbed Cuckoo-shrike 2 at PICOP on 18th.
McGregor's Cuckoo-shrike 1 or 2 on 3 days at Kitanglad with 8 there on 23rd.
Black-and-white Triller 2 at PICOP on 17th.
Pied Triller 1 or 2 on Palawan, PICOP and Kitanglad.
Ashy Minivet 2 at Makiling on 6th.
Fiery Minivet 2 on Palawan on 15th.
Scarlet Minivet 2 at Hamut on 8th and 10th and 3 at PICOP on 17-18th.
Philippine Leafbird 1 at PICOP on 17th and heard on 19th.
Yellow-throated Leafbird 5 on Palawan on 13th and 15th with 1 at Iwahig on 16th.
Common Iora 2 on Palawan on 15th.
Black-headed Bulbul 4 on Palawan on 15th.
Yellow-vented Bulbul Fairly common throughout except at Hamut and Palawan.
Yellow-wattled Bulbul 1 or 2 at Makiling, Hamut and PICOP.
Olive-winged Bulbul 1 on Palawan on 15th.
Grey-cheeked Bulbul 2 or 3 daily on Palawan.
Sulphur-bellied Bulbul Singles on Palawan on 15thand at Iwahig on 16th.
Philippine Bulbul Common throughout except on Palawan.
Yellowish Bulbul 1 or 2 daily at PICOP.
Ashy Drongo 3 on Palawan on 13th and 4 on 15th.
Balicassiao 10 at Makiling and a few at Hamut.
Spangled Drongo 2 on Palawan on 13th, 5 on 15th and 2 at Iwahig on 16th; 1 or 2 most days at PICOP and Kitanglad.
Philippine Oriole 1 at PICOP on 18th and 3 on 20th.
Black-naped Oriole 2 below Hamut on 11th, 3 at PICOP on 17-18th and 1 at American Cemetery on 26th.
Philippine Fairy-Bluebird Fairly common at Hamut.
Asian Fairy-Bluebird 3 at St Paul’s NP on 14th and 2 at Iwahig on 16th.
Slender-billed Crow A few at Hamut on 7th, 3 on Palawan on 13th, 6 on 15th and 1 at Iwahig on 16th
Large-billed Crow Up to 3 daily at PICOP.
Palawan Tit 2 Sabang – Pto Princesa on 15th.
Elegant Tit Common at Hamut and Kitanglad; 1 at Mt Polis on 12th.
White-fronted Tit Heard at Hamut on 8th.
Sulphur-billed Nuthatch 2 at Makiling on 6th, up to 5 daily at Hamut and 4 daily at Kitanglad.
Stripe-headed/ Stripe-sided Rhabdornis 1 at Makiling on 6th, 4 at Hamut on 8-9th, with 1 on 10th, and 1 or 2at PICOP on 17-18th.
Grand/Long-billed Rhabdornis 1 on the ridge at Hamut on 10th.
Stripe-breasted Rhabdornis 4 at Kitanglad on 23rd and 1 on 24th.
Bagobo Babbler Heard briefly at Kitanglad on 24th.
Ashy-headed Babbler 3 Sabang – Pto Princesa on 15th.
Melodious Babbler At least 1 at Iwahig on 16th.
Falcated Ground-Babbler 1 seen and 1 heard at Iwahig on 16th.
Streaked Ground-Babbler 2 at PICOP on 18th and at Kitanglad on 24th.
Rabor's Wren-Babbler 1 heard at Hamut on 10th.
Pygmy Babbler 4 at PICOP on 18th.
Rusty-crowned Babbler 4 at PICOP on 17th and 3 on 18th.
Golden-crowned Babbler 2 at Hamut on 8th and 4 on 9th.
Chestnut-faced Babbler 4 at Polis on 12th.
Luzon Striped-Babbler 2 at Hamut on 9th and 1 on 10th.
Striped Tit-Babbler 2 or 3 daily on Palawan.
Brown Tit-Babbler 3 at PICOP on 17th, 6 on 18th and 2-3 daily at Kitanglad.
White-browed Shortwing Frequently heard at Kitanglad but only 1 seen on 21st and 22nd; also heard at Mt Polis.
Oriental Magpie-Robin 2 Hamut – Baliwag and 1 or 2 daily at Bislig/PICOP.
White-browed Shama 2 at Makiling on 6th and 1 on 7th; frequently heard at Hamut but only 2 seen on 10th.
White-vented Shama heard Pto Princesa-Sabang on 13th, 2 at St Paul’s NP on 14th and 1 Sabang – Pto Princesa on 15th; heard at Iwahig.
Luzon Water-Redstart A single female at Bay-yo on 12th.
Pied Bushchat A few on the treks to and from Hamut and around Mt Polis, 1 or 2 at PICOP and 1 below Kitanglad.
Eye-browed Thrush 1 at Hamut on 9th (GP).
Island Thrush 3 on Mt Polis and 1 of the rarely seen katanglad form on Kitanglad on 24th (RF).
Golden-bellied Flyeater A few at the American cemetery, Manila.
Arctic Warbler Singles at Hamut on 8th and at the American cemetery on 25th.
Philippine Leaf-Warbler 3 at Hamut on 8th and 2 at PICOP on 18th.
Lemon-throated Leaf-Warbler Singles at Hamut on 9th and 11th.
Mountain Leaf-Warbler 1 at Mt Polis and up to 4 daily at Kitanglad.
Clamorous Reed-Warbler 1 at Pto Princesa on 13th, 2 at Bislig airport on 17th with at least 1 on 19th.
Tawny Grassbird Up to 4 daily at Kitanglad.
Striated Grassbird 10 at Los Banos, common on trek to and from Hamut, 2 at Bislig airport on 17th with 3 on 19th.
Gray's Grasshopper-Warbler 2 seen quite well at PICOP on 19th – a rarely recorded bird in the Phils.
Philippine Tailorbird 2-4 daily at Hamut.
Rufous-fronted Tailorbird Heard at PICOP.
Grey-backed Tailorbird Only heard at Makiling.
Mountain Tailorbird At least 1 on Mt Polis.
Rufous-headed Tailorbird 2-3 daily at Kitanglad.
Rufous-tailed Tailorbird 2 at Pto Princesa on 13th and Sabang – Pto Princesa on 15th.
Black-headed Tailorbird 2 at PICOP on 17th and another 2 on 18th.
Bright-capped Cisticola 1 below Hamut on 11th and at Bislig airport on 17th with 5 on 19th.
Zitting Cisticola 2 at Bislig airport on 17th and 19th.
Luzon Bush-Warbler 2 at Mt Polis.
Benguet Bush-Warbler 1 at Bay-yo and at least 1 more singing there.
Long-tailed Ground-Warbler A few heard on Mt Polis and commonly heard on Kitanglad but only singles seen briefly on 24-25th (AB).
Rufous-tailed Jungle-Flycatcher Singles daily at PICOP.
Grey-streaked Flycatcher 2 at Makiling on 6th, up to 3 daily on Palawan, two singles at PICOP and 1 or 2 on Kitanglad.
Mountain Verditer-Flycatcher 2 on Mt Polis and 3-5 daily on Kitanglad.
Mugimaki Flycatcher 1 at Kitanglad on 24th (RF).
Little Slaty Flycatcher 1 at PICOP on 17th.
Furtive Flycatcher 1 at Hamut on 10th (NP).
Little Pied Flycatcher 2 on Mt Polis on 12th and 3 at Kitanglad on 21st and 22nd, with 1 on 23rd.
Blue-and-white Flycatcher 1 on the ridge at Hamut on 9th (RF) – a rare migrant.
Blue-breasted Flycatcher 2 females at Hamut on 10th with 2 males and 1 female on 11th.
Palawan Blue Flycatcher A female at a nest with 3 eggs Sabang – Pto Princesa, and a male elsewhere (GP) on 15th.
Citrine Canary-Flycatcher 2 at Hamut on 9th.
Pied Fantail 3 on Palawan on 13th and 3 at the American cemetery on 26th.
Blue Fantail Up to 8 daily at PICOP.
Blue-headed Fantail Common at Hamut.
Black-and-cinnamon Fantail Up to 6 daily at Kitanglad.
Rufous Paradise-Flycatcher 2 at PICOP on 18th and 1 on 20th.
Blue Paradise-Flycatcher 3 Pto Princesa – Sabang on 13th and heard on 15th.
Black-naped Monarch 2 at Makiling, up to 4 daily at Hamut and PICOP, and 1 or 2 at Kitanglad on 21st and 22nd.
Short-crested Monarch 1 or 2 on 3 days at PICOP.
Green-backed Whistler 2 at Mt Polis on 12th.
Yellow-bellied Whistler 1 or 2 at Hamut, PICOP and Kitanglad.
Grey Wagtail Small numbers throughout, with a max of 6 at PICOP on 19th.
Yellow Wagtail 10 on the trek to Camp 1, Hamut, up to 40 daily on Palawan, a few at PICOP, and 30-50 daily in fields and crops on Kitanglad, of both simillima and taivana forms and possibly others.
Paddyfield/ Oriental Pipit 1 at Los Banos, 3 on the trek to and from Hamut, and 2 at Bislig airport on 19th.
Olive-backed Pipit 2 at Bay-yo on 12th.
Pechora Pipit Singles at Makiling on 7th and Hamut on 8th.
White-breasted Wood-swallow Small numbers throughout except at Hamut and Polis.
Long-tailed Shrike 2 at Los Banos, 1 near Baliwag on 7th, up to 3 at Kitanglad.
Mountain Shrike 1 at Kitanglad on 23rd only.
Brown Shrike Widespread with 1 or 2 most days, a max of 6 at PICOP/Bislig airport on 17th and 12 at American Cemetery on 26th.
Short-tailed Glossy Starling 2 pairs at Kitanglad on 24th and 1 on 25th.
Asian Glossy Starling Fairly common on Palawan and at Bislig/PICOP.
Coleto 5-6 at PICOP on 17-18th and 2-4 at Kitanglad on 22-24th.
Crested Myna A few of this Introduced species around Manila.
Apo Myna 2 at Kitanglad on 21st and 25th, 10 on 23rd and heard on 22nd and 24th.
Plain-throated Sunbird 2 at Los Banos on 6th, 3 on Mt Polis, 2 travelling to Sabang on 13th and 3 at Balsahan Trail on 15th.
Copper-throated Sunbird 4 travelling to Pto Princesa on 14th.
Olive-backed Sunbird 1 at Hamut on 10th, 3 at Sabang on 13th, 1 at Pto Princesa on 15th, 4 at Bislig on 16th and 1 or 2 at PICOP.
Purple-throated Sunbird 2 at Los Banos on 6th, 3 at Baliwag on 11th, 2 o Palawan on 13th and 3 on 15th.
Flaming Sunbird 2 at Hamut on 9th.
Grey-hooded Sunbird Up to 3 daily at Kitanglad.
Metallic-winged Sunbird 1 at Hamut on 9th and 2 on 10th, 1 at Mt Polis on 12th.
Apo Sunbird One at Kitanglad on 22nd and 23rd.
Shelley's Sunbird 1 Pto Princesa – Sabang on 13th and at least 2 on the return journey.
Handsome Sunbird 1 at Hamut on 11th and PICOP on 17th.
Naked-faced Spiderhunter 2 at PICOP on 17th.
Little Spiderhunter Singles on Palawan on 13-14th.
Olive-backed Flowerpecker Up to 4 on 3 days at Hamut.
Palawan Flowerpecker 6 Pto Princesa – Sabang on 13th and 2 on the return journey on 15th.
Striped Flowerpecker Singles at Makiling on 6th, at St Paul’s NP on 14th and at Kitanglad on 21st.
Olive-capped Flowerpecker Up to 6 daily on Kitanglad.
Flame-crowned Flowerpecker A female on Mt Polis and a fine kampalili male on Kitanglad on 23rd (GP, GT).
Bicolored Flowerpecker Up to 6 daily at Hamut.
Red-keeled Flowerpecker 2 at Makiling/ Los Banos, 2 at Hamut, 2-4 at PICOP and 2 at Kitanglad.
Buzzing Flowerpecker 2 at Makiling on 6th, 2 below Hamut on 9-10th and 2 singles at Kitanglad.
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker 1 at Los Banos on 6th and 4 at PICOP on 18th.
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Up to 4 daily at Kitanglad.
Pygmy Flowerpecker 1 Pto Princesa – Sabang on 13th
Lowland White-eye 2 at the American cemetery on 26th.
Everett's White-eye 6 at PICOP on 18th.
Yellowish White-eye Up to 4 at Hamut on 8-10th.
Mountain White-eye 1 at Mt Polis and common at Kitanglad.
Black-masked White-eye 2 at Kitanglad on 23rd and heard on 24th.
Cinnamon Ibon Up to 8 daily at Kitanglad.
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Fairly common throughout.
Red-eared Parrotfinch 4 at Kitanglad on 21st, 1 on 25th and heard on 23rd.
White-bellied Munia 2 Sabang-Pto Princesa, 5 at Iwahig, and at least 4 at Kitanglad on 21st and 23rd.
Scaly-breasted Munia 2 at Los Banos, with a few below Hamut and on Palawan.
Chestnut Munia Numerous on Palawan and at Bislig/ PICOP with up to 12 at Kitanglad.
White-cheeked Bullfinch Only heard on Kitanglad, on 23rd.


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