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THE PHILIPPINES

Sunday 16th January - Saturday 5th February 2011

Simon Harrap

The magic Philippine Frogmouth (Simon Harrap)

The magic Philippine Frogmouth (Simon Harrap)

The 2011 Birdquest to the Philippines was another successful tour to this wonderful country. True, we did not enjoy the best of weather (too dull and windy at Subic and Mount Makiling, too wet on Mindanao and too dry on Palawan, all perhaps due to it being a La Niña year), but you cannot have everything. And sadly, habitat destruction at PICOP on Mindanao continues apace, making birding there ever more challenging. Yet we saw a host a great birds. We were lucky with Philippine Eagle, with good if distant views during a 'window' in the weather, and that old timer, the habituated Palawan Peacock-Pheasant, was still alive and kicking at St Paul's on Palawan. As well as these two mega-stars, we also did well for kingfishers, seeing the endemic Blue-capped and Spotted Wood, Rufous-lored, Silvery and Indigo Banded Kingfishers as well as Ruddy Kingfisher. Nightbirds were hard work, but Philippine and Palawan Frogmouths both showed superbly, as did a pair of roosting Mindanao Hawk-Owls. We logged Philippine Cockatoo at two sites, saw all the possible hornbills, enjoyed Philippine Trogon, Steere's Pitta and the 'Birdquest' Woodcock, had great looks at Falcated Ground Babbler and found seven endemic sunbirds and nine endemic flowerpeckers.

The rarely photographed Mindanao Pygmy Babbler (Simon Harrap)

The rarely photographed Mindanao Pygmy Babbler (Simon Harrap)