Welcome to Birdquest
Sunday 3rd February - Friday 8th March 2013
Having operated a long series of successful Philippines tours over the last two decades and a smaller number of Remote Philippines tours, we decided it was time to revamp the itinerary, the result of which was the all singing, all dancing, Ultimate Philippines tour. This comprised of the main tour and two post-tour extensions, resulting in a five week endemics bonanza! The first three weeks focused on the better-known islands of Luzon, Mindanao and Palawan, and here we saw some of those iconic birds, as we drooled over the likes of Philippine Eagle, Palawan Peacock-Pheasant and Azure-breasted Pitta. The first extension took us to the central Visayas where amongst the endemic highlights were cute Negros Scops Owl and Visayan Broadbill, and we finished with a trip to Mindoro and Northern Luzon where several further endemics included the simply superb Whiskered Pitta! Our success rate with the endemic targets overall was very good indeed, and special mention should go to the 12 species of owl seen, the 13 stunning species of kingfishers and the four gorgeous species of pitta. Individual species that stand out were the superb Philippine Eagle-Owls near to Manila, delightful and strange Philippine and Palawan Frogmouths, huge Rufous and Writhed Hornbills (amongst 8 species of endemic hornbills!), weird Scale-feathered and Rough-crested Malkohas, a stunning Ashy Ground Thrush, striking White-fronted and Palawan Tits, sneaky Falcated and Streaked Wren-Babblers, the unique Flame-templed Babbler, Apo Sunbird and stunning Red-eared Parrotfinches, to name just a few. As always the tour was action-packed, and as always, tinged with sadness, as we quite literally at times watched the forest tumble around us. The weather gods were generally not too kind to us, but we made the most of it, soldiered on and did well! Nowhere else in the world has so many stunning endemics that are so heavily under pressure!