Tuesday, September 11, 2012
After taking a day off from birding to recover from Honey's cousin's 40th birthday party(too much San Miguel and karaoke!)I was ready to get back to birding. Waking up at about 6:30 and seeing that it was partially clear I got the urge to go over to Olongo Island to check out the shorebird scene. Checking the tide charts, there was an early morning high tide so I didn't see any reason to hurry and we had time for a proper breakfast. Honey, her sister Hara and friend Jecka joined me in the taxi ride from Minglanilla (400p) to the Angasil Warf on Mactan Island, near the site where Magellan met his demise at the hands of Cheif Lapu Lapu. We paid 10p each to the 20 minute pumpboat ride to Olongo Island and hired a tricycle (120p) for the ride to the RAMSAR shorebird preserve. The tide was dropping as we arrived at 11AM and exposing the coral flats. Birds were arriving in small flocks so I got the camera ready and spent the next four hours wandering the flats while Honey and company enjoyed the fresh air and scenery. Animated Terek Sandpipers probed the wet sand and ran around like wind-up toys.
Posted by Antshrike at 11:13 PM
Saturday, September 8, 2012
After recovering from the jetlag, I made a five day trip to the adjacent island of Bohol to do some birding and bugging. After getting off the ferry I hired a habal habal (motorcycle) to take me to Nuts Huts, a tourist lodge on the Loboc River. This funky set of bamboo huts along the river with a restaurant on the hillside overlooking the river caters to budget minded tourists from around the world. While I was there, other lodgers hailed from Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, France, Poland, Israel and Hong Kong. They stay there to get a taste of the jungle but I've had good luck with birds here in the past and was hoping the bugs would be good also. As it turned out the birding was poor this time. Maybe it was seasonal or maybe due to the loud music played on the river restaurants that constantly ply the Loboc River but bird numbers and diversity was way down. My best bird was found the first evening above the restaurant. This cracking Black-faced Coucal was a surprise as they are normally high in the trees in the forest.
Posted by Antshrike at 9:39 PM
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Last night I was lying in bed in Honey's family's humble house here in Minglanilla south of Cebu city, reading Simon Winchester's rivoting account of the catastrophic eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 near the island of Java. I had just finished the chapter discussing the history and theory of plate tectonics and the west Pacific's rather unstable geologic underpinnings when I felt the room start to shake. My first thought was, "Wow, the kids (Honey's brother has three small children) are really jumping around and shaking the house." Then I noticed the whole room and bed I was lying on was gently swaying back and forth several inches (it seemed) and I knew what was going on. It only lasted a few seconds and then Honey came in the room and exclaimed we had just had an earthquake. While I was gently swaying in bed, she had been in the bathroom taking one wild ride on the toilet. Within minutes we were on the internet and discovered that a 7.9 earthquake had just occurred deep within the earth near the Philippine Trench, about 200 miles east of here. Pretty ironic. Such is life here on the Pacific Rim. Anyway, while I was reading I heard the squeaky song of a Pied Fantail outside and managed to get this pic through the window. They're pretty common.
Posted by Antshrike at 1:58 AM
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Well, here were are in he Philippines. Honey and I are visiting her family in Minglanilla, just south of Cebu City. We just got here yesterday and I'm already sweating like a pig. Staying here for four weeks without air conditioning will be a lot of fun although it wasn't too bad last night. Anyway I hope to get around a bit and see some cool birds and bugs. Still suffering from jetlag, so far all I've managed is a short walk around the neighborhood. With just Honey's point and shoot Elph I did manage a few pics. This sharp looking dragonfly seems to be common in the area.
Posted by Antshrike at 1:24 AM
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
With the recent cold front (not very) I thought it might be a good idea to check out the Sugar House Pond. This shallow 40 acre pond receives effluent from the nearby sugar mill. With the long standing drought it's some of the only water around and it's on the eastern edge of Hidalgo County so it can attact birds normally seen on the coast. This morning's two hour visit proved very productive and quite a spectacle. Here's some of the 1018 Fulvous Whistling-Ducks.
Posted by Antshrike at 2:09 PM
Monday, August 20, 2012
There's not a month in the year when there's not a few warblers around in the Rio Grande Valley. The summer is a bit thin though. After the last straggler Magnolias and Canadas leave in early June the only warblers about are a few Common Yellowthroats and the odd Tropical Parula. In July there's always a little migration burst that brings a few Black-and-whites and Louisiana Waterthrushes from up north but then there's usually very few around till late August and September. But this August has been different with plenty of southbound migrant warblers across the state. Here in the RVG, between Santa Ana NWR and Frontera, I've seen nine species in just the past week. Here's a few of them. Most numerous are the Yellow Warblers.
Posted by Antshrike at 8:14 PM
Gee, it's been nearly a year since my last post. What happened? Well, I got kinda lazy. The birds and the bugs were so good last fall that it just became a pain to keep the blog going. I mean I need to download pics and edit. Then I have to put my days birds into eBird and then post to Texbirds. After that, well, then I feel like a nap. I'll see if I can't do better.
Posted by Antshrike at 4:48 PM