July-August 2019 Roundup of Activities

by Mike Lu

July 19 – DENR-NCR quarterly monitoring of the NAIA
Mike Lu and Bayani Barcenas joined the DENR-NCR at the quarterly monitoring of wild birds at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.  Of the species recorded, the most number were the Crested Mynahs followed by Eurasian Tree Sparrows.  Other species seen include Black-crowned Night Herons, Paddyfield Pipit and even a Barred Rail.  Only resident species were seen as the migrants have not arrived yet.   

DENR-NCR staff with representatives of airline companies surveying the grasslands
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Herons were some of the birds seen during the airport survey

July 28, Saturday – 16th General Assembly and Club Anniversary
The month of July was allocated for nomination, campaign and elections for the incoming Execom Officers.  The General Assembly started with the President’s report by Willem van de Ven, Records Committee report by Tinggay Cinco, and the Rarities Committee report by Christian Perez.  Joni Acay gave a report on the status of the Isabela Oriole, Mike Lu updated the club members about the Asian Bird Fair, while the referendum and election results were reported by Mary June Bugante.  

Group photo of members and guests at the Club Anniversary party held at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife, Quezon City

The newly-elected officers were Mike Lu (president), Tinggay Cinco (vice-president), Bayani Barcenas (secretary), and Jops Josef (treasurer). 

Newly-elected officers (L-R) Treasurer Jops Josef, Secretary Bayani Barcenas, Vice President Tinggay Cinco, and President Mike Lu

Other activities included the sale of merchandise, the lucky draw from items donated by club members and a fund-raising from shirt sales for the conservation of the Walden’s Hornbill, and a silent auction to benefit the ORIS Project for the Isabela Oriole.  

Items on the silent auction table to benefit the ORIS Project for the conservation of the Isabela Oriole

The programme was held at the BMB Training Room of the Ninoy Aquino Park and was ably hosted by Nikdye Realubit and Martha Tan.     

Nikdye Realubit and Martha Tan, the program hosts, standing by the merchandise table  
Mary June Bugante of the Election Committee (EleCom) reported the results of the referendum and the election of officers

July 30, Wednesday – Meeting with Manila Mayor Isko Moreno
The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines represented by Club President Mike Lu together with members of the Save Arroceros Movement (SAM) had a meeting with newly-elected Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso at the Manila City Hall to confirm the status of the Arroceros Forest Park, an urban park started and maintained by the Winner Foundation since the 1990s.  The good mayor assured the conservation of the forest park and revealed his plans to extend the area of the park and improvement of facilities.  The next meeting will discuss the signing of an Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to strengthen the protection of the park. 

Mayor Isko Moreno presenting his grand plan for the Arroceros Forest Park and environs
Group photo of the Save Arroceros Movement with the mayor

August 11 – Guided Trip at the Ninoy Aquino Park
Often overlooked by birdwatchers, the Club conducted a guided trip for first-timers at the Ninoy Aquino Park in Quezon City.  It had been raining on and off for a whole week but the sun finally came out on Sunday morning and all participants had great views of waterbirds on the lagoon.  A pleasant surprise was the appearance of the Common Kingfisher, the first record for this migration season.


August 11 – Execom meeting
Five of the Execom members Mike Lu, Tinggay Cinco, Bayani Barcenas, Arnel Telesforo, and Gina Mapua met up to discuss, plan, prepare and create committees to continue the many activities of the club for the whole year.  Aside from guided trips, club trips, get-togethers, participating in foreign bird fairs and continuing the Urban Biodiversity Fair started by past president Willem van de Ven, more activities are lined up for club members.  

First meeting of the members of the Execom
(L-R) Gina Mapua, Mike Lu, Yani Barcenas, Tinggay Cinco

August 15 – PHILTOA Presentation and Guided Trip
The Philippine Tour Operators Association invited the WBCP to introduce birdwatching at the 4th general meeting at the Bellevue Hotel. Execom member Gina Mapua ably presented birdwatching as a ecotourism market as well as the provided the background on the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park which members of the group visited later in the afternoon.  Volunteer  guides Mike Lu, Ivan Sarenas, and Ruben Bala showed the participants the resident as well as some of the early migrant species. 


August 17-18 – Club trip, Pacific Farms
Club members led by Gerard Khonghun conducted the rainy season survey of the Pacific Farms in Bolinao (Pangasinan). New species added to the site include … for a grand total of 94 species recorded by the WBCP in this largest salt farm in the country.

WBCP members led by Gerard Khonghun and Pacific Farm staff pose for a group photo

August 22, 2019 – Club Trip, American War Memorial and Libingan ng mga Bayani
The unabated development within the Bonifacio Global City has affected the avian biodiversity in two of its green spaces which used to be must-go birdwatching sites in Metro Manila – the American War Memorial and the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Birders Mike Lu and Ravi Iyengar checked out these two places to see and record which species can still be seen there. Sadly, the non-native species Ring-necked Parakeets seem to be the most prolific species in this part of the city.

The ever-changing cityscape at the Bonifacio Global City has a drastic effect on avian diversity in green spaces such as the American War Memorial.

August 22, 2019 – Club Trip, Candaba Marsh
Club members headed for migration hotspot Candaba Marsh to check for early migrants. Seen on that day were Black-winged Stilt, Red-necked Stint, and Wood Sandpiper amongst others while resident species seen include Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Philippine Duck, and Black Bittern. Unfortunately the whole of Candaba Marsh has been titled to private entities and the government has no plans of securing any property to protect the birds. Although more than 40 species were seen, the number of birds per species was low.

A resident Yellow Bittern at the Candaba Marsh

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