Bird of the Moment: DAURIAN STARLING

DAURIAN STARLING Agropsar sturninus
Photo by George Inocencio

Subic, Zambales
October 2019

We were on Day-2 of our weekend birding in Subic. The morning had been pretty quiet and we decided to move farther from Crown Peak area towards Nabasan Trail. Passing through the Subic Airport road, we paused to take photos of some Brown Shrikes and Zebra Doves perched along the airport fence (we were that desperate that quiet morning). Suddenly, Manette saw a bird perched on the airport fence further up the road that looks like an immature Pied Triller but not quite a Pied Triller. When we approached closer, it flew to a tree across the road, and fortunately, posed for a few minutes, peeking at us from its slightly covered perch. Our photo session ended when a Subic Police patrol car stopped and a police officer informed us that taking photos in the vicinity of the airport is not allowed. We showed the officer our bird photos and he gave a thumbs up, but said taking photos is still not allowed in the area. Later at home, I uploaded the unidentified bird on the eBird Philippines ID assistance group on Facebook, and we were pleasantly surprised to be informed by Desmond Allen that this ordinary-looking bird could be a DAURIAN STARLING, a rare winter visitor with reportedly less than five previous records in the Philippines!! The record is now up for verification by the Rarities Committee of the WBCP.

George Inocencio

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