September – October 2019 Roundup of Activities

by Mike Lu

September 7 – Club trip, International Rice Research Institute

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is located on the foothills of Mount Makiling in Laguna. Its rice fields host a good number of resident birds and during the latter part of the year becomes a wintering ground for migratory birds. Club Trips Committee chairperson Gina Mapua planned a trip to IRRI to show members the birds found in rice fields and the open country.

Birders led by Club Trips Committee chair Gina Mapua  
Buff-banded Rail one of the must-see resident species at IRRI  

September 11 & 13 – UP Wild Guided Trip

The WBCP partnered with UP Wild to conduct two birdwatching activities this month for students of the University of the Philippines. Among the resident species seen were the Philippine Hanging Parrot and Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker and migrant species such as Cattle Egret and the Brown Shrike. The UP Wild is an initiative of Biology instructor and WBCP member Jelaine Gan and two other college batchmates to acquaint university students with the flora and fauna found in the campus. 


September 14 – Execom Meeting

The WBCP Execom 2019-2020 met up to set up committees and plan activities for the year. One month after the current Execom has elected, we already have 2 guided trips and 2 club trips, plus a meeting with Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno as part of the Save Arroceros Forest Park movement. Coming up are bird fairs and educational activities. Exciting times up ahead!

(L-R) Yani Barcenas, Tinggay Cinco, Arnel Telesforo, Mike Lu, Jops Josef, Jon Villasper, Gina Mapua

September 17 – Forum on Reclamation

WBCP was invited to a forum on reclamation organized by Oceana at the Manila Yacht Club. The forum focused on the impact of illegal dump and fill projects in Manila Bay on heritage, wildlife and tourism. Guest-of-honor was Representative Rosemarie Arenas who filled a bill to stop further reclamation of Manila Bay. WBCP President Mike Lu gave a presentation on the birdlife found on Manila Bay and pointed out that reclamation destroys the sea and also the mountains where the filling materials were extracted.

Pampanga Rep. Rosemarie Arenas
WBCP President Mike Lu

September 22 – Guided Trip at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP)

There is a strong interest from the general public to join WBCP’s guided birdwatching trip as slots filled up within 24 hours after we made the announcement. Early migratory waterbirds have already arrived at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park much to the excitement of the participants. Thank you for the assistance of the volunteer guides who pointed out and identified the birds for the first-time participants.

Helping participants identify bird species seen on the spotting scope

September 24 – Guided Trip for Homeschool Global at LPPWP

The Club’s guided birdwatching trips has attracted the attention of homeschoolers.  By special request of Homeschool Global, a trip was organized in the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park on a weekday for 30 participants divided into two sessions, one for younger kids and another for the early teens.

A young boy looking at Whiskered Terns perched on the bamboo poles 
 Close-up of a Whiskered Tern

September 27-30 – 10th Asian Bird Fair in Kuching, Malaysia

The Asian Bird Fair was established to gather conservation organizations in Asia together to promote birdwatching as an ecotourism activity.  Held in a different Asian city for the past ten years, the fair has now attracted commercial birdwatching tour companies and even ecolodges from outside of Asia.  WBCP was represented by Tintin Telesforo, Willem van de Ven, Djop Tabaranza, Maia Tañedo, and Mike Lu. Mike Lu is one of the founders of the ABF and Maia Tañedo serves as the ABF secretary.

WBCP members dressed in Filipiniana at the Welcome Dinner
(L-R) Djop Tabaranza, Maia Tañedo, Tintin Telesforo, Willem van de Ven, Mike Lu
The Minister of Environment Sarawak visiting the WBCP booth
WBCP activities such as the silent auction were also adapted by the ABF

September 29 & October 7 – Guided Trip for UP Mountaineers

The WBCP collaborated with the University of the Philippines Mountaineers (UPM) to conduct birdwatching trips as part of the requirement for applicants to the UPM.  The first batch of applicants were introduced to the birds of the UP campus and the second batch of applicants were brought to the Ninoy Aquino Park in Quezon City.  

Group photo at the University of the Philippines campus 

September 30 – Waterbird Lecture

WBCP founding member Dr. Carmela Espanola of the UP Institute of Biology gave a lecture on waterbird identification to prepare Club members for the Asian Waterbird Census held every January.  Participants were taught how to spot the different features amongst species in the same family such as egrets and plovers. The Club plans to have more educational activities soon.

Dr. Carmela “Lala” Espanola  (4th from right) with her “students” for the day

October 4-6 Club Trip to Zamboanga

Ten members eagerly joined a club trip to Zamboanga organized by WBCP member and former DOT Regional Director Mary June Bugante.  Among the sites visited by the group were Intake at the Pasonanca Natural Park, the Western Mindanao State University’s  College of Forestry area with members of the Zamboanga Bird Club, the Zamboanga State College Marine Sciences & Tecnology ponds, and the Santa Cruz Island Grande.  Some members also took an extension trip to Baluno in Pasonaca Natural Park. The ten members who joined the trip were Riza & Art Melicor, John & Beng Ricarte, Ruben Bala, Gina Mapua, Karen Ochavo, Cheta Chua, and Mads & Lu-Ann Bajarias.

Pristine forest inside the Pasonanca Natural Park
WBCP members joined by the members of the Zamboanga Bird Club at the ZSCMST ponds. 

October 12 – World Migratory Bird Day

WBCP  president Mike Lu was invited to the celebration of World Migratory Bird Day by the  Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park to give a talk to participating photographers and artists in the Click It.  Sketch It: An adventure with migratory birds contest.


October 12 – TV Interview

WBCP Execom member Jops Josef  was interviewed on the Cignal TV Channel 6 Tayo Tayo program about birdwatching and Philippine avian biodiversity. The interview portion can be seen on 24:05-40:00. 
https://www.facebook.com/OnePHonCignal/videos/405282966829688/


October 13 – Guided trip at LPPWP

Upon special request, a guided trip was organized for a group of home school kids in the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park. Despite a fish kill incident in the area a few days earlier, a good number of bird species showed up much to the delight of the participants.  The trip was assisted by Gwen So, Yang Villa, and Mike Lu.

Lead guide Jops Josef identifying the birds on the field guide
Group photo after birdwatching

October 13 – Records Committee Meeting

The Records Committee headed by Arne Jensen met to decide on committee membership and their responsibilities as well as plan for more updated release of approved bird sightings records. The meeting was held at the residence of Tinggay Cinco, who also served a sumptuous lunch.

(L-R) Arne Jensen, Tinggay Cinco, Mike Lu, Christian Perez, Willem van de Ven, JJ Brinkman

October 19-20 – 21st Taipei International Birdwatching Fair

With the theme “Along with Birds,” the longest-running bird fair in Asia kicked off to a great start with a Welcome Dinner at the Taipei City Hall followed by two days of educational activities at the Guandu Nature Park in Taipei.  Organized annually by the Wild Bird Society of Taipei, participating exhibitors include bird clubs, tour companies, conservation organizations, the academe, and optics companies.  The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines was represented by President Mike Lu, Secretary Yani Barcenas, Patty Adversario, and Elvira Mata. 

WBCP members (L-R) Yani Barcenas, Patty Adversario, Elvira Mata, Mike Lu
Bird mascots lend a festive air to the bird fair 

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