New birds and plants in August

One of the great things about moving back and forth between Batangas and Alabang is that whenever you visit, everything looks strikingly fresh and new again. Each time we go to the refuge, it feels like there’s something new to see, discover, observe, and document.

EDIT: We thought we had a new bird for the farm bird list. Tonji thought it was a Black-chinned Fruit Dove but now he is not so sure. We will not count it as Bird #103 because the ID seems questionable. I think it is most likely a Pink-necked Green pigeon.

We had a new bird for the farm bird list. This is a Black-chinned Fruit Dove Ptilinopus leclancheri. It’s a fairly big dove. I saw it while walking with the dogs and wasn’t able to get better photos. I thought it looked familiar, but couldn’t really place what it was. I showed the photo to Tonji about a week later when we were already back in Alabang. He said, “That’s a Black-chinned Fruit Dove, what else could it be?” Yey, bird #103 for the refuge!

a dove, backlit and with a weird pose!

Bats are a very common and plentiful in Alabang, but there were only a few of them in the refuge. We thought that we had very few bats because we didn’t have enough big trees that the bats could use as roosts. This year all of a sudden, this year we have a lot of bats! It seems that the new swimming pool brought in the bats! We see them flying over the pool and dipping into the water. Good thing we are using a copper-based, non-chlorine pool system.

We saw a Lesser Short Nosed Fruit Bat Cynopterus brachyotis roosting in a tree with an aratiles in its mouth. Tonji was cutting the grass when he spotted the bat and told he to look at it. When I saw it, I thought the fruit was a giant tooth! I was wondering if I should stop Momo from foraging for fallen aratiles fruits near the bat.

Lesser Short Nosed Fruit Bat

Our Ipil tree has flowers! This is one of the birthday trees that our daughter Monica gave us for our 49th birthdays in 2014. This was our first time to see this tree flowering. It is so cool when a tree you planted flowers and you get to collect the seeds and plant more trees! Ipil trees have big seeds that germinate well. I hope this tree produces lots of seeds!


Tonji found a new flowering plant while cutting the grass in the paddock.

Tonji: What is this plant?
Me: Looks like talong (eggplant).
Tonji: How can it be talong, it looks like a tree!
Calls for Ambet.
Tonji: Ambet, please look at the plant. What is it?
Ambet: Tawag namin diyan talong-talongan.
Tonji: Ano??
Me (under my breath): TALONG!!


Sometimes you see birds that look “new” and you get all excited. But on closer inspection, turn out to be young birds.

Bright-capped Cisticola, immature

Or faraway young birds.

Asian Glossy Starling

Some things remain the same. Like the amount of time I spend trying taking pictures of Red-Keeled Flowerpeckers. You know when they are around because they have a distinctive call like pebbles being tapped together. When we were starting out with bird photography, a friend brought us to his mechanic’s house so we could take pictures of Red-Keeled Flowerpeckers up close and at eye level. The birds were feasting on aratiles fruit and didn’t mind us being around and taking their pictures.

Now we have our own aratiles trees and we have Red-Keeled Flowerpeckers visiting the trees. But the birds in our place do not behave like the ones in that mechanic’s house. Ours don’t stay put and are often even hard to spot. They are my bird photography nemesis. One of them, because there are others! So far this is one of my best attempts.

Red-keeled Flowerpecker

When I’m walking on our trails I tell myself “I am open to the possibility of seeing something awesome”. And I really believe it!

Bird List for the Farm

This is the most current list of the birds we have seen at the farm.


September 2020

Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides

June 2020

Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis sepulcralis
This bird was formerly known as Brush Cuckoo.

immature Rusty-breasted Cuckoo

February 2019

  • Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus

August 2018

  • Coleto Sarcops calvus
  • Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca

September 2017

  • Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda

    August 2017
  • Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
  • Clamorous Reed Warbler Acrocephaus stentoreus
  • Yellow-wattled Bulbul Pycnonotus urosticus
  • White-bellied Munia Lonchura locugastra 
  • Ruddy-breasted Crake Ponzana fusca
  • Philippine Green Pigeon (formerly known as Pompadour Green Pigeon) Treron axillaris
  • added Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus that was seen previously by Tonji but we forgot to add to the list
  • changed snipe sp. to Swinhoe’s Snipe after Tonji saw one and was able to identify it from the call
Yellow-wattled Bulbul
Philippine Green Pigeon and Pink-necked Green Pigeon

These are some photos taken on site of the birds at the farm.  More bird photos on  Tonji and Sylvia’s Bird List.

  1. Wandering Whistling Duck Dendrocygna arcuata
  2. Philippine Duck  Anas luzonica
  3. King Quail (Blue-breasted Quail) Excalfactoria chinensis
  4. Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus
  5. Cinnamon Bittern  Ixobrychus cinnamomeus
  6. Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
  7. Eastern Cattle Egret (Cattle Egret) Bubulcus coromandus
  8. Striated Heron Butorides striata
  9. Grey Heron  Ardea cinerea
  10. Purple Heron  Ardea purpurea
  11. Great Egret  Ardea alba
  12. Intermediate Egret  Egretta intermedia
  13. Little Egret  Egretta garzetta
  14. Philippine Serpent Eagle (Crested Serpent-Eagle) Spilornis holospilus HO
  15. Japanese Sparrowhawk  Accipiter gularis
  16. Pied Harrier  Circus melanoleucos
  17. Brahminy Kite  Haliastur indus
  18. Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus
  19. Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides
  20. Barred Rail  Gallirallus torquatus
  21. Buff-banded Rail  Gallirallus philippensis
  22. Plain Bush-hen  Amaurornis olivacea
  23. White-breasted Waterhen  Amaurornis phoenicurus   
  24. Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca
  25. Spotted Buttonquail  Turnix ocellatus
  26. Barred Buttonquail  Turnix suscitator
  27. Oriental Pratincole  Glareola maldivarum
  28. Swinhoe’s Snipe Gallinago megala
  29. Rock Dove  Columba livia
  30. Island Collared Dove Streptopelia bitorquata
  31. Red Turtle Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica
  32. Spotted Dove  Spilopelia chinensis
  33. Philippine Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia tenuirostris
  34. Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
  35. Zebra Dove  Geopelia striata
  36. White-eared Brown Dove Phapitreron leucotis
  37. Pink-necked Green Pigeon Treron vernans
  38. Philippine Green Pigeon Treron axillaris
  39. Philippine Coucal  Centropus viridis
  40. Lesser Coucal  Centropus bengalensis
  41. Rough-crested Malkoha Dasylophus superciliosus
  42. Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus
  43. Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis sepulcralis
  44. Philippine Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx pectoralis
  45. Eastern Grass Owl Tyto longimembris
  46. Philippine Scops Owl Otus megalotis
  47. Philippine Nightjar  Caprimulgus manillensis
  48. Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis
  49. Grey-rumped Swiftlet  Collocalia marginata
  50. Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis
  51. Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda
  52. White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
  53. Collared Kingfisher (White-collared Kingfisher) Todiramphus chloris
  54. Indigo-banded Kingfisher  Ceyx cyanopectus
  55. Blue-tailed Bee-eater  Merops philippinus
  56. Coppersmith Barbet  Megalaima haemacephala
  57. Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos maculatus
  58. Common Kestrel (Eurasian Kestrel) Falco tinnunculus
  59. Peregrine Falcon  Falco peregrinus
  60. Philippine Hanging Parrot/Colasisi Loriculus philippensis 
  61. Philippine Pitta  Erythropitta erythrogaster
  62. Hooded Pitta  Pitta sordida
  63. Golden-bellied Gerygone  Gerygone sulphurea
  64. White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus
  65. Pied Triller  Lalage nigra
  66. Brown Shrike  Lanius cristatus
  67. Long-tailed Shrike  Lanius schach
  68. Black-naped Oriole  Oriolus chinensis
  69. Philippine Pied Fantail Rhipidura nigritorquis
  70. Black-naped Monarch  Hypothymis azurea
  71. Large-billed Crow  Corvus macrorhynchos
  72. Oriental Skylark  Alauda gulgula
  73. Yellow-wattled Bulbul Pycnonotus urostictus
  74. Yellow-vented Bulbul  Pycnonotus goiavier
  75. Philippine Bulbul Hypsipetes philippinus
  76. Barn Swallow  Hirundo rustica
  77. Pacific Swallow  Hirundo tahitica
  78. Striated Swallow (Red-rumped Swallow) Cecropis striolata
  79. Kamchatka Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus examinandus
  80. Japanese Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus xanthodryas
  81. Clamorous Reed Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus (possible Oriental Reed Warbler or maybe Gray’s Grasshopper Warbler but we’re calling it Clamorous)
  82. Striated Grassbird  Megalurus palustris
  83. Tawny Grassbird  Megalurus timoriensis
  84. Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis
  85. Grey-backed Tailorbird  Orthotomus derbianus
  86. Lowland White-eye  Zosterops meyeni
  87. Asian Glossy Starling  Aplonis panayensis
  88. Coleto Sarcops calvus
  89. Stripe-headed Rhabdornis  Rhabdornis mystacalis
  90. Philippine Magpie-Robin Copsychus mindanensis
  91. White-browed Shama  Copsychus luzoniensis
  92. Mangrove Blue Flycatcher  Cyornis rufigastra
  93. Siberian Rubythroat  Calliope calliope
  94. Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata
  95. Red-keeled Flowerpecker Dicaeum australe
  96. Pygmy Flowerpecker Dicaeum pygmaeum
  97. Olive-backed Sunbird  Cinnyris jugularis
  98. Eurasian Tree Sparrow  Passer montanus
  99. Scaly-breasted Munia  Lonchura punctulata
  100. White-bellied Munia Lonchura leucogastra
  101. Chestnut Munia  Lonchura atricapilla
  102. Grey Wagtail  Motacilla cinerea
  103. Paddyfield Pipit (Richard’s Pipit) Anthus rufulus

Farm Bird List: June 2012 to September 2014

This is the list of all the bird species we have seen from when we started the farm in June 2012 until the present. So far we have seen 74 species. I only included the ones seen inside the farm. Continue reading “Farm Bird List: June 2012 to September 2014”