Birds of July near the ground, on the trees, in the sky

Near the ground

The new stalks of amor seco are too fine to support even a small bird like this Scaly-breasted Munia. So it grabbed onto 3 stalks of the grass with one foot so it can feast on the seeds! This red grass is the source of those sharp seeds that stick on pants, fur, and paws. The Chestnut Munias we so fun to watch that I thought I might be ok with some amor seco weeds near the house just so I could watch the munias some more. Tonji had other ideas. A few hours after I took this photo, he brought out the tractor and mowed down all the amor seco growing in front of the cottage!

Scaly-breasted Munia

On the trees

These were some of the regulars in the trees near the cottage. Two Yellow-vented Bulbuls sharing a tree with two Pink-necked Green Pigeons.



Black-naped Orioles are all over the place, even in the rain. It was a very rainy July.


Island Collared Dove. We keep our eyes out for these guys. They are becoming scarce in other areas of the country due to hunting. The ones in our place are favoring the mango trees now even if we didn’t have much of a mango season this year. Tonji has plans to make the mango area even more attractive for wildlife.


In the sky

Black-crowned Night Herons are common birds that roost in colonies. We usually just see one bird flying by.



The migratory season has begun! This is a flock of egrets, most likely Intermediate Egrets. This group did not stop over. They are probably looking for a nice fishpond or rice field.



I have this fantasy of seeing a rare migrant on the grass in front of the cottage! That would be something!

Birds of February

February has been a great month for hanging out at the sanctuary. The oppressive heat of summer is still a future concern. The ground is still nice, moist, and yielding. It only took Tonji nine days to dig up Pond Number 5. I was able to clear a big swathe of hagonoy in a new area using just my hori-hori hand knife. Momo and Barkley enjoyed  long morning walks through refreshing dew-covered grass, with stops every so often to admire the birds!

The Agohos are among the fastest growing of the trees we’ve planted. Their height makes them a popular perch of the orioles and crows.

Collared Kingfisher
Large-billed Crow

We saw 5 species of doves in February. We had Philippine Cuckoo Dove, Zebra Dove, Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Spotted Dove, and Philippine Collared Dove. The Philippine Collared Dove was perched on the wires along our entrance road. We saw it on the same wire on two different weekends.

Pink-necked Green Pigeon
Spotted Dove
Philippine Collared Dove


Tali and  Laiya are still around. Will they stay through summer? Or are they migrants?




There are small flocks of Olive-Backed Sunbirds high in the Madre de Cacao flowers, Chestnut Munias in the grassy areas, and jewel toned Bee-eaters on low branches.

Olive-backed Sunbird
Chestnut Munia
Blue-tailed Bee Eater

The Malabulak trees produced buds! Last year we saw only one bud that didn’t even become a flower. Tonji thinks next year will be a great year for the Malabulak.


The hot days of summer are fast approaching. All to soon it will be time to say goodbye to the cool weather and hello summer and summer projects!

Philippine Bulbul




Ten Things to Enjoy in October

1. Tali and Laiya

The two Pied Harriers that we spotted in August are still around and appear to be settling in for the winter. They are migrants from Amur Valley in Eastern Russia or NE China. They look so comfortable in our place that we gave them names. We named them after famous beaches in Batangas.

This is Tali, she has a string tied around her leg. We don’t know how the string got there.

2. Rain

It has been raining more than is usual for this time of the year. It’s good for the plants and it also brings out the dragonflies!


3. Baby birds

We’ve been noticing flocks of munias. Upon closer inspection, they are young Chestnut Munias! I always thought we should have more munias in our grassland areas. Maybe now we will!


4. Interesting plants

I am still wondering what this is. The yellow ball is soft and looks like a tiny cauliflower.


5. Spending time with loved ones

We appreciate it a lot when people make the effort to visit us in our place! It’s a long drive out from the city!

6. Eating locally and seasonally

It’s nice to see that there’s more than just mango and dragonfruit growing in our area. There’s also lansones, dalandan, mandarin (big dalandan), rambutan, guyabano, banana, and santol.

7. A new bird for the Farm Bird List!

We had new avian visitors on the same day as our human visitors! Tonji and one of my cousins saw two Ruddy Kingfishers!

Our guests also got to see:

  • 1 Philippine Duck flying near pond #1
  • 2 Pied Harriers circling around the pond area
  • 2 Grass Owls flying in front of the house as the sun went down

8. The magical firely tree

Shortly after the sun set, we turned off the lights and brought our guests to the garage to watch the big Albizzia procera tree slowly get lit up by fireflies.

photo by Tonji

9. Catch and release

On our way home from the farm in August, I caught and released a big gecko that suddenly appeared on our windshield.


Two weeks later,  I caught and released a small snake from our bathroom.



What will we catch and release next?

10. New projects

We never run out of new projects! I think that’s what makes having a farm so fun! This time we are designing a new entrance.

Yey October, my favorite month!