Palawan Birding Expedition: Part 1. Zigzag Road, Irawan Nature Park and Crocodile Farm

When:  July 2015                        Weather: Hot, 31deg C and wet +++

Nikon P900 for all bird shots. Other shots : Leica Q

We had planned this birding trip to Palawan in the Philippines some time ago and we were a group of 7, plus guide and driver.  Apart from one day in which we went to the Puerta Princesa underground river cavern, we had 31/2 days of birding in various locations in Palawan.  These included the old zig zag road, Irawan Eco Nature Park, Iwahig Penal Colony(!!), the Crocodile Farm and Puerta Princesa Underground Park Ranger Centre.  In general the weather was hot and humid and there are lots of mosquitos so be prepared!

We had standard issue of Leica Silverline binoculars which we had all recently acquired in preparation for this trip...

We had standard issue of Leica Silverline binoculars which we had all recently acquired in preparation for this trip…of course the serious photographers also had their howitzers with them…

common iora preening

our morning started with the common iora preening

Ashy Drongo

Ashy Drongo

Spangled drongo

Spangled drongo

white breasted wood swallows huddle together for warmth...

white breasted wood swallows huddle together for warmth…

And then to our surprise, we found our first star bird and a lifer for all my friends…one of them actually spotted the Hooded Pitta hopping around on the ground just near to where we parked near a stream. It stayed for about a minute before flying off but we managed to see 4 more of the same pitta in the same area of the Irawan Nature park!  Whilst I had seen it as a migrant before in singapore…(see my previous blog post) it was still a thrill to see this magnificent bird again in the wild, a resident Palawan species. I didn’t manage to take a good picture but thanks to Dr Espiritu, I can show his picture of the pitta here…

Hooded feeding on the ground. Picture credit: Dr Cesar Espiritu

Hooded feeding on the ground. Picture credit: Dr Cesar Espiritu (Canon 7D, Tamron 150-600mm)

Hooded Pitta. Courtesy of C Espiritu

Hooded Pitta. Courtesy of C Espiritu

And then we found another star bird...the endemic blue naped parrot which from the front does not look blue....

And then we found another star bird…the endemic blue naped parrot which from the front does not look blue….

but from the back, the beautifully streaked wing and blue nape is seen

but from the back, the beautifully streaked wing and blue nape is seen

We saw 4 slaty woodpeckers hopping up a tree with strong backlight along the old zigzag road

We saw 4 slaty woodpeckers hopping up a tree with strong backlight along the old zigzag road

A Goshawk perched over the old zigzag road

A Goshawk perched over the old zigzag road

the early sparrow got the green caterpillar

the early sparrow got the green caterpillar

Rufous night heron at the Crocodile Farm

Rufous night heron at the Crocodile Farm

black naped oriole from unusual angle

black naped oriole from unusual angle

and then this beautiful chestnut breasted malkoha appeared high in the trees...

and then this beautiful chestnut breasted malkoha appeared high in the trees…

the blue wing was magnificently shimmering

the blue wing was magnificently shimmering

zitting cisticola

zitting cisticola

Chestnut munia

Chestnut munia

Richards Pipit

Richards Pipit

river at Irawan

river at Irawan

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