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Nature and Wildlife Palawan

Birds of Coron and Busuanga

Birding has been one of the activities I enjoy while traveling lately. It gets me really immersed in nature. It’s a calming activity. And being able to observe bird behavior and the species found in the area gives me an idea on the state of the environment is. My travel to Coron and Busuanga got me excited to spot more birds in the province. Palawan alone has 23 bird species out of the 218 endemic found in the Philippines. Birds of Coron and Busuanga is a collection of birds I encountered from my last trip. Surely bumped my list of bird lifers.

Birding has been one of the activities I enjoy while traveling lately. It gets me really immersed in nature. It’s a calming activity. And being able to observe bird behavior and the species found in the area gives me an idea on the state of the environment is. My travel to Coron and Busuanga got me excited to spot more birds in the province. Palawan alone has 23 bird species out of the 218 endemic found in the Philippines. Birds of Coron and Busuanga is a collection of birds I encountered from my last trip. Surely bumped my list of bird lifers.

What is a lifer?

If you are new to birding, you may hear the word “lifer” several times. There are many qualifications for a bird lifer depending on where you are. But generally the conditions for a bird lifer are the following:

  • First time seeing a bird species in the wild
  • Positively identifying a bird species individually

Birdwatchers would excitedly note down details of “lifer encounters” to document this event. Time, place and environmental conditions. And that would be enough. Bird photographers however have a different criteria. For some, they consider a bird a “lifer” if they photographed the bird clearly and can easily be distinguished.

In this recent trip alone, I had 9 lifers added to my list.

Capayas Creek Kingfisher Preserve
The Capayas Creek Kingfisher Preserve is a favorite birding sortie spot just a few km from town center of Coron.

Birds of Coron and Busuanga

It is possible to do birding on your own when in Busuanga island. With less people and tourist due to travel restrictions brought by the pandemic, a lot of wildlife are free to roam what used to be crowded spaces. I was surprised and excited when I had at least 3 lifers in one spot when I was at Kayangan Lake in Coron Island.

But if you want your life a bit easier, Coron has a community of birders too. Visit Darayonan Lodge and look for sir Chin or the tour agent My Blue Backpack to guide you for a birding sortie. This includes a sortie at the birder favorite Capayas Creek Kingfisher Preserve. Who knows, you may encounter one or the three resident kingfishers in the area.

In the meantime, here are my collection of birds I photographed from my recent trip. I wish I had more time but 9 lifers in one trip is already great.

Palawan Yellow-throated Leafbird
Palawan Yellow-throated Leafbird

Palawan Yellow-throated Leafbird

Palawan Yellow-throated Leafbird – lifer
Chloropsis palawanensis
Palawan endemic

Kayangan Lake, Coron
2021.01.19

First seen while climbing stairs at the Kayangan Lake. More sightings at Capayas Creek.

Green Imperial Pigeon
Green Imperial Pigeon

Green Imperial Pigeon

Green Imperial Pigeon – lifer
Ducula aenea

Calauit Island, Busuanga, Palawan
2021.01.20

Just admiring how elegantly poised this pigeon are. Saw a flock at the trees near the viewing ground at the Calauit Safari Park.

Palawan Bulbul
Palawan Bulbul

Palawan Bulbul

Palawan Bulbul – lifer
Alophoixus frater
Palawan endemic

Capayas Creek, Coron
2021.01.21

Amused watching this lone bulbul deal with a group of Palawan leafbirds just to snack on this banana.

Plaintive Cuckoo
Plaintive Cuckoo

Plaintive Cuckoo

Plaintive Cuckoo – lifer
Cacomantis merulinus

Capayas Creek, Coron
2021.01.21

Wasn’t able to photograph any of the 3 Kingfishers at Capayas Creek but I’m glad this one showed up. Erwin with his Lawin eyes helped me spot this one. And am I glad that it suddenly perched on a ground branch just a few feet away from me hence this close up shot. Another lifer from the creek.

Pacific Reef Heron (dark morph)
Pacific Reef Heron (dark morph)

Pacific Reef Heron

Pacific Reef Heron (dark morph) – lifer
Egretta sacra

Siete Pecados, Coron
2021.01.19

Notice this Reef Heron perched on one of the buoys at the marine park as we were about to leave.

In New Zealand, the Pacific reef heron has the conservation status of “Nationally endangered”. It has been classified as “Regionally Critical” in the Wellington region.

White-vented shama
White-vented shama

White-vented shama

white-vented shama – lifer
Copsychus niger
Palawan endemic

Kayangan Lake
2021.01.19

This was my first encounter with a white-vented shama. I thought at first look I was looking at a magpie then closer inspection it’s a different bird. Had another one at Capayas Creek.

ashy-fronted bulbul
ashy-fronted bulbul

Ashy-fronted bulbul

Ashy-fronted bulbul – lifer
Pycnonotus cinereifrons
Palawan endemic

Kayangan Lake
2021.01.19

First encountered at the steps leading to Kayangan Lake. Then saw plenty of them at Debotunay Island. One of the endemic bulbuls in Palawan.

Palawan drongo
Palawan drongo

Palawan drongo

Palawan drongo – lifer
Dicrurus palawanensis
Palawan endemic

Kayangan Lake
2021.01.19

Sighted 2 of these drongos near the steps at Kayangan Lake.

Kentish plover
Kentish plover

Kentish plover

Kentish plover
Charadrius alexandrinus

North Cay Island, Busuanga, Palawan
2021.01.20

Skittish little fellow by the beach at North Cay.

olive-backed sunbird
olive-backed sunbird

Olive-backed sunbird

Olive-backed sunbird
Cinnyris jugularis

Calauit Island, Busuanga, Palawan
2021.01.20

Cattle egret
Cattle egret

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret
Bubulcus ibis

Calauit Island, Busuanga, Palawan
2021.01.20

Large-billed Crow
Large-billed Crow

Large-billed crow

Large-billed crow
Corvus macrorhynchos

Pretty much common. A lot in town and at Debotunay island.

collared kingfisher
collared kingfisher

Collared Kingfisher

Collared Kingfisher
Todiramphus chloris

Kayangan Lake
2021.01.19

These are just some of the birds I spotted and I’m sure there are a lot more. Hoping next time I can add more to my collection in Birds of Coron and Busuanga.

Travel Safely to Coron

For guidelines in traveling safely to Coron and Busuanga, please read this post.

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