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Notes on a Birding Trip to PICOP - Bislig, Mindanao, Philippines

by John Gregory

April 2000

With Ashley Banwell

Jan van der Laan's Philippine trip report

Chris Gooddie's 2001 Cebu and PICOP Report

On arrival at Bislig we booked into the Paper Country Inn where we stayed for three nights (expensive at 800 Pesos per night for a double room). We met Felizio [Felizardo V Goring, Camp Security Opns., PICOP Resources Inc. (PRI), Tabon, Bislig, 8311 Surigao del Sur, Mindanao] within 1 hour of arrival and were immediately impressed with his
organisational skills and helpful nature. His services proved invaluable in helping us wipe up within 2 and 1/2 days. Whilst not a birder he has taken up the hobby and weighed in with a couple of heavyweights - Silvery Kingfisher and the Trogon.

We spent the late afternoon of day 1 at the airfield where we saw 2-3 Grass Owls. Transport worked out at 2000 Pesos per day between two of us and we paid Felizio 2000 total.

Day 2 was spent mainly on 1/4 with an excursion to 1 in the pm. Highlights were Grey-faced Buzzard, Violet Cuckoo, Black-faced Coucal, 3 Silvery Kingfishers (on pools alongside road 1 - FG knows the spot - he saw a small blue kingfisher on one of the pools!!), Rufous-lored Kingfisher, 10 Writhed Hornbills, 2 Mindanao Wattled Broadbills, 1 Azure-breasted Pitta (stunning views and videoed), White-browed Tailorbird, RT Jungle Flycatcher, Short-crested Monarch, Rufous Paradise-Flycatcher and Naked-faced Spiderhunter.

Next morning was spent on road 5 from km 25 to around 29 where there was a link to road 6 which proved fruitful for Pygmy Babbler and Violet Cuckoo. [Forest on Road 5 completely destroyed as of February 2001 and Road 4 going fast - Chris Goodie report.] We also got amazing video of Oriental Honey Buzzard here. Other highlights were - Amethyst Brown Dove ( the only one we saw on Mindanao), Blue-crowned Racquet-tail (our only one), Red-bellied Pitta ( several heard but not seen), Black & White Triller.

Day 3 spent on 1/4. Heard Black-Chinned Fruit-Dove but not seen. Saw 2 Pink-bellied Imperial Pigeons, 1 Mindanao Hornbill, 1 Red-bellied Pitta, 1 Streaked Ground-Babbler and 1 Little Slaty Flycatcher.

Felizio strongly recommends that birders come here within the next 5 years as illegal logging on road 1/4 will probably destroy that area within this timeframe. We saw/heard 3 mature rainforest trees go down in 2 days - bloody depressing.

[After returning, John Gregory received a trip report by Jan van der Laan which mentions another area of PICOP - Mt Pasean, where Cryptic Flycatcher apparently occurs.]

Copyright © 1992-2012 John Wall