I participated in the Jan-Feb [private] tour to the Philippines guided by Rich Lindie…. I have to say that Rich’s … indefatigable attempts to make our trip a success was exemplary in every way. His birding skills are definitely well above the norm in birding companies I am familiar with (including some very elite companies.) Rich is also enthusiastic, energetic, fun loving, patient and always in full control of his clients. In short, he is in the elite echelons of the guiding profession and should be considered a valuable asset to your organization. It is my intent to single out trips guided by him for my travel considerations.
Philippines Biridng Tour
Our Endangered Endemics birding tour explores the Philippines’ three largest islands and covers the best of the remaining habitats in our attempts to find some of the world’s most spectacular and threatened birds. On Luzon, we visit sites for Stripe-headed Rhabdornis, Scale-feathered Malkoha, the sensational Yellow-breasted Fruit Dove and recently discovered Chocolate Boobook. On Palawan, white sandy beaches, extensive coral reefs and an underground river make a spectacular backdrop for a number of the specials we are likely to find. Highlights include the mound-building Philippine Megapode, Philippine and Hooded Pittas, the incredibly beautiful Blue Paradise Flycatcher and glittering Palawan Peacock-Pheasant. Mindanao hosts the largest tracts of remaining lowland forest and here we search for the secretive Wattled Broadbill, Azure-breasted Pitta and beautiful Philippine Trogon. The forested slopes of Mt Kitanglad are the most reliable site for the magnificent Philippine (Monkey-eating) Eagle, this giant raptor often rated as the world’s single most desirable bird! Here we will also search for another recently discovered bird, Bukidnon Woodcock, as well as Apo Myna and Giant Scops Owl.
Our Visayan Islands Extension is a tour that takes in the smaller islands of Cebu, Bohol and Negros where we target some highly sought-after and endemic birds. These include Flame-templed Babbler, Visayan Hornbill, the lovely White-winged Cuckooshrike, Visayan Broadbill and the smart Yellow-breasted Tailorbird. Here we also stand our best chance for the strange Philippine Colugo as well as the endearing Philippine Tarsier, while the scenery at the spectacular Chocolate Hills is second to none!
Our 10-day Highlights birding tour is a far shorter version of our Endangered Endemics trip, and covers only the very best birding sites for those with less time to spend in the field, but still wishing for a fantastic overview of the region’s special species. Sites visited include St Paul’s National Park on Palawan, Mt Makiling, Mt Polis and Subic Bay with targets including the resplendent Palawan Peacock-Pheasant, Philippine Megapode, Philippine Serpent Eagle, Palawan Frogmouth, Luzon Hawk-Owl, Philippine Hawk-Cuckoo, Scale-feathered and Red-crested Malkoha, Spotted Wood Kingfisher, Blue-headed Racket-tail, Coleto, Balicassiao, Red-keeled Flowerpecker and Guaiabero.
With birding stops around Bacolod and Dumaguete, as well as a day on Mount Talinis, our latest Negros Islands Extension targets the island’s most sought-after, and only, endemic, the Negros Striped Babbler. We also go in search of several species endemic to the greater Visayan region, chief amongst these targets are are Negros Scops Owl, Black-belted Flowerpecker, Maroon-naped Sunbird, White-winged Cuckooshrike, Visayan Fantail, Pink-bellied Imperial Pigeon, Visayan Hornbill and even Yellow-faced Flameback.
No birding trip to The Philippines is complete without a visit to one or two of the nations rural penal colonies. Our Mindoro Island Extension takes us to Siblayan Penal Colony, on the little-visited island of Mindoro. Just two nights here offers more than enough time to find such delectable endemics as Mindoro Boobook, Scarlet-collared Flowerpecker, Spotted Imperial Pigeon, Black-hooded Coucal, Mindoro Hornbill, Mindoro Racquet-tail and Mindoro Bulbul – all impossible or very difficult elsehwere in the world.
On a more somber note, the thousands of islands that comprise the Philippines are also home to the most birds facing imminent extinction. Many of these critically endangered and often spectacular species survive only in increasingly shrinking remnants of habitat, which is tragically continuing unabated, and putting the islands’ numerous endemic bird species under ever-greater survival pressure. During our Philippines birding tour, we can expect to encounter a large number of these endemic bird species that may yet disappear in our lifetimes.