Watching birds with British birders

Exactly two years ago, I was with a group of British birdwatchers (also called birders for naughty readers like you). It’s my first time to be part of a birdwatching tour. I accompanied the group as their guide for their three-day trip in Subic and Bataan.

Our lead guide for the bird tour was Mr. Nicky Icarangal, one of the experts in the country.

I tried to read up as much as I can about birds in the Philippines in preparation for this assignment. I only know about the maya, kalapati, parrot and the talking mynah birds because these are the ones that I saw when I was little. My readings led me to an interesting subject for the green minded. It’s about our very own, Philippine Bulbul (image below from

Our Philippine Bulbul. The name might sound funny but the bird’s beautiful.
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I never realized how passionate this group was when it comes to birds. We had to rise at 3:00 in the morning to start the tour. One might ask, what happens in a bird tour?
From my observation, the lead guide follows a set trail in the site. He then follows the sounds of the birds by placing his hands on his hears. This would serve as his radar.

When he has spotted one, he would ask the group to use their binoculars to check out the bird. In case that the bird is in a dark spot, he would use his flash light to guide the tourists.

Here’s a footage of what actually goes on:
Our guide needed to use his iPod to play bird sounds and lure the others to join in. Ah, the wonders of technology! The modern-day bird call.
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The guests were treated like rock stars when they were received warmly by schoolchildren in the 5th Philippine Bird Festival in Balanga, Bataan last year. This was organized by the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines and the Department of Tourism.
The Big British Birders with Binoculars. Second from the right is the lead guide, Mr. Nicky Icarangal. 
After this tour, I’m convinced that birding is for specialized groups. I tried hard to be interested in knowing the birds we spotted but I wasn’t really satisfied. I want to have a closer look on them but unfortunately, that only happens in zoos and I’m not a big fan of zoos. I want something that has to do with art, history or cultural heritage.

On a happy note, I’m pretty much confident that the Philippines rich in its biodiversity, has a lot to offer to visitors who wanted to see its beauty and more so, its birds.  There is a market and we must explore whatever we have to sell the country as a whole.