Sunday, October 1, 2017

More to Explore in Beautiful Coron: Day 3

It was our third and last day in Coron and Djop and I were excited with what we would find in the half-day we had before our flight back to Manila. We checked out of Darayonan at 5:30am and were on the road with Ninong Chin to bird in the Yulo King Ranch (YKR.)

The landscape changed when we entered the 40,000-hectare ranch. Both sides of the road were green with grazing land and Slender-billed Crows flew around and perched on the roadside fences.

Slender-billed Crow
We were hoping for another sighting of the Changeable Hawk Eagle that we spotted shortly after we arrived in Coron a couple of days ago. Sadly, the raptor was nowhere to be seen when we passed through the area. There were quite a number of egrets, Spotted DovesBlack-naped Orioles, Striated Grassbirds, and Paddyfield Pipits around. We reached the airport road and took some time stalking a couple of snipes feeding in the grassy area beside the parking lot.

We stayed until one of the snipes came out in the open to pose for us.
Such lovely feathers!
There were more Paddyfield Pipits running about in the grass very close to the van. We spotted two male Blue Rock Thrushes chasing each other around the airport parking lot and some Scaly-breasted Munias posed in the morning sun, while Collared Kingfishers called loudly from the trees and wire fences.
Paddyfield Pipit

Scaly-breasted Munia
We left the airport and drove further into the ranch. We spotted a raptor up a tree but it was chased away by some crows! It moved to a farther tree where it was almost completely hidden from view. It flew off before we could get decent shots and a proper ID.
  
Finding the raptor and more birds along the road.
We got back in the van and continued down the road. From the van, we saw a couple of Lesser Coucals out drying their feathers and a Black-chinned Fruit Dove also getting some morning sun, although they were all far from the road.
Out drying its feathers
Getting some morning sun
We passed by an empty field where there were some egrets, Little Ringed Plovers and also a lone Black-winged Stilt. We soon left the ranch "proper" and entered Barangay Decalachao and headed straight towards a surprise destination: The Riverhouse

We entered the driveway and were surprised to see modern-looking cottages dotted along the road. I could imagine the wonderful view from each cottage! We stopped at the reception area and went straight to the restaurant area. It offered a great view of the Decalachao River and the vast mangroves around it.


While waiting for our breakfast to be prepared, we birded along the road. We were treated to a male Olive-backed Sunbird busy feeding on some heliconias.
  
A Rufous-tailed Tailorbird sang around us, flitting this way and that, avoiding having its picture taken! I gave up on the skittish bird and just photographed some pretty butterflies and flowers around me.




We started walking back to the restaurant when Ninong Chin pointed out an immature White-vented Shama. A female Olive-backed Sunbird also made an appearance among the heliconias near the restaurant.
Reminded me of a juvenile Mangrove Blue Flycatcher

Female Olive-backed Sunbird
We returned to the restaurant where we had a big, hearty breakfast with a wonderful view 💖 Thank you again, Ninong Chin, for bringing us there!

After breakfast, the rain fell. We stayed in the restaurant and began wishing for awesome birds to perch on a nearby broken trunk. We did gets birds that perched there: Asian Glossy Starlings.


More birds came out even if it was raining. Ashy-fronted Bulbuls and Palawan Flowerpeckers perched on nearby trees. 

Sitting out in the rain

Enjoying a little shower
When the rain stopped, we decided to check out the pier where there was a possibility of Stork-billed Kingfishers. We got out of the van and walked to the water's edge.

 

We scanned the mangroves and I spotted a spot of blue! Stork-billed Kingfisher faaaaaaar away! Just above it, a Chestnut-breasted Malkoha preened in the drizzling rain.

Spotted the flash of blue on this kingfisher

Can you spot the malkoha?
 We headed back to the van when the rain started to fall again. We drove back towards the airport but before that decided to check the new road being constructed. 

As we were driving through, Djop spotted a raptor perched on a leafless tree. It was being mobbed by Slender-billed Crows and also a Black-naped Oriole. The raptor stood its ground and did not move.

We left the raptor and went further down the road. The fields gave way to trees and soon both sides of the road was lined with tall trees. There were some Chestnut-breasted Malkohas skulking in some trees but we did not have the luxury of time to stalk them. We reached the end of the newly constructed road and turned back. It was time to go to the airport. 

But not before a quick check at the raptor! It was still there but had adjusted to a clearer perch.

Angry-looking bird!
It flew away after  a few minutes and it was really time to go. We made our way back to the airport and said our goodbyes and thank yous. It was a wonderful three days in Coron, thanks to our gracious host, Ninong Chin 😊

Coron is such a wonderful place for birding and we have so much more to explore! Next time, we'll be sure to spend more time there (three days is definitely not enough!!!) and we'll include the other touristy spots to our itinerary. Maybe some snorkelling too? IF I'm brave enough 😉 But, my bravery aside, one thing's for sure... we'll be back!