Trip Report: Raja Sikatuna Protected Landscape, Bohol, Philippines

December 31st, 2013 to January 4th, 2014 (42 bird species seen) Birding in Raja Sikatuna Protected Landscape was tough going. Not only because of the weather during our visit, but because of our many near misses and long period’s of quiet in the dense rainforest. The species list for Raja Sikatuna is a stunner, with the potential to see many endemics including the Philippine Frogmouth, Philippine Scops-Owl, Steere’s Pitta, Wattled Broadbill, and of course the Rufous-Lored and Silvery Kingfishers (pictured). Though the will (ours) and skill (our guide) were present, we came up short on almost all of our targets, …

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    The New Year

    Things have slowed down immensely for us on the sleepy little island of Bohol. It is so quiet here. Not that there are no other tourists around, but the vast majority of them come on day trips from Cebu City (the Philippines 2nd largest city) or stay in the resorts on Panglao Island. Everyone wants to see those famous Chocolate Hills, the most photographed landscape in the Philippines. Others come to catch a glimpse of the tarsiers. But by 5pm every evening, it seemed we had the whole town of Bilar to ourselves, well, plus the friendly locals of course! …

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      Trip Report: Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary, Philippines

      Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary Saturday January 28th, 2013: Total Species Seen: 22 Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary is an important stop for migratory birds from Japan and Northern China heading to Australia and New Zealand. Peak migration is from September to November and from February to April. We visited Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary during the month of December, and while bird activity was not at it’s zenith at that time, the sanctuary was a beautiful place to visit. The grounds feature a stony walkway leading out to an observation tower located in a tidal zone surrounded by mangroves. The road leading …

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        Beautiful Olango Island

        Spent the day yesterday at Olango Island close to Cebu City. The place is a real find as it has both a bird sanctuary for migratory birds as well as a marine sanctuary with some of the best snorkeling I have ever done. Saw some beautiful Ribbon Eels and even a lion fish. Swimming there was being in an aquarium as it is shallow, about 2-3 meters only with beautiful corals, anemone, sea urchins and giant blue starfish. At the bird sanctuary we saw many beautiful wading and shore birds including Rufous Night Heron, Eurasian Curlew,Brown Shrike, Little Heron, Little …

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          Snorkeling, the new obsession

          Manu has learned to snorkel here in the Philippines and now I fear that we will be spending a lot of time on islands from here on out! We really have seen a lot, just from the little resort where we are staying. Today was a particularly clear and calm morning with great visibility. We ventured out pretty far and were rewarded with some beautiful new coral formations and large schools of colorful fish. Random Observations from the Philippines: • Filipinos love pork. It is sometimes prepared in some not so easy on the eye ways. But I am sure …

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            Christmas in the Philippines

            Season’s greetings from Port Barton on the island of Palawan. Personally, I am not much of a beach person, but after traveling now for more than 3 months, it is definitely time to take a break and recharge the batteries. Last week, we had the honor of attending the Italo-Filipino wedding of two former coworkers! Seeing Celina (Filipino-Canadian) and Peter (South Tyrolean-Italian) tie the knot was a cultural experience that we will not soon forget. We caught up with many people who we had not seen in many moons and met many lovely new people on both sides of their …

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              Bubble and Squeak and Birding at Bukit Fraser

              Miles from the hectic streets of Kuala Lumpur, Fraser’s Hill offers cool temperatures, some colonial ambiance, and wonderful wildlife viewing. The British must have thought they had found paradise when they settled the hill station here in 1890. After all, it rains nearly everyday and the fog rolls in waves. But when it isn’t raining, Fraser’s is a very beautiful place to spend time. In the lush hills, gibbons call in the distance, the colorful birds are everywhere, and the clouds rolling through lend the place an otherworldly atmosphere. We had two really nice experiences here. The first involved a …

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                Trip Report: Birding Peninsular Malaysia @ Fraser’s Hill, Kuala Selangor, FRIM.

                December 6-11, 2013 Locations for Birding Peninsular Malaysia: Fraser’s Hill (FS), FRIM, Kuala Selangor (KS) (63 bird species seen) Greater Yellownape (Woodpecker) (FH) Greater Flameback (Woodpecker) (KS) Fire-Tufted Barbet (FH) Coppersmith Barbet (KS) Common Kingfisher (KS) Stork-Billed Kingfisher (KS) White-Throated Kingfisher (FS) Black-Capped Kingfisher (KS) Collared Kingfisher (KS) Raffles’s Malkoha (FRIM) Red-Billed Malkoha (FRIM) Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater (FRIM) Red-Bearded Bee-Eater (FH) Mountain-Imperial Pigeon (FH) Peaceful Dove (KS) Orange-Breasted Green Pigeon (KS) White-Breasted Waterhen (KS) Common Sandpiper (KS) Common Greenshank (KS) Brahminy Kite (KS) Changeable Hawk Eagle (FH) Intermediate Egret (KS) Cattle Egret (KS) Grey Heron (KS) Little Heron (KS) Lesser Green …

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                  The Modern Working World

                  In the end, we spent much more time in Nepal than in India. Though we do wish to travel to India again someday, travel overland from Nepal back to India was either going to be very time consuming or expensive. We decided instead that it was time to move on to Southeast Asia. Conveniently, Air Asia, a discount Asian Airline, flies to and from Nepal. So online we went, and booked ourselves a cheap flight from Kathmandu to Kuala Lumpur. But it wasn’t until we were checking in at the airport that we realized why an Asian budget airline offers …

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                    Life and Death in Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath

                    In Kathmandu, death and funerals are very public, especially if you are a Hindu. On Saturday, we experienced this first hand while visiting the Hindu Temple of Pashupatinath on the banks of the Bagmati River. Pashupatinath is where the Hindus of Kathmandu and larges parts of Nepal are cremated after death in a ceremony involving close family members and the general public. Ten bodies per hour may be cremated here, the bodies first being washed in the river by a close family member before being taken to a platform where wood and straw await. Families say their goodbyes and then …

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