As many as 72 species of birds have been documented in Davao City’s Shrine Hills. Twenty of these recorded birds are found only in the Philippines. The area is seen as an urban forest, a much needed green space in the urban district and hailed as the city’s last potential large-tier park based on the public parks study in Davao by New York University.
Environmental groups are advocating for Shrine Hills’ continued protection and are proposing the privately-owned publicly open spaces (POPOS) concept as a win-win solution for land owners who want to develop their properties for business.
“We managed an impressive 26 species on the day and the total species recorded in the Shrine Hills area now numbers 72, 20 of which are endemic,” said Pete Simpson, Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, who has been making records of birds for Jacks Ridge and other areas in Shrine Hills.
Pete’s group along with the Philippine Eagle Foundation facilitated the bird watching activity held on June 11, 2018. Sustainable Davao Movement organized the activity for the public’s better appreciation of Shrine Hills besides being a dining area for tourists.
Environmentalists hope Shrine Hills can become a monitoring site for the city’s urban forest, starting with the birds. Philippine Eagle Foundation biologist John Kenzi Layno noted that Shrine Hills is a more accessible site to encourage the public to join birdwatching and enjoy wildlife since it is close to the city center.
First Stop: Royal Pines Area
The group met at 4:30 AM at the entrance of Royal Pines and soon encountered Philippine Magpie Robin singing, heard the Plan Bush-hen and the Night heron looking for a place to sleep.
Second Stop: Davao Memorial Pond
Looking over the wall to the pond, the group enjoyed a perched Philippine Coucal sunning itself in the early morning light and had close views of Common Moorhen.
Third Stop: Manila Observatory
Higher up on the Shrine Hills road at an observatory site, the group were shaded by the mature trees so they found it difficult to locate the Coppersmith Barbet and Pied Triller above them.
The group convened at La Storta Retreat House to list, draw and discuss about the birds and how the experience left a mark to them.
The group is composed of bikers from SIKAD Davao, Cycle 4Life, and PNSB BIKER, mountaineers from Mindanao Mountain Prospect and Sandawa Apo M.E.C., Shrine Hills residents (Davao Shrine Hills Advocates), Ecoteneo, IDIS and other SDM members organizations.
Davao Shrine Hills (June 11, 2018 4:30 AM-7:30 AM 26 species)
|1. Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)||20|
|2. Barred Rail (Gallirallus torquatus)||2 (heard only)|
|3. White-eared brown dove (Phapitreron leucotis) *endemic*||1 (heard only)|
|4. Plain Bush-hen (Amaurornis olivacea) *endemic*||1 (heard only)|
|5. Common moorhen (Gallinula chrloropus)||2|
|6. Spotted dove (Streptopelia chinensis)||4|
|7. Common Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)||1|
|8. Zebra dove (Geopelia striayta)||2|
|9. White-eared Brown Dove (Phapitreron leucotis)||1|
|10. Philippine Coucal (Centropus viridis) *endemic*||1|
|11. Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus)||1|
|12. Ridgetop Swiftlet (Collocalia isonota) *endemic*||5|
|13. Collared kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris)||2|
|14. Coppersmith Barbet (Psilopogon haemacephalus)||2|
|15. White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus)||2|
|16. Pied Triller (Lalage nigra)||1|
|17. Philippine Pied Fantail (Rhipidura nigritorquis) *endemic*||2|
|18. Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)||6|
|19. Tawny Grassbird (Megalurus timoriensis)||1|
|20. Everett’s White-eye (Zosterops everetti)||2|
|21. Philippine Magpie-Robin (Copsychus mindanensis) *endemic*||2|
|22. Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis)||5|
|23. Red-keeled Flowerpecker (Dicaeum australe) *endemic*||2|
|24. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma)||2|
|25. Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis)||4|
|26. Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)||5|
|27. Chestnut Munia (Lonchura atricapilla)||4|
IDIS would like to thank Pete Simpson for sharing his expertise to the group. His report shared at the Birdwatching in Davao Facebook Page is a source of the data reported here. IDIS likewise thanks SDM members and Philippine Eagle Foundation for facilitating the event.