Sep 23-24, 2011
7th Philippine Bird Festival, Dumaguete City
Birdfest in Dumaguete
As a former member of the Wildbird Club of the Philippines, it was with excitement that I anticipated the 7th annual bird festival, to be held right here in Dumaguete. Not only did I see familiar faces from the club, I also hooked-up with members of the UP Mountaineers who were likewise members of the club.
The event was staged at the Silliman University grounds where booths representing southeast Asian member countries were set-up amongst NGOs and other stakeholders. Simultaneous talks and videos were also presented in lecture halls covering the broad spectrum of Ornithology. There was something in it specially to the grade schoolers of Dumaguete's wide array of learning institutions who made a field trip to the event.
Bird Watching and Photography
But the real deal, specially for birders, is the actual bird watching and photography in the wild. Small groups went about their own itineraries to birding pockets in Dumaguete - Lake Balinsasayao, Mt. Talinis, and even Centrop, where a rare sighting of a
spotted wood kingfisher was made by Mark Wallbank. It's rare to find such species within city limits are these are known to be forest birds. Like a gold rush, when the sighting was confirmed, an avalanche of birders flocked to Centrop to catch the bird in pixels or with their binoculars.
I got tagged along to Lake Balinsasayao, not specifically for birding, but to touch-base with the local community and see how they can be assisted in reaping the rewards of eco-tourism - from environmental management, to cultivating tourist-friendly crops (Lake Balinsasayao Coffee!), optimizing restaurant food service, and yes, web exposure (that's where I come in).
It was a fitting event closing to feature body painting where models parade the colorful hues of interesting birds, thanks to Yvette Malahay-Kim of the College of Fine Arts. Taking the spotlight was the rare and endangered Negros Bleeding Heart.
Like a passing breeze, they came and went. It was an invigorating fix being with birders - their passion for birds is infectious. And yes, they carry with them, good vibes and energy. Hmmm...maybe I should plan on getting me another pair of binoculars, this time, something small and lightweight.
(Oct 17, 2011) Nifty! Hah, I never heard of a 500mm lens being referred to as a 'bazooka' lens before. :0)
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