Monday, February 22, 2021

Makati City Birding: More Sightings of Forest Birds Plus New Sightings of the Finlayson's Squirrels

Grey wagtail foraging at the lagoon construction site
Birding has some characteristics of ghost sighting I guess.  You can point out the birds to people and they can't seem to see them birds.  Or squirrels, for that matter.  Save for the Washington Sycip Park maintenance staff who knows my face, I still get a lot of looks from park guests which I've become accustomed to.  I'm there for a number of reasons which may look or sound strange to others who are content to text under the trees, take selfies on the path, or jog on the trail.  As I've often written here, I take my meditation and other rituals to the park when I can.  Also Earthing or grounding.  Ditto with having Dunkin' coffee and donuts (a good excuse as any to momentarily remove the face mask and shield).  Then, there's spotting the wildlife.

I guess some people are inclined to think wildlife exists in the forests.  Can't blame them since Sycip Park is on the small side; can't really expect to spot wildlife here especially if you're not patient.  But wildlife does, indeed, exist here, most often hidden in plain sight.

Happy to see the Finlayson's squirrels again
Just walking along the path on my way to my favorite bench, I spotted a skink in a sawn-off portion of a tree.  It slithered inside before I can bring out my camera from my belt bag.  Last January, I spotted a forest bird, an Ashy Thrush, near the composting area.  This time, it's a Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) near the corridor from the parking lot to the men's comfort room.  While not a lifer, I'm delighted to have found it right in the city park, away from its usual haunts -- the forests, boondocks, or at the very least, the bigger eco-parks in Metro Manila like the one in La Mesa.

Shortly afterwards, I've also spotted a Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) while trying to see the progress of the lagoon construction. Again, last time I've seen one was in the rice terraces of Maligcong in Bontoc, Mountain Province.  It was hopping all over the puddles created by the recent rains, seemingly unmindful of me clicking away.

Brown shrike at the corridor to the parking lot
Apart from the birds, I've recently spotted the Finlayson's squirrels again after weeks of not sighting them.  Unbeknownst to park visitors who may be busy fiddling with their smartphones under the trees, there's an ongoing drama high up in the treetops.  A month or so ago, a cat (or cats) got wise to the squirrels' activities and took out an adult squirrel, according to park maintenance staff.  It was just recently that I saw the smaller squirrels running up and down the trees like these were horizontal tracks and oblivious to the pull of gravity.  In a word -- amazing!  Interesting things you can witness if you just have the curiosity and patience for sighting them.


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