Bird Watching in NUVALI

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A long shot of the Yellow-vented Bulbul using Nikon D3000 18-105mm lens.

Bird watching is one of those outdoor activities that I have been waiting to participate. I have never been given the chance to do it until I was invited to participate in a bird watching event in NUVALI in Laguna a week ago. It was an enjoying and learning experience for me because it doesn’t only fulfilled one of my dreams to engage in such but it also helped me learned how and why bird watching is more fun in the Philippines!

I do not have that long lenses to match up the bird watching activity but joining the group that was led by Wild Bird Club President Ana Gonzales was already enough for me to know more about birds and bird watching.

Our group getting ready for bird watching in NUVALI Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary.

Bird watching needs a lot of patience and the knowledge about birds (and the surrounding environment) help a lot in this activity. Good thing, prior to our activity, Ms. Ana showed us an audio-visual presentation of the history and facts about birds and bird watching here in the Philippines inside the Evoliving Center which is located also in NUVALI before we proceeded to the Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary that is a 1.5 kilometer trek with a little downhill and uphill adventure walk.

My only frustration was I did not able to get a good and closer shot of the birds while we were bird watching. I am using an 18-105mm and it really looked like a dwarf compared to the guys who were with me using their 70-300mm wide angle telephoto lenses.

Jen Chua, Marketing Officer of NUVALI, told us that bird watching is just one of NUVALI’s activities that everyone can enjoy while visiting the place. For now, bird watching is a free activity which only requires a registration at the Evoliving Center if guests like to participate. The Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary is open to everyone. Soon, Jen told me that they might open a packaged bird watching tour to accommodate more people or those who comes in group so that this adventure would be enjoyed more. There are more than just bird watching in the sanctuary. Upon entering the forest, scattered poops indicate the presence of Alamid cat which means that coffee tree, like Kapeng Robusta and Kapeng Barako, is bountiful in the sanctuary.

Kapeng Robusta and Kapeng Barako is present in the sanctuary.

I learned a few and like Ana told us, our batch were all Lifers, a term use to described people who engaged in bird watching activity for the first time. Below, I will also tell you my Life List – which are the lists of birds that a Lifer have seen during his/her bird watching adventures.

It was nice that we had the Bird Talk Before a Bird Walk presentation because we were presented with a lot of visuals about birds like we learned about the bird ID’s. Bird ID’s are called Jizz, which is the overall impression given by the general shape, movement, behavior of a bird rather than any particular feature. Just like me, I know you are wondering how professional bird watchers have come to ID these birds, right? It’s such a talent that they can identify the birds just by looking at their feathers, beaks, tails, legs, colors, shape, how they sing and behavior. Interesting, right?

Regular bird watching and learning from reading books about birds will help enthusiasts if they really wanna get involved in this adventure in their lifetime. I would love to make this a regular activity in my entire life, so this first time won’t be the last.

Just to share my first Life List with you, here are the kind of birds that I saw during my first bird watching. I saw a Pied Fantail also known as Maria Capra. it is also a common guest in our home garden, so I’m already quite familiar with this specie. I captured in my lens a pair of Yellow-vented Bulbul. Don’t laugh. It’s really the bird’s name. We also saw Golden-bellied Fly-eater flying above the forests of the sanctuary. We were expecting some migratory birds and more species but because we were told that the mating season is over, these birds might be nesting already and would be hard to catch an eye on them.

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Aside from the birds, I also learned another tree specie called Tibig. According to our tour guide, Tibig is related to the Balete tree family. What’s interesting with the Tibig tree is that when you see a Tibig, it indicates a flowing water underneath. That’s a good indicator for animals and humans too, if they get lost in the forest and found themselves thirsty. All they can do is perhaps dig where the Tibig tree is found. Trivia!

I included this adventure here in our blog because I know traveling is not all about pristine beaches, tremendous mountains, food treasures and such. Bird watching is also what a photographer love to participate – point & shoot is good but a good investment in a wide angle and zoom lenses is more exciting especially when taking a photo of the birds 300 meters away from you. A binocular would be a great help too. Expensive? I guess not. Everybody can still enjoy bird watching even without these gadgets. Just by mere looking at the birds and their behaviors is already a fulfillment.

Bird watching is more fun in the Philippines!

Visit to know more about NUVALI.


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