Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bee-eaters of Subic Bay

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

On the afternoon of March 3rd we spent a few hours bird watching around Hill 394 in the Subic Bay Freeport area. Subic Bay served as the location of a U.S. Naval base from the early 1900s until 1992, at which point the land was turned back over to Filipino control. Because of its years as a military base, there are large areas of undeveloped habitat at Subic Bay, and it's become a well-known destination for local and visiting bird watchers.

In the warm, late-afternoon sun, we enjoyed a nice list of birds, but the highlight for me were the encountered with blur-throated bee-eaters. Bee-eaters are specialists in catching flying insects, as their name suggests. In taxonomic terms, bee-eaters fall between the kingfishers and the hornbills and hoopoes. They are colorful birds with long central tail streamers and finely pointed, decurved bills. And they are often seen perched in the open on a wire or fence, waiting for a hapless insect to pass by.

On our final birding stop at Subic we found a nesting colony of blue-throated bee-eaters along the roadway in a residential neighborhood. They excavate their nests in earthen banks and other locations with dry, sandy soil. There were at least 25 bee-eaters buzzing around. I could have stayed there all afternoon taking pictures. Sadly, our schedule would not permit it, so we all snapped a few images (and I took a short video) and we were off to the hotel and dinner.

Such cool birds! Wish we had them in North America!


On March 18, 2009 at 6:00 PM OpposableChums said...

Yikes! Those are beautiful! And that second shot is an award winner.

On March 19, 2009 at 8:37 AM Julie Zickefoose said...

I adore the two bee-eaters all cuddled up on the wire. And the video is an apt illustration of what a fleeting encounter you had with these gorgeous birds. How I wish you'd been able to linger. The more I travel, the more I appreciate the time to linger.

On March 19, 2009 at 12:15 PM littleorangeguy said...

Such cool birds and such fabulous pictures!

On March 19, 2009 at 1:57 PM Rondeau Ric said...

Hill 394 sounds so Korean War to this old fart.
Cool birds.

On November 21, 2009 at 9:46 AM Anonymous said...
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On December 4, 2009 at 10:35 PM Tabib said...

Now I can see more familiar birds in this blog. ;)