The Philippines: Mindanao Pre-trip: Jan 30—Feb 08, 2020
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Price: To Be Announced.
Tour Limit: 6
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
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The island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines is home to many endemics and offers currently the only realistic chance to see the Great Philippine Eagle. By visiting several of the best birding sites, we hope to catch up with as many of these endemics (most of which are very threatened) as possible. Mindanao also offers the best chance to see a number of Philippine endemics that are more difficult elsewhere in the archipelago. We also hope to find some rare winter visitors from China and Japan, if we are lucky.
A large island with a huge roll-call of spectacular endemics, Mindanao does not offer easy birding. To enjoy this trip, you will need to be fit, capable of walking uphill, and prepared to be up early and ready to try to find some genuinely challenging birds that will take considerable patience, although once in good habitat, we will certainly encounter a lot of birds. However, the rewards are impressive—none more so than a good chance to encounter the Great Philippine Eagle. Beyond the eagle we hope to see Bukidnon Woodcock, Rufous and Writhed hornbills, Mindanao Racket-tail, Azure-breasted Pitta, Mindanao Wattled Broadbill, Black-and-cinnamon Fantail, Celestial Monarch, Apo Myna, Red-eared Parrotfinch, Cinnamon Ibon, and White-cheeked Bullfinch to mention a few of the specialty birds. On this trip we will explore the eastern section of the island. We will spend three nights at Mount Kitanglad at a comfortable, well-positioned jungle camp; three nights based out of Bislig exploring PICOP, a once vast forestry concession; and a night at Davao in the foothills of Mount Talomo. We hope to find a very good cross-section of the endemic birds and hopefully some real global rarities. This pre-trip will be followed by the considerably less demanding Easy Philippines tour.
This is not your typical VENT departure, as we will be in some wild and remote locations with few modern conveniences. Participants will need to be fit, and capable of walking uphill on often muddy trails and staying in rustic overnight accommodations for the Philippine Eagle. In PICOP and Davao we will stay in the best hotels available. Very early starts will be normal at PICOP with no chance for midday siesta. Group size will be limited to six. The food is good, and all birding will be from trails and roads. In the mountains expect cool and pleasant conditions with a good chance of rain; in the lowlands, warm to hot and humid with a good chance of rain.