Tungtong River Conservation Project

an environmental advocacy of the Holistic Education and Development Center

Category: Research Projects (Page 1 of 6)

Hoos that? (New bird record for Tungtong, 20 Jun 2016)

IMG_3220The security and maintenance staff of a grocery store near to TRCP’s host school of Holistic Education and Development Center gave to us a Philippine Scops-Owl (Otus megalotis) that they found in their parking lot.  They reportedly saw the owl dropping from a nearby tree.

Upon examination, we did not find any obvious injuries so after documenting and getting morphometric data, we kept the owl in a cage with water.  We tried feeding it with a small lab mouse but it didn’t want to (maybe because it was noon time?).  We released the owl by dusk and it flew to a nearby cluster of bamboo trees and stayed perched for some time before flying off.  Unfortunately, we were unable to collect blood feathers for DNA fingerprinting and had no access to a bird tag at the time.

Bill length – 20mm; Bill depth – 18mm; Wing length – 190mm; Tail length – 95mm; Tarsus length – 50mm; 250 g

This is exciting for us since it confirms the presence of the species in the Tungtong River watershed.  We’ve been hearing them for sometime and even receiving anecdotal reports of sightings but this is the first time that we have concrete proof.

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Many thanks to Sir Ton Nakpil (HEDCen’s Multimedia and Information Technology Subject Area Coordinator) for the cool pictures!  Teacher Rubby Alcaraz (HEDCen’s Math Coordinator) and Sir Henry Calilung (TRCP Coordinator) took morphometric data while some Grade 2 and 3 students looked on.

PS If anyone out there has an alternative ID, we’d be glad to hear from you.

Makes me wish TRCP had a real camera! (18-second Spotted Wood Kingfisher clip)

SAM_2519It was an ordinary school day when an out-of-breath student called me out of the faculty lounge to go to HEDCen’s Sampaloc Garden.  She said they spotted a kingfisher.  I ran out with her and was treated to a full 3-minute viewing of a Spotted Wood sitting on the garden’s fence.  I was amazed that this normally reclusive bird stayed in the open so long in spite of the noise (the garden is surrounded by Grade 5, Grade 7 and HSIII classes so you can just imagine the ambient noise).  I borrowed the school’s point-and-shoot and this is what I got (obviously no tripod; I know, the clip is LOUSY!).  This sighting made me wish so bad that the TRCP had a more capable digital SLR!

O well, any birder out there willing to come over and shoot some videos?  This bird doesn’t show up regularly though and we’ve only seen it thrice in the garden.  But who knows?  I don’t really monitor its comings and goings but if it can sit-out in the open when the garden is reverberating with the joyful noise of children learning, then perhaps it will come on a quiet Sunday or Saturday morning…

PS The clip was taken last Monday, March 3 at 8 in the morning.

Merpeople at work? Nah, just hard-core environmental scientists goofing around ;-)

HEDCen’s very own merpeople, the 4th yr High School Fish Team are composed of 7 students who have chosen to make a scientific survey of the river’s ichthyofauna (that’s scientific gush for F-I-S-H for the non-merpeople out there).  They are Nicole Salvador (team leader), Raffy Aligaen, Ice Cedro, Edward de Leon, Tomas Eom, Nikko Nackaerts and Vincent Valera.  They are building on the work of last year’s Expo Fish Group who were then 3rd yr students Raffy Aligaen, Ice Cedro, Ria Garcia, and Sarah Kim.

From left: Raffy Aligaen, Ice Cedro, Nicole Salvador, Dr. Francis Magbanua, Vincent Valera, Edward de Leon, and Nikko Nackaerts

From left: Raffy Aligaen, Ice Cedro, Nicole Salvador, Dr. Francis Magbanua, Vincent Valera, Edward de Leon, and Nikko Nackaerts

Meeting the expert

Like all studies done in earnest, they began with getting advice.  They interviewed ichthyobiologist Dr. Francis Magbanua of the University of the Philippines, Diliman.  Dr. Francis discussed with them basic techniques in surveying the fish of a river system like Tungtong.  He even provided a printed compilation of common fishing gear used in the Philippines.

The photos have been archived at the TRCP Facebook page (follow this link).

Preparing the gear

The Fish Team lost no time in getting their act together.  Fortunately, Nicole’s dad, Mr. Salvador, is an avid fisherman hobbyist and was able to help them procure what was needed.

The photos have been archived at the TRCP Facebook page (follow this link).

To the basin!

Under the watchful eye and technical supervision of Mr. Rodel (assistant of Mr. Salvador), the team tried out fishing (first time for everyone except Nicole).

The photos have been archived at the TRCP Facebook page (follow this link).

Now that their methodology has been dry-run, the team is now set to gather data and to scientifically assess one of the more important aspects of Tungtong River’s underwater life.  Cheers and good luck!

Future environmental chemists: ES7 class participates in water quality monitoring

The Environmental Science Grade 7 class of HEDCen (AY 2013-2014) went to the river last October 10, 2013 and checked the pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, total dissolved solids and salinity of the river.

Along the road and down the trail.. we follow the river as it flows..

The trek to the river is in itself full of fun and adventure.  The students were given field lectures when interesting flora and fauna are encountered.  The little bit of rappelling down to the river basin was enough to thrill even the most out-going of the children.  Safety was, of course, our top priority but a very close second is the sense of wonder and respect for nature that should be inherent in every outdoor trip.

The photos have been archived at the TRCP Facebook page (follow this link).

Dipping instruments, getting wet.. Doing science and having fun..  Is there any other way to learn?

This class is part of TRCP’s campaign to educate Filipino youth into tomorrow’s environmentalists at the same time gathering vital data in its effort to regularly monitor the water quality of the Tungtong River.  As these young ones learn the basics of water ecology, it is hoped that they also develop that passion to pursue a career centered around preserving what’s left of our Philippine environment.

The photos have been archived at the TRCP Facebook page (follow this link).

Working hard, playing hard, laughing hard.. Just another day in HEDCen’s Tungtong River Conservation Program

TRCP seeks to actualize HEDCen’s motto of “Better People, Better Earth.”  This task is quite easy especially when children have already warmed up to the desire to do something concrete for their Mother Earth.  Trips to the river- whether to get scientific data, to haul trash, or to simply paint a picture have always been one of the most anticipated highlights to a HEDCen child’s regular school year.  We at TRCP pray that the desire to be with Mother Nature continues to grow in their child-like hearts even as they become adults and leaders of this country.

The photos have been archived at the TRCP Facebook page (follow this link).

When luck becomes scientific

IMG_3059

From left: Arturo Alleje (Grade 8), Mariah Dichoso, Teacher Rubby Alcaraz, Zoren Valmonte, and Jowb Borja (all Grade 7)

Our regular school routine last June 25 was interrupted by the entrance of an immature Brush Cuckoo (Cacomantis variolosus) caught in the kitchen of our very own Center Director Teacher Emma Gutierrez.  She sent the bird to the Tungtong River Conservation Project staff at the Holistic Education and Development Center (host school of the TRCP) for study.

I received the bird and, along with Teacher Rubby (Physics, Math teacher and bird enthusiast) and some wide-eyed students, took the necessary measurements, fed it with sugar water and released it.

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This lucky capture is significant for us because it confirms the presence of the Brush Cuckoo in the watershed.  I sighted an adult two years ago but the encounter was too brief for a confident ID.  Now we can be sure of the species’ record.  Indeed, this serves as a classic example of Lady Luck favoring scientific discoveries.  

It seems that Teacher Emma’s kitchen harbors plenty of good luck (she also caught a Luzon Scops Owl there:  see related post here).  Cheers!

To learn more about the Brush Cuckoo, visit the following links:

BirdLife International

Birdwatch.ph (Official site of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines)

Here's looking at you

The Philippine Frogmouth recently discovered in the Tungtong River watershed is becoming very popular among bird photographers.  The latest to visit us is Atty. Ramon J. Quisumbing who dropped by yesterday morning for a quick photo shoot.  The result is an unforgettable mother and child capture:

Phil frogmouth RJ Quisumbing watermarkedThe chick has now moulted its newborn plumage of white to one of salt and pepper.  Pretty soon, it will start learning how to fly and fend for itself.  Cheers Sir RJ for the shot!

Sir RJ Quisumbing is not a newcomer to the Tungtong River.  His first visit was with a group of bird photographers from the Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines (WBPP) led by Sir Olan last March 10, 2012.

To see previous posts, click:

New birder in Tungtong and new record for me!

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer.  It sings because it has a song.

To learn more about the Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines, visit their page here.

Capturing Nature's Works of Art

No one produces better imagery than Nature herself.  Any landscape or wildlife artist can attest to this.  The challenge lies in immortalizing the image, complete with all its splendor, in ink, paint, or in pixels.  I would like to share with you the following photos of Mr. Alain Del B. Pascua who once again was able to capture Nature’s works of art in glorious bytes.

Mr. Alain del Pascua visited the Tungtong River watershed last June 1 accompanied by fellow bird photographers Rocky Sison, Roy De Guzman Daantos and Jigger John Delgado (Roy and Jigger are Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines who came all the way from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).

elegant_tit_ADBP4491The Elegant Tit (Periparus elegans) is a Philippine endemic that is commonly found throughout the archipelago.  It is a small (4.5″) perching bird (passerine) that mainly feeds on small fruits and insects.

philippine_frogmouth_ADBP3786The Philippine Frogmouth (Batrachostomus septimus) is also a Philippine endemic.  Though widely distributed throughout the islands, it is rather an uncommon bird to spot much less photograph.  The Philippine frogmouth spends most of the day in the classic camouflage pose shown above- it looks just like a dead branch to the untrained observer.  A night hunter, the frogmouth is known to eat grasshoppers, cicadas, crickets, beetles and other such small animals making it a valuable predator, helping to maintain balance in the forest environment.

phil frogmouth chickThe photo is even rarer since the chick of the nesting adult can be seen.

The presence of the Philippine frogmouth in the Tungtong River watershed further highlights the importance of preserving this 3km square riparian ecosystem.  These masterful photos of Mr. Alain fuels our drive to protect, restore and conserve our adopted river watershed.

For works of Mr. Alain posted here in the TRCP blog, click:

Photos of Tungtong River birds

Plain Bush-hen video

For more samples of his digital art, click:

www.alainpascua.smugmug.com

To learn more about birding in the Philippines, visit:

Wild Birds of the Philippines Gallery

Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines (WBPP)

To learn about the Holistic Education and Development Center (parent school of the Tungtong River Conservation Project), visit:

HEDCen Media

Bird Survey done by LDS YOUTH Cainta 2nd Ward Environmental Camp, May 3, 2013

A total of 18 species was documented.  Of the 18, 7 were Philippine endemics.

The following images were taken from the internet.  Although, we did our best to cite our sources, we would appreciate immediate notification should you notice anything amiss.  Thank you.

HEDCen Science in Mindanao – Diversity of Birds in Maharlika and Beverly Hills by Jibril Cabiles

urlThis is the video of the High School Scientific paper presentation delivered by Jibril Cabiles in the 22nd Annual Symposium of the Wildlife Conservation Society of the Philippines held last April 16 to 20, 2013 at the Central Mindanao University, Musuan, Bukidnon.

The research behind this report was done by Bea (Jibril) along with her group mates Frances Briñas, Basil Nacionales, and Harry Shon.

Bea is a High School graduate of the Holistic Education and Development Center batch 2012-2013.

—–o—–

Go back to Day 2 – Opening Program

Proceed to Day 4 – Awarding of Best Scientific Paper Presentations

View Institutional Posters’ Exhibit

View presentation of Juan Angelo Frejas (Philippine Flying Dragon)

View presentation of Nicole Cabuquit (Tungtong River Microbats)

View presentation of TinTin Capulong (The Asian Palm Civet of Tungtong River)

HEDCen Science in Mindanao – The Philippine Flying Dragon by Juan Angelo Frejas

header-picThis is the video of the High School Scientific paper presentation delivered by Juan Angelo Frejas in the 22nd Annual Symposium of the Wildlife Conservation Society of the Philippines held last April 16 to 20, 2013 at the Central Mindanao University, Musuan, Bukidnon.

The research behind this report was done by Elo along with his group mates Gideon Fajardo, Denzi Moraleta and RM Udarbe.

Elo is a High School graduate of the Holistic Education and Development Center batch 2012-2013.

—–o—–

Go back to Day 2 – Opening Program

Proceed to Day 4 – Awarding of Best Scientific Paper Presentations

View Institutional Posters’ Exhibit

View presentation of Jibril Cabiles (Bird diversity)

View presentation of Nicole Cabuquit (Tungtong River microbats)

View presentation of TinTin Capulong (The Asian Palm Civet of Tungtong River)

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