Our time birding on Palawan was cut short. We had planned 2 and a half days but only managed an hour and a half on the first morning as our baby went sick (ok now) so we decided to change flights and return home early. There wasn’t much pressure from a birding point of view as I had seen most Palawan specialities on a previous visit. We definitely made the right decision as apparently on the day we had normally planned our return home tropical storm Sendong (Washi) slashed into southern Philippines leaving hundreds dead and 125000 people affected by flooding and devastation in Cagayan de Oro. No heavy weather came through were we live but it would certainly have left us stuck travelling and preventing us to get home for a while.
Anyway, in the morning of December 13th 2011 my wife and myself accompanied by local guide Arding went to a location called Zigzag. It has some easy roadside birding near Puerto Princesa that we could fit in before our flight. How much time does one need? 1 hour in this case proved enough for me to find an imm. Tiger Shrike. Which looks like it has not been recorded in Philippines since 1887? All my luck for the whole originally planned trip compressed into 60 minutes!
I found the bird perched up on some dead branches in the open forest next to the road. Put the scope on it and made photos. I knew immediately it was a Tiger Shrike as I’m familiar with it from sightings in Thailand, didn’t had a clue though about its status in Philippines. When I showed the bird to Arding, he had no clue what it would be and I knew we had to check Arding’s lifer in the book to see it had ever been recorded before in Philippines. Well it had, the field guide by Kennedy et al. mentions 1 record back in 1887 on 8 April of that year on Jolo in the Sulu archipelago. It's hard to find anything about that first sighting, I would assume though, in 1887, the poor Shrike must have been caught and killed rather than observed through binoculars. No need for me to describe the bird in 2011, it’s all in the photo below. Thank you Tiger to honour the Philippines with a visit again. Cheers!
Imm. Tiger Shrike, photo taken 13 Dec 2011, 07h52
GPS location on Zigzag road near Puerto Princesa, Palawan
N 09° 38.340’ E 118° 43.163’
photo Stijn De Win