October 25, 2015, Mindanao, Philippines — To transit the relatively short distance between Bohol and Mindanao islands today, Nicky and I bounced up to Manila and back with two connecting flights. They were both delayed, keeping my perfect streak alive: Of six flights I’ve taken this week on Cebu Pacific airlines, all six have been late by at least an hour.
We landed on Mindanao Island in mid-afternoon, still facing a three-hour drive into the mountains, and the day gradually slipped away. By the time Nicky and I arrived at a place called Cinchona Forest Reserve, our birding destination for the next 48 hours, darkness had fallen. We looked for owls after dinner with no success and I ended the day without a single new bird.
Mindanao is bigger than Portugal and is the world’s eighth-most-populated island, with rugged mountains and a somewhat turbulent recent history. The boxer Manny Pacquiao is from Mindanao and when he fought Floyd Mayweather earlier this year, the Philippines was at a standstill. The island’s highlands hold some very nice birds which, it seems, will have to wait until tomorrow.
UPDATE: I woke up at 11:45 this evening with Nicky pounding on my door: “There’s a Mindanao Scops-Owl calling outside!” We ran out with flashlights and managed to spotlight it at 11:58 p.m. while a Giant Scops-Owl called nearby. Whew, two new birds at the very last minute saved me from a zero day after all!
New birds today: 2
Year list: 4990