Birding at Apo Golf

YES, Apo Golf & Country Club is not just a place to dream of birdies, eagles, and the rare albatross. It is also a go-to place to look for real birds!

This venerable golf course with its towering 50-year-old trees is home not just to the usual, garden-variety birds. The Grey-faced Buzzard, a raptor that is close to half a meter in length, regularly spends time somewhere at the back nine. With snakes and small mammals being part of its regular diet, golfers should thank this bird for its contribution in controlling the snake population.

Likewise a bunch of the very colorful kilyawan or Black-naped Oriole roams around the back nine fairways and greens. They actually love to feed on the fruit of specific trees though I would rather not disclose it lest they become victims to poaching. The golf course may be properly guarded but a determined poacher will always find a way to trap them.

Cuckoos, shrikes, crows, barbets, even egrets – they all made Apo Golf either their full-time home or at least, a sort of “vacation place” – a stopover point in their annual migratory voyage.

Birds are not just enjoyable to look at and photograph. They play a vital ecological role serving as critical links within the food chain. I definitely prefer to have more birds than bees and frogs (aside from snakes) inside the course. In addition, an afternoon golfer like me is undoubtedly happy to see swallows and swifts swooping and gliding, eagerly consuming mosquitoes and other insects that would otherwise make my game miserable.

Many regular golfers need not even buy any equipment to enjoy looking at these birds. You can always turn your scope-type range finder into a handy monocular (or maybe, that’s a good justification to the hubby on why you need to buy a range finder). Birding while golfing is actually good for the game. Better to enjoy the birds and the scenery than to fret over your last double bogey.

Want to know more about birds and birding? Check out the 'Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP)–Davao' or the 'Philippine Bird Photography forum' on Facebook. Better yet, ask about the free birding introduction of WBCP-Davao held every first Saturday of the month on Facebook page.(Martin Y. Pineda)

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