Wemce, fondly called by family and friends Wem-wem, is a young boy who started birding at the age of 10. It was at the height of the pandemic when he noticed the different birds outside his bedroom window at Monteritz Classic Estates while having an online class.
After asking his aunt about them, he was given the assignment to watch out for the migrant Brown Shrike which normally arrives in the neighborhood by late August or early September. Then for the first time, he saw the Little Egret perched on the tree across their residence. He ran and called his aunt who gave him her old wildlife camera, the Canon Powershot SX50 HS, so he can start documenting the birds he sees.
That was the start of his wildlife love affair, particularly his love for raptors.
Wemce has a bird guide book and he continues to study about birds. Currently, he can identify more than 200 birds and he is very much willing to teach children about the birds he knows.
He has been to the mountains of Surigao del Sur, Bukidnon, Davao Oriental, and Davao del Sur in search of rare birds together with his family.
In Surigao, he was able to photograph the very rare WRITHED HORNBILL which the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed as Near Threatened due to hunting and habitat loss. This bird’s population is continuously declining to date, which deeply saddens him. He is worried that someday, kids like him will no longer be able to see them.
At Mt. Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental, the very rare MINDANAO BOOBOOK or MINDANAO HAWK OWL perched near him. Even if partially hidden, he was very happy that he got a shot of this Mindanao endemic because this specie is already Near Threatened due to habitat loss. Other favorite birds in the same area are the noisy and beautiful MINDANAO HORNBILLS.
At Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon, he was able to take photos of the very rare SOUTHERN SILVERY KINGFISHER. Another Near Threatened species that Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park is protecting.
In September 2022, Wemce together with naturalists from both Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines (WBPP) and Wild Bird Club of the Philippines braved the leech-infested forest of Mt. Kitanglad Range to see for the first the five-month-old Philippine Eagle named "Pamarayeg III". An hour of uphill climb and almost six hours of waiting for Pamarayeg in its habitat taught him patience.
After overcoming his fear of being bitten by leeches, he was so happy because he realized that he can do anything if he puts his mind to it. On that day, he made everyone excited and happy when he pointed out his sighting of the APO MYNA. There have been talks of these birds' presence in a lower elevation. And with Wemce's sighting, he now has proof that it is true. Apo Mynas are also listed as Near Threatened species.
Wemce, despite being the youngest member of the Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines, gave a talk about his Birding Experiences during WBPP's Christmas Party via Zoom.
He was also acknowledged by the Philippine Bird Rarities Commission for his record of the SPOTTED KESTREL on Samal Island in February 2022. It was the Number 1 record in the Island Garden City of Samal and the 4th record in the Philippines. The Spotted Kestrel is a native of Indonesia and a visitor here in our country.
Wemce C. Bueno, just turned 12 years old. The year 2023 is his 2nd year in birdwatching and bird photography. Asked by his family what he wanted for his birthday, he said that he dreams of having a new camera. His old Canon SX50 got some damage when he accidentally rolled down during their Mt. Kitanglad adventure. His other wish is to see the Malkohas which can be found in Luzon.
At a young age, he understands how important nature conservation and preservation is. He hopes to encourage kids like him to enjoy the outdoors, and love nature and the wildlife that lives in it. PR
If you want to learn more about birding, contact Wemce's aunt - Lea C. Walker at Allea Real Estate, Allea Building, Blk 1 Lot 7 Sto. Nino Village, Maa, Davao City. Tel. No. 2939685
Wemce is fully covered to protect himself against leeches during one of his birdings
Apo Myna - another Near Threatened species, found in the mountain forests of Mindanao only.
Brown Breasted Kingfisher, also known as White Throated Kingfisher. It sounds beautiful when it sings. Taken in the mountains of Compostela Valley, Davao de Oro.
Wemce, the youngest bird photographer in the Philippines
Southern Silvery Kingfisher. These very rare species are found in Mindanao only. They are listed as Near Threatened because of habitat loss. Photo taken at Mt. Kitanglad Range, Bukidnon.
Yellow-breasted fruit dove. This species is listed as Least Concern but their population is declining due to habitat loss, hunting, and trapping for illegal wildlife trade. Taken at their farm in Samal Island.
Mindanao Boobook or Mindanao Hawk Owl. Another Near Threatened species. They got lucky when this bird perched near them while they were birding at Mt. Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental.
Violet Cuckoo. In his two years of birding, he only saw this bird once. Took this photo in Surigao del Sur in 2021.
Pamarayeg III is a Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), also known as the Monkey Eating Eagle or Great Philippine Eagle. They are considered as Critically Endangered species. They are endemic to our country an
Philippine Trogon is depicted as the Ibong Adarna in Philippine folklore. They are endemic to our country. This photo was taken in Surigao del Sur.
Mindanao Hornbill. Taken at Mt. Hamiguitan, Davao Oriental
Black Chinned Fruit Dove. Taken at Monteritz Classic Estates, Davao City.
Spotted Kestrel. He found this bird near their house in Samal last year. This sighting was considered the 1st Record in the Island Garden City of Samal and the 4th Record in the Philippines.
Males and one female Mindanao Hornbills. Taken on a rainy and foggy day at Tinuy-an Falls, Surigao del Sur in December 2022. These birds are found in the rainforests of Mindanao.
Pink Necked Green Pigeon. Taken in Samal Island.
Philippine Serpent Eagle. This photo was taken in Cateel, Davao Oriental.
Writhed Hornbill - These birds are endemic to the Philippines and can be found in Mindanao. They are listed as Near Threatened because of their declining number due to habitat loss and hunting. Photo taken in Surig
Buff Spotted Flameback. He took this photo at Mt. Kitanglad Range in Bukidnon.
Black Shouldered Kite. These birds are native to Australia. But we have residents in Bukidnon. He has seen some in Manolo Fortich and in Valencia, Bukidnon.
January 28, 2023
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