Our friend and neighbor, Chin Fernandez, PMed me in Facebook asking for directions to the Candaba Wetlands. I replied saying that if he plans to go on Friday, the 26th, I'll go with him. He said yes and so we did. My wife decided to stay at home this time.
The very first bird that we were able to photograph was a Barn Swallow doing its early morning grooming.
Other than that most of the birds (ducks, herons and egrets) were so far off that it was difficult to take pictures of them. Every so often a flock would fly and circle around the area. That was when Chin and I were able to practice our BIF (birds in flight) techniques. Black-crowned Night Herons were aplenty.
Surprisingly, a flock of about 15 Northern Pintails participated in the flight displays.
Of course, what would Candaba be without the endemic Philippine Ducks.
The Ardeids were more individualized in their flights. Such as this Purple Heron.
The Intermediate Egret..
..and the Little Egret.
What made our day was when fellow Wild Bird Club member Randy Weisser informed us that there were four (!) Eurasian Wigeons - one male and three females - in the pond near the entrance to the wetlands. Actually, he and his family were birding in that area while Chin and I were closer to the Mayor's House patiently monitoring a pair of Purple Swamphens gather nesting materials.
I was surprised when I saw their van coming towards us. "I thought they already left," I told Chin. The van stopped next to me. Maria, Randy's wife, showed me a Kennedy Guide opened to the page showing the ducks. "If you want to see the Eurasian Wigeons, I'll show them to you," she said, pointing to the illustration of that particular species. I quickly informed Chin of the good news. We boarded his SUV and followed the Weissers. Randy was sitting on a stool peering through his spotting scope when we arrived. He pointed at the flotilla of ducks on the farthest pond. "They're there." he assured us. After some serious scanning using my long lens, I found them! Chin had to look through Randy's spotting scope to check the exact spot where the rare migrants were.
Having done their good deed for the day, the Weissers continued on their birding around the wetlands. We thanked them profusely as we enjoyed our bird of the day.
Everything was sort of anti-climactic after that. We were on the way out and I was lamenting the fact that we had not seen waders at all. "Where are the Sandpipers, Plovers, Stints and Stilts?" It was more a sad statement than a question. Then as serendipity would have it, a small group of Little Ringed Plovers and a single Wood Sandpiper paraded on the fallow fields to our right.
For us it was just a so-so day except for the uncommon Eurasian Wigeon. Who would have thought that there would be 4 of them in Candaba. It would have been a sad day of birding for us had it not been for the Weisser family. We sincerely express our gratitude to them for that.
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