Monday, February 18, 2013

Peeps Avenue

It was quite unexpected. Seeing so many peeps on the fallow fields as we were about to leave the Candaba Wetlands. However, as fate would have it, the light was so harsh from the noonday sun that our resulting photos were all "documentary" in quality. Still it was such a pleasant surprise to see these tiny brown birds, some of which were already donning their breeding plumages, in a tiny patch of muddy field.

Little Ringed Plover
Long-toed Stint
Kentish Plover
But then it was a day of unexpected encounters. While Peter and Irene were photographing the Chestnut Munias and Striated Grassbirds, Cynthia and I were treated to a "show" by a nonchalant Clamorous Reed Warbler. We called our friends and pointed to them the friendly bird. 

From there we moved on towards the Mayor's house. As we were negotiating a corner, Peter asked, "what is that on the tree?" We all looked at the tall trees beside us and saw nothing. "That tree!" Peter pointed to a skinny branch protruding from an equally frail growth. We all looked and saw an incongruous brown thing perched near the top of the "tree". It couldn't be a bittern I thought to myself, for no self-respecting bittern would expose so much of itself at so high a place. And this bird is not big enough to be a Grey or Purple Heron. 

We all alit from the car to get a better look. Then exclamation points popped above my head! Of course, it had to be a Pond Heron! Javan, most likely, for isn't it that one was found here at just about the same time two years ago? Eventually the bird flew off and we saw it again later at the "Mayor's pond" busily hunting for food.

As were about to board the car to continue on our way, I noticed another bird sticking its neck and upper body out of a huge bush. I walked towards and was surprised to have a "first sighting" here in Candaba - it was a juvenile Woodcock! 

On the way to the "Mayor's pond" we stopped by the haunts of the Dusky Warbler. It wasn't long when Irene heard the distinct "tschack, tschack". Unexpectedly, the tiny Warbler stopped its skulking and posed for a few seconds, preening under the densest of shrubs.

Also, for the first time in Candaba, we saw a Lesser Coucal bask in the early morning sun. 

As the midday sun beat mercilessly on us, we decided to call it a day. That was when we had that fateful encounter with the SSPs (Sandpipers, Stints and Plovers). Because of that I thought of naming that road Peeps Avenue. Quite appropriate if I may say so myself.

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