Sunday, December 08, 2013

Can Do Candaba

I nodded vigorously when my wife asked me if I was really up to it. When we were having breakfast at Jollibee's at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) our friend, Bong, was amused that my voice sounded very enthusiastic when we talked over the phone the other day when I told him that we would go birding at Candaba. I assured them that I can do Candaba without any problem as far as my health was concerned.

For one thing Candaba is an easy place to bird - no long walks involved while carrying my heavy photography gear. Actually, most of the birding could be done while inside the vehicle - even better that way, as a matter of fact, because the birds were less spooked.

As we slowly drove in towards the wetlands, the photographs we took of the birds that early morning were taken while were inside our cars.

female Pied Bush Chat
Common Kingfisher
Blue-tailed Bee-eater
As we turned a bend we saw the ducks, mostly Philippine and a few Wandering Whistlings.

Philippine Duck

Wandering Whistling Duck
About an hour later, we came upon the highlight of the day. To our surprise, an immature Lesser Coucal flew from right in front of our car and perched on a branch not that far from us and gave plenty of opportunities to take its picture.

Past the mayor's house, we met fellow birders Melanie and Nicky who informed us that the ducks were just beyond the tower. We got off our vehicles when we got to the tower and viewed in awe the hundreds of ducks in front of us - albeit a bit too far to photograph even with our long lenses. At one point the flock took flight and Cynthia was able to capture that spectacle. Reviewing the photo later I was able to identify the various species in that group: Philippine Ducks were the most plentiful, then there were Wandering Whistling Ducks, Garganeys, a few Northern Shovelers, a number of Tufted Ducks and a single Northern Pintail. Unfortunately, the hoped for and would-be lifer Common Pochard was not among them.

At ten in the morning,we bade our friend Bong farewell because he needed to be home by noon for some family matters. Cynthia and I lingered for another thirty minutes trying to get a decent shot of the various White-breasted Waterhens foraging by the roadside. I said "trying" because everytime we could focus our camera on one a vehicle would come roaring by thus sending our quarry hiding behind the bushes. Patience prevailed and I finally got my chance.

Various egrets were also feeding on a fallow field near the road so we also grabbed that opportunity.

Intermediate or Great Egret?
Little Egret
After that as the heat became unbearable we called it a day. As we were having a leisurely lunch at KFC, my wife asked how I was feeling. I replied that I felt great and reminded her that I vowed that I can do Candaba - and I did.


chinfernandez said...

I hope to go back to Candaba one of these days... Nice trip sir Bob!

Unknown said...

Welcome to Candaba Swamp Wildlife Reserve 2013.