Sunday, January 06, 2019

Lucky 13

With the sun shining beautifully that morning, we thought that the road to the back ponds of Candaba would be dry and accessible. It wasn't. Thanks to Bong's 4-wheel drive SUV, and his driver Rudy's expertise and determination, we somehow made it at least to the former mayor's house. Another sad thing was the dearth of birds. What used to be wetlands had been converted to rice fields. The lack of sufficient bodies of water resulted in only a few birds staying there. In our 3 hours or so of birding we only managed to photograph 13 - only 13 - species.

On our way in, some Intermediate Egrets were hunting for food on the still unplowed field.

Ahead of us a pair of White-breasted Waterhens were looking warily at us. One of them stayed long enough for us to get a few shots.

At the mayor's house, Cynthia was able to photograph an Arctic Warbler, while I was shooting at a Long-tailed Shrike.

We all agreed not to go beyond the mayor's house afraid of going through worse road conditions. Besides, we met birding friend Irene who told us that there was a Pied Harrier near the fork coming from the entrance. We went to the said place and thankfully there were some birds there that were flying about. The most common was the Black-crowned Night Heron.

Then there were the Purple Herons as well.

Cynthia was lucky enough to get some good shots of the Philippine Ducks flying at a distance.

Little Egrets also joined the flying group.

We did see the Harrier but were unable to get a good shot at it. Chestnut Munias were quite plenty and were perching near the road.

A Lesser Coucal was out sunning.

Cynthia also got a shot of two Turtledoves. No, we didn't see a Partridge on a pear tree.

Before going home we decided to go by the provincial road because Bong wanted to take some photos of Pied Bush Chats. After some driving around we eventually saw them -both male and female.

I, on the other hand, wanted a Striated Grassbird, which strangely enough, we never saw inside the "wetlands". It was already on our way back that I finally got what I hoped for.

It's so sad that birds were getting fewer and fewer here in what was once one of the prime birding places in Luzon. We were lucky to even get 13 species!

Many, many thanks to our friend, Bong, for inviting us to go birding with him to Candaba. We appreciate it very much!