Sunday, October 27, 2019


After a rather long hiatus from  birding, my wife and I decided to return to our hobby. The place we agreed to go back to was the Candaba wetlands. The last time we visited this place was in early January of this year. We were disappointed that time having photographed a total of only 13 species. We hoped we would be luckier this time.

The very first bird we encountered was the Purple Heron. As it turned out this would be the bird of the day - having encountered it at different places.

As I negotiated the challenging deeply rutted dirt road, we were frustrated by surprising skittishnesss of both the Zebra Doves and Red Turtledoves. We would see them feeding on the grounds ahead of us but everytime we stopped to take their photos they would fly away. And this happened a lot of times! Rather surprising because in our previous trips here both species would remain on the ground unperturbed by our presence.

At least one of their cousins, a Spotted Dove, posed long enough for us to be able to take a shot at it.

The area near the entrance was a fallowed farmland and completely devoid of avian population. As we neared the "wetlands" the Whiskered Terns were as usual flying around. Again, we only saw a few individuals where there used to be hundreds of them before.

Good thing a family of Common Moorhens were out searching for food.

We also encountered three species of bitterns but only managed to get photos of two: the Cinnamon and the Yellow. The Black Bittern made a quick flyby, landed on a clump of tall grass and completely disappeared from view.

Cinnamon Bittern
Yellow Bittern
A White-breasted Waterhen walked across the road and stopped just before going in the shrub.

A little further up the road, Cynthia noticed some movement by the tall grass. "Coucal!" she said softly. Unfortunately, the large bird skulked behind the reeds and never showed itself in full view.

As we approached the pond which was now almost dry, we were glad to see several members of the Ardeidae family: the Cattle Egret, Little Egret, and Intermediate Egret. 

Cattle Egret
Little Egret
Intermediate Egret
Since there wasn't that much water the colony of Black-crowned Night Herons was no longer there. Actually we were surprised when we saw one juvenile fly over.

When we were just about to get to the "mayor's house" I noticed that the ruts on the road was definitely not accessible, especially since our car isn't a 4-wheel drive. So we thought it prudent to just turn around.

At the provincial road, we got photos (and not so good ones even) of two of four regulars usually seen here: the Striated Grassbird and the Long-tailed Shrike. Unlike before, the Pied Bush Chat and Chestnut Munias were too far off for us to even get a decent shot.

Striated Grassbird
Long-tailed Shrike
After about 3 hours we decided to call it a day. A few meters down the road I saw some waders in the shallow waters. Let me just say that we got some bonus albeit all photos were only of the "documentary" type inasmuch as our subjects were too far off from the roadside. At least we know that some migrants such as the Marsh Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt, Long-toed Stint and even a Little Ringed Plover still come to this place.

Marsh Sanpiper
Wood Sandpiper
Black-winged Stilt

Long-toed Stint
Although we got better results now than we had early this year, it was still heartbreaking that the number of species and the quantity of birds had declined sharply this year.

From our home to this place took us about an hour-and-a-half when we left at around 4:30 in the morning. The return home took almost five hours as we had to endured the horrendous traffic situation in MetroManila, particularly along EDSA. It was such a traumatic experience that we probably would never come back to Candaba again.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Here Comes the Sun..bird.

It was only half past six in the morning and the sun was already shining brightly. As Cynthia and I did our morning routine of walking around our condo grounds our hopes were high that we would encounter more birds than usual.

Unfortunately, our "bad luck" seems to have not ended yet. We did some birds - four species to be exact, but the only one who had been more cooperative in posing for us was the female Olive-backed Sunbird.

We got some documentary shots of the migrant Brown Shrike

and the ubiquitous Yellow-vented Bulbul.

Surprisingly, the ever present Eurasian Tree Sparrows were a bit skittish this time and we never got even one shot at them.

Despite all these, we always count our blessings. Just as the sun constantly rises in the east, so our passion for bird photography remains the same.