Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pulong Malapad Island and Candaba - 18th February

A mixed day. We started early and tried to get to Pulong Malapad Island, in Manila bay, Pampanga province. If we had set out a mite earlier we might have beaten the Pampanga Municipal and City Engineer Association's tree-planting outing. But we didn't, and consequently there weren't many birds to see! Birds were not totally absent of course. We had a small mixed flock of waders, Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper and Redshank with fly past birds including Whiskered Tern, Little Tern and Black-headed Gull. Great White Egret, Purple Herons and Green-backed Herons also present.

At 11:00 we decided to head across to Candaba, which we did, arriving at 1:00pm. Immediately the birding improved. A group of Red Turtle Doves escorted us along the road and into the reserve proper. The main ponds near the mayor's house had hundreds of Black-crowned Night Heron, Grey Heron and Purple Heron as usual. A pair of Little Grebe were present as was a Philippine Purple Gallinule, and on the pond behind the house was a mixed flock of Philippine Duck, Eurasian Teal, Garganey and Wandering Whistling Duck. We'd been advised as to where the main wintering flock of ducks were by Alex Loinaz who we'd met at the mayor's house, so we headed in that direction. A group of 16 or so Oriental Pratincoles were reluctant to leave the road on the way to the site. Once there we found a huge flock of several thousand ducks. Mostly Philippine Duck (1000+), with large numbers of Garganey (400+), there were also substantial numbers of Pintail (100+) and Wandering Whistling Duck (300+). Also present were 10 or so Eurasian Shoveller and 3 Eurasian Wigeon. Apart from ducks we also found 3 Pheasant-tailed Jacana feeding in the dense floating vegetation, no long tails yet sadly. Further along we found an area of rice fields that had been recently prepared for planting. Plenty of birds here, including Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Log-toed Stint, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover and Black-winged Stilt. Heron spp. included Purple Heron, Great White Egret and Intermediate Egret.

Oriental Pratincole. Very smart looking birds. These are in pristine condition, and seemed to be very attached to a particular patch of road. Possibly they'll try and breed in the middle of the road!

Another Common Kingfisher. Everywhere this week!
Wandering Whistling Duck. Quite a few today in the large duck flock.
Garganey. Several hundred at least in the large flock, mostly in the floating vegetation.
Eurasian Teal. About 20 birds up near the mayor's house.
Pied Bushchat.

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