Monday, September 30, 2013

Still more waders at IRRI - 30th Sept

The amazing run of waders at IRRI continued today with the appearance of a Temminck's Stint (last seen at IRRI on 3rd Oct 2009), and a Ruff, which is the first IRRI record as far as I know.

No sign of either the Red-necked Phalarope or the Common Redshank from the weekend, but the area of suitable habitat is large so it's possible they're hiding somewhere.

Winter plumaged Temminck's Stint. Quite a rarity here, though certainly dramatically under-reported.
Ruff. Also classified as rare, though I have seen them at Candaba and San Juan.

Friday, September 27, 2013

IRRI is a wader wonderland - 28th Sept

Typhoon Odette left us on early Wednesday morning, promptly followed by the Oriental Plovers which were last seen by me on Tuesday afternoon. Most of the other birds in their field had also left, namely all the Snipe spp. and Oriental Pratincoles. A few Pacific Golden Plovers were all that remained.

The change in weather brought in a new crop of passage birds though, with a Common Greenshank on Friday evening, and on Saturday morning the Common Redshank had been joined by a Red-necked Phalarope and a Kentish Plover. There were also a scattering of Long-toed Stints and Black-winged Stilts as well as hundreds of newly arrived Whiskered Terns.

A second look in the afternoon revealed the long-staying Marsh Sandpiper, as well as a Rufous-necked Stint and lots more Long-toed Stints.

On Sunday most of the above were still present.

Juvenile Red-necked Phalarope. My second of this species at IRRI (the first was on Oct 25th 2011), still a very unusual bird inland in The Philippines.
... the Red-necked Phalarope was still present on Sunday morning.

The Common Redshank is still present, but very flighty.

Kentish Plover. Very scarce at IRRI, and usually in mid-winter.
Common Greenshank in very bad light on Friday evening
Rufous-necked Stint. Another rare, but annual, passage migrant at IRRI that is much commoner at the coast.
Long-toed Stint. Quite a few scattered around today where there were none on Friday.
One of about a dozen Black-winged Stilts present this weekend

Whiskered Terns
 A pair of Red Turtle Doves.

A very cool looking skink in my driveway after a great morning's birding.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Common Redshank at IRRI - 24 Sept

An extremely wet week due to super typhoon Odette which has been keeping us well watered for several days. The Oriental Plovers were still present until Tuesday evening, in the same fields as the end of last week. Many other migrants have landed, including hundreds of Whiskered Terns and Wood Sandpipers. Several Grey Wagtails also arrived, as did a lone Common Redshank, the surprise bird of the week. I've seen them inland here at Candaba, but never before at IRRI.

The ernesti race Peregrine showed again on Monday, in heavy rain. It seems it's hanging about. We'll see what happens when the larger calidus turns up, probably next month.

My first ever Common Redshank at IRRI, long overdue!
While photographing this juvenile Oriental Pratincole the whole flock took off, several hundred birds appearing out of the ploughed field where I had only suspected a dozen or so...
... the culprit was this Peregrine, ssp. ernesti, which I have seen a couple of times over the last few weeks.
It eventually perched high on one of the pylons. Even in its bedraggled state it is clearly a very dark bird, and with a full black hood.
Odette. Pretty name, big ugly storm. Looks like another one just behind it too. No wonder lots of migrant waders take an easterly route over the Pacific.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Week ending 21st Sept - IRRI

Migration continues with the arrival of Pacific Golden Plovers and Whiskered Terns at IRRI. The Oriental Plovers stayed throughout the week, moving around a little in the fields of the upland farm, though only 7 were seen on Monday, and no more than 6 thereafter.

Intermediate Egrets have also arrived probably in response to all the tilling activity going on in the fields. Oriental Pratincoles are staring to gather in large flocks, possibly preparing for the trip south. Large numbers of Yellow Wagtails are everywhere, with a few Grey Wagtails mixed in. There are still a few Blue-tailed Bee-eaters around as well.

Pacific Golden Plover

Adult winter plumaged Oriental Plover.

Adult Stilt, showing characteristics of White-headed Stilt.
 Whiskered Tern
Intermediate Egret
Oriental Pratincole

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Oriental Plovers at IRRI - 15 Sept 2013

On Sunday morning I decided to try and relocate the ernesti Peregrine I had seen the previous day on the upland farms (see here). I tried first at about 6:30 am in heavily overcast conditions, with no luck At about 10:30 the sun came out and I thought I'd have another go. Again there was no sign, but there were a lot of Oriental Pratincoles and Yellow Wagtails about, and my thoughts turned to checking the fields for more migrants. The fields on the upland farm are fallow at the moment, with a lot of maize stubble, and I drove around these thinking idle thoughts of mega migrants when I spotted what looked like a large plover spp. in one of the fields. When I looked at in through the bins my first thought was 'this isn't a Pacific Golden Plover'. A second look  revealed a second and a third bird, one of which was very pale with a strong breast band, and I then realised that I was looking at Oriental Plover, a bird that has been near the top of my Philippine wish list ever since I'd found out I was coming here.

Richard quickly joined me, and we counted a total of 9 birds, though it's possible there were others as they kept on disappearing into the stubble.

The birds were even more confiding on the Monday afternoon. Quite happy to be within 15 metres or so of the car.

This seems to be a juvenile, with a slightly less contrasting supercilium.
This strongly marked bird is possibly a winter plumaged adult

Week ending 14th Sept - IRRI

A good week on the farms, with the Marsh Sandpiper and Black-winged Stilts hanging around. The rains continue, and rallids are much in evidence. The Long-toed Stints from last week didn't linger, but they have been replaced by large numbers of Yellow Wagtails. Oriental Pratincoles and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters are still around. On Saturday afternoon,while walking the dogs (so sans camera unfortunately) I relocated the Peregrine from two weeks ago on the upland farms. This time it was perched on a pylon and was quite clearly of the resident ernesti race, my first on the farms.

White-browed Crake
This Philippine Coucal has just swooped down upon a Spotted Buttonquail in my garden that I was about to take a photograph of!
Buff-banded Rail
Little Egret
Black-winged Stilt juvenile
Juvenile Oriental Pratincole
Marsh Sandpiper, still hanging around...
Chestnut Munia

Adult Black-winged Stilt

Friday, September 6, 2013

Week ending 7th Sept - IRRI

Migration has started in earnest this week. On Saturday we had 3 separate Black-winged Stilts, singles of Long-toed Stint, Snipe spp. and Yellow Wagtail and at least 4 Brown Shrikes. At least one of the Little Grebe chicks has survived though it is very wary and hard to find. No sign of any adults though. A big surprise was a Peregrine shooting through the upland farm and scaring up a large flock of Oriental Pratincoles. A very early date for this migrant.

One of 3 separate Black-winged Stilts on Saturday, all juvenile.
Yellow Wagtail, ssp. tschutschensis
Long-toed Stint
Brown Shrike, looking very smart.