Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tibsoc, Negros Occidental - 30 Dec

A flying visit to this excellent coastal site after a family holiday in Sipalay provided some fantastic birding. Star bird was definitely Nordmann's Greenshank. I found what I believe to be two separate birds. Combined with the sightings last winter (up to 3 seen during February 2013 by Rob Hutchinson et al) it looks like Tibsoc may be a regular wintering ground for this endangered wader.

The bulk of the waders comprised large flocks of Black-tailed Godwits and Great Knots, with smaller numbers of many other species with them. Of particular interest were Asian Dowitcher, Chinese Egret, Red Knot and Caspian Tern. A full list of waterbirds were:

Chinese Egret (4)
Great Egret
Little Egret
Javan Pond Heron
Grey Plover
Pacific Golden Plover
Kentish Plover
Lesser Sand-Plover
Greater Sand-Plover
Far Eastern Curlew
Bar-tailed Godwit (20)
Black-tailed Godwit (1000+)
Common Redshank
Common Greenshank
Nordmann's Greenshank (2)
Marsh Sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper (1)
Ruddy turnstone (3)
Asian Dowitcher (30)
Red Knot (3)
Great Knot (1000+)
Rufous-necked Stint
Curlew Sandpiper (50)
Black-headed Gull (3)
Caspian Tern (3)
Black-naped Tern
Great Crested Tern
Gull-billed Tern
Little Tern
Whiskered Tern

In addition a trip to the fish-ponds on the opposite side of the national highway produced Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper and Long-toed Stints.

An excellent resource for planning a trip to this site is Christian Perez's report in the March 2013 issue of ebon. Faith Paas, mentioned in the ebon post was a fantastic guide and companion, going far out of her way to make me feel welcome, and showing me the various sites.

Nordmann's Greenshank. First spotted feeding actively beyond the mudflats at the sea shore, it moved a couple of times then disappeared.

A nearby Common Greenshank neatly illustrates the principal differences between the two similar species. Nordmann's has noticeably shorter, sturdier, yellower legs, a deeper based two-toned bill and an overall stockier appearance.
At the end of the morning as I was leaving the mudflats I found what looks to be a second Nordmann's Greenshank.
Great Knot were particularly numerous, with groups scattered throughout the mudflats.
A small number of Curlew Sandpipers were spread thinly amongst the flocks.
Small numbers of Red Knot can usually be found with the Great Knot in The Philippines.

The most numerous waders were Black-tailed Godwits.
Mixed in with the Black-tailed Godwits and Great Knot were a smaller number of Asian Dowitchers
Only a small number of Bar-tailed Godwits.
Far Eastern Curlew
3 Caspian Terns were in with the main tern flock on the sand-bar...
... along with a small number of Swift Terns
Presumed winter plumaged Javan Pond Heron. The status of the two species of Pond Heron (Javan & Chinese) in The Philippines is unclear to me. There has clearly been substantial range expansions of both species since the publication of Birds of The Philippines. Comments as the the identity of this bird would be welcome.
Chinese Egret


  1. Nice to see both the wintering Nordmann's...and the other waterbirds as well. I tend to think of only endemics in the jungle when I think of the Phillippines. (Which is entirely my fault, I know.)

  2. Almost everyone does, which is one of the reasons I decided to start this blog! Just spreading the message of patch birding...