Sunday, November 20

birds (& horses)

last weekend when my brother texted me:

"Big flock of birds on the sandy riding pen. Like bulbul, same shape.  Dark brown back, yellow breast. They seem to have white beards. Never saw them before. Hundreds."

i couldn't figure it out immediately but after a few minutes adri said: "wagtails!"

so this weekend, when my brother asked if i wanted to come i immediately said yes! why not?  2 weeks into the semester and i'm already itching to bird! (adri was on a tour) the bonus of seeing beautiful horses wasn't bad either!

it was afternoon when we got to lipa. no wagtails in the riding pen, but hundreds of swallows (pacific and barn) on the wires and roof top.  while george was out riding, carmela dropped in to look at the horses and rescue some piggies (guinea piggies, that is!). unfortunately mela had to go back to work, so i took a long walk to find myself some birds. i did spot a few wagtails but nowhere near hundreds (or even tens).  

can you spot the wagtail in this picture?

we (george joined me later) spotted a pygmy woodpecker, and i was delighted to see a patch of red exposed on its crown, a very rare sight.  cattle egrets flew around the horses (equine egrets???),  coucals slipped into the tall grasses as we passed by them.  near the river, invisible rails would burst into loud cackling.  long tailed and brown shrikes patrolled the borders of the corrals and where they were absent, pairs of pied bushchats kept themselves busy.

swallows in a line

sparrows in a line

mr. bushchat at his post

horses & an (equine) egret

a spot of red in his crown! (you'll have to click on the picture to see it)

by the time we had gotten to the now empty (of horses) riding pen, it was almost dark.  and what did we see? wagtails!  

yellow wagtails in various plumage!  not as many as the last time according to my brother, but still largest flock of them i had ever seen.  i estimated around a hundred of them, strutting about the sandy soil, many of them busy preening.  i did spot a few  sheltering in the shallow hoof marks, which made me think they were settling in for the night.  they reminded me of the waders i had seen in balanga which magically appeared from holes in the drained fishpond as the sun rose.  some of them were in the neighboring grassy pen, carrying out the same activities as their neighbors. walking back and forth, or even standing still, their tails wagged continuously.  as alex t said recently, wasn't it exhausting to be in constant motion? 

yellow wagtails!

and not so yellow-yellow wagtails!

left to right: not so yellow, yellowish and really yellow-yellow wagtails

are they holing up for the night?

preening poses

more of them in the field!

aaack! where's its head?!?!?

as we walked away from the birds i wondered if they were there to stay for the season, or were just passing through.  only another trip later in the season will answer that question! horses and birds... a good combination for a feast for the eyes.

for more pictures of this outing go to:


  1. for some reason, this read gave me goosebumps! let us go birding!!!

  2. Like Like like. papansinin ko na nga yung mga fields samin baka may madiscover ako!

  3. let's!
    at kung ready ka ng mangabayo, ready na din ako! hehe.

  4. melanie! are you back? kelan mo kami isama sa fields nyo?

  5. Uy, ayain niyo naman ako minsan. :)

  6. sa yo nga ako nag papa aya. lagi ka namang wala.