Saturday, January 28

swamphen crossing

it was a beautiful afternoon in candaba! we had arrived in the afternoon and the skies were blue, a cool wind was blowing and there were birds, birds, birds!

herons and egrets were scattered all over the ponds, and of course there were the ducks. we took our time enjoying the ducks, their numbers already thinning as summer approaches:  a large flock of garganey, several philippine ducks, a few northern shovellers, a couple of tufted ducks, a lone green-winged teal and a pintail hidden in the grass. as the light turned golden with the sunset, we reluctantly made our way back to drew's car with waders flying noisily over our heads.  we were surprised at the number of them flying up from the recently planted rice fields, as they were well hidden by the young rice, we didn't have a clue they were there. as a going-away bonus, we spotted 9 wandering-whistling ducks in the water a few meters from us, bathed in the dying light.

heron & egret central

the ever-skittish philippine ducks

garganey take to the air

wandering-whistling ducks in the golden light

as we made our way from the mayor's house (unusually busy and crowded, they were shooting what seemed like a tv teleserye episode), darkness was falling fast. before the first turn on the dirt road, we were surprised by a large lavender bird in the middle of the road, bathed in the bright of the headlights.

a purple swamphen stood still, seemingly taking stock of the situation. after a few seconds, it must have decided that the unusual light didn't signal danger, and went on foraging on the ground for food, oblivious to our presence. it went on eating, and we watched it from inside the car.  a sleeping cow by the side of the road woke up, probably wondering what was going on with the light.

after several minutes the swamphen reached the far side of the road, and again took a long look at us (well, the car). we slowly inched the car forward, and finally it flew off to disappear in the dark vegetation of the pond.

and to think i always thought night-time birding was reserved for owls and nightjars and frogmouths only! it seems that in candaba, even the night is for the birds!

illuminated by the headlights: a purple swamphen feeding on the dirt road!

and it continues to peck at the ground...

... for several minutes

cow: what's going on? turn off the light! i'm sleeping here!

hello! who are you?

gotta get going! bye!


  1. I love the PUKEKOS! They are so cute!

  2. Same thing happened with a couple of purple swamphens the first time I visited Candaba :D

  3. really? interesting to find out that they're active during the night too.

  4. hmm..maybe just like the ducks,they forage during the evening? :D

  5. most likely. i wonder how many hours a day they sleep?!?

  6. nice talaga. and this bird is huge! good thing the area is "a bit protected"..