Sunday, April 8

the mayor's OTHER ponds

the most popular birdwatching site in candaba where many birders gather to enjoy flocks of migratory and resident ducks is actually private property owned by the mayor of the town.  he had set aside part of his private estate, allowing it to remain undeveloped for agricultural use, thus retaining the original swamp ecosystem.

on my personal record-breaking 5th visit to candaba for the year, i volunteered to help out jops & maia guide 4th grade students on their field trip for their ecosystems module.  veteran birder peter, who had just recently moved to the philippines, joined us as well.

at the main pond, we pointed out the large black-crowned night heron rookery and purple herons to the kids, their parents and their teacher. the black-crowned night herons were at the height of breeding plumage, looking very handsome indeed- something that would be true for many of the birds we saw that day. some grey herons were also seen with the other herons.

we moved to the duck pond, and saw hundreds of philippine duck plus wandering whistling duck.  there was also a lone male tufted duck with 4 females.  a few pheasant tailed jacanas sported their pheasant tails, which waved like flags as the foraged in the floating vegetation, tails held high. the boys excitedly took turns trying to spot the birds on the scope, while the girls quietly took down notes and asked maia questions.  a peregrine falcon flying over was quickly spotted by one of the boys.

at noon, our guests were getting hungry and happy with their lifers.  one of the kids, mark, even asked his teacher: can we go at 4pm? he was enjoying the outdoors so much! after expressing their thanks, they soon left jops, maia, peter and myself to continue birding on our own.

we were keen on exploring a site reported earlier by alex l, and it seemed like the place to be since even the mayor's people had suggested that we go there.  "pero ducks lang makikita nyo dun," they said.

ducks were good enough reason for us, and with careful directions from alex l and the people at the mayor's, we were on our way.

many of the birds were looking handsome at this time of the year, and we admired them on the dirt roads to our destination.  the oriental pratincoles were looking smart in breeding plumage, as were the cattle egrets.

when we got to the other ponds, we were amazed at the number of philippine duck (over a thousand), as well as the migrant garganey (over a thousand still!) and northern shovellers (at least 80)!  the garganey were also looking good, bright white marks stood out in the weed-choked ponds.  as the northern shovellers took flight, we could see that they had bright red-orange boots on! 

skylarks did their air dance, rising higher and higher into the air as they called loudly, more pratincoles stood at attention quietly in the fields and several pheasant-tailed jacanas, with their long plumes sticking into the air, foraged for food. 

jops, maia, peter and i were in awe.  the mayor's other ponds were certainly a revelation. i can hardly wait for next season's migration!


  1. very very nice! At mukhang disciplined ang mga kids. May pag-asa pa. :)

  2. haha, meron pa were wonderfully curious and predictably makulit! well, the boys! at... ang galing mag spot... tinuro ang peregrine falcon in flight! they were able to tell na it wasn't an egret or duck or any of the "usual" birds flying about!