Tuesday, January 15

new year birding!

happy new year!

no, i haven't been not birding! it's been a long hiatus from blogging because of major life projects in the works but it's back to the (new) normal for me!

my birding year began on the 2nd day of the new year with a lifer!  following last years' tradition of a twitchy new year, adri and i met up with felix and mel (and ixi and mikeli and gina and irene and bob and cynthia and jo and doc charo) at the LMEP and quickly spotted the newest LMEP sensation: a very quiet and exceedingly shy scaly ground thrush!

(sorry folks, no picture - a frustratingly difficult to photograph bird! but here's a blurry pic of a close cousin, the once hard to find but now very confiding ashy ground thrush)
the super popular ashy ground thrush of the lmep

on our way out of the park, adri and i spotted a pair of crested mynas busy cleaning out a tree hollow for their nest.
a crested myna busy cleaning: a new home for the new year

but my new year's birding didn't end with a twitch, it ended with a non-twitch.

on the 3rd day of the new year...

adri and i decided to take some of my nieces and my nephew out to candaba.

still waters at candaba
towards the end of the old year, wbcp-ers rob h. and irene d. reported a dusky warbler in candaba which was quickly twitched (and photographed!) by several birders. when we got to the mayor's house, the caretaker asked: titignan nyo ba yung maliit na ibon na hinahanap nila dun? (complete with motion of hands to indicate a tiny bird and the general location of where it could be found).

hmmm... small warbler = lbj. 
we doubted the kids birding for the first time would appreciate that. so we decided to pass on it. and that was our non-twitch.

so we took the kids (plus my brother george) around the ponds.  the planting season was early this year, in anticipation of the early summer/early rains, and we saw very few waders.  there were less ducks too, or maybe they were just well hidden.  we were able to show some philippine ducks, wandering whistling ducks and tufted ducks clearly.  strangely, we saw a wild philippine duck in flock of domestic ducks in the duck pens!  

philippine ducks in flight

there was a flock of over 50 turtle-doves flying around perched on the trees and equally many common moorhens walking around the pond vegetation. as usual, the tiny but impressive common kingfisher was a favorite as was the graceful blue-tailed bee-eater. 
a white-browed crake busy preening

the grey and purple herons were like sentinels standing in the middle of the main pond, together with some egrets and black-crowned night-herons. we were busy birding from the back of a pick-up truck when adri (who was following the pick up in another vehicle with my brother) suddenly jumped down and yelled "raptor!".  we looked in the direction he was pointing and glimpsed an eastern marsh harrier taking to the air after surprising a purple heron. as he flew further away, he was mobbed by a flock of white-shouldered starlings.


we stayed until sunset, with all it's pink splendor reflected on the waters. in the waning light, a purple swamphen caught everyone's attention as it walked on the water hyacinth nearby, flicking its white tail in the air. "it's a dinosaur!" said one of the kids.

purple swamphen showing its huge feet

as we listed all the birds we saw in issa's notebook, the young birders were surprised that we listed 27 species seen.  they didn't realise that we'd seen that many!  

another dramatic sunset at candaba

it was good to start the birding year at a relaxed pace. twitch or non-twitch.


  1. Pwede nga naman syang dinosaur! =)

    1. Ay oo nga pala, dinosaur nga pala sya! =)

  2. Good way to start the year. Sayang the dusky - ang dali pa namang makita. :)

    1. Thanks Bob... oo, madyo nag revert kami sa non-twitching! Hopefully it will still be there until the end of migration para may chance pa!