Friday, January 9

Again, again

And so we were back in Candaba just as the sun was rising.  Despite having a lunch appointment, we joined Melanie for a very quick trip to the wetlands to check out the migrants.  This time we had a scope with us!

And it was a good thing we did!  The ducks were off to the opposite end of the pond, half hidden in a variety of semi-aquatic vegetation: grass, kangkong, water lilies, water hyacinth and lotus!

There were many Philippine Ducks and Wandering Whistling Ducks but we spotted several species of migratns as well.  There were Garganey, Common Pintails and Northern Shovellers.  Careful observation through the scope revealed a few Common Teal and even Eurasian Widgeons!  Rob and Irene also pointed out a female Gadwall in the mix. Too bad they were too far away for any decent photos!

Of course there were the common Black-crowned Night-heron, Purple Heron, Grey Heron and an assortment of white egrets.  The Purple Swamphen were still very visible, foraging in the vegetation.

Later we moved to the back of the Mayor's house where a Middendorff's Grasshopper-warbler surprised us when it briefly popped out from the grass providing a millisecond clear vie. Arctic (Kamchatka) Warblers called from the acacia trees.

It was definitely worth the short trip!  Unfortunately, our previous appointment did not allow us further exploration so we started driving back.  We drove slowly, trying to take photos of the very common Red Turtle Doves foraging on the ground and the Pied Bushchats which patrolled the dirt road.

We were pleasantly surprised to find a few waders at the muddy, unplanted fields.

There were a few Little Ringed Plovers...

...and several Long-toed Stints...

... and some Wood Sandpipers.

A lone Little Egret was wiggling his foot in the water.

They didn't seem to mind us as we took our photos.  Every now and then a group would be startled and would take to the air and we would be surprised that there were more of them on on the ground than we thought!

They drab winter plumage camouflaged them perfectly with the muddy ground and even as they moved about looking for food, it was difficult to spot them.

How many stints can you see in this photo?

Much as we wanted to linger and stay, it was fast approaching noon and we had to move on. I hope to be back several more times before the summer!

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