Sunday, September 21, 2014

My First Shrike, Whimbrel, Plover...

So, I FINALLY got to see my first Brown Shrike of the season. And while my other birder friends saw their first shrikes in their own backyard or in nearby UP Diliman, I saw mine in the LPPCHEA (Las Pinas- Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area) during a guided trip. Surprisingly, it wasn't even the first migratory bird I saw that morning!

Trying out their bins

As we started the trip, we could see some egrets and terns flying above us. I didn't look at them with my bins yet as I was giving part of the introductory talk to the United Architects of the Philippines – Paranaque Chapter. Behind me, Jops was getting excited with a bird he spotted on the beach. And he had good reason to! Foraging among the garbage was a Whimbrel!

A Whimbrel among the trash...
We saw a total of four Whimbrels on the beach, before the clean-up.
Sad that these migrants end up foraging among so much trash...

I've seen this bird before but never in LPPCHEA. Some seasons ago, it was spotted and photographed by other birders and when Jops and I went to see it, it was already gone. So seeing it for the first time in the site was a great way to start the trip for me!

Walking along the beach, Jops told me he had already seen his first Brown Shrike! I asked where and as he pointed to the perch, the bird had already flown away. Oh well…

We saw the usual suspects in the area: Black-crowned Night Herons, Little Egrets, a couple of Common Kingfishers, and a fly-by Yellow Bittern. The tide wasn't that low that morning but we saw a few waders on a patch of exposed mudflats. We saw Striated Herons, Little Ringed Plovers, and Pacific Golden Plovers.

Pacific Golden Plover, its beautiful plumage popping out
against the gray mudflats

Black-crowned Night Heron, wide awake that morning

We didn't see much in the inner ponds. There weren't any ducks in the lagoons but we did get sightings of a single flyby Philippine Duck plus a single flyby Rufous Night Heron. BUT! I did get to see my first Brown Shrike of the season! Yay! The migration season has really begun!

Brown Shrike!

As we headed back out to the beach, the clean-up organized by Save Freedom Island Movement and Earth Island Institute was already in full swing. It was nice to see patches of the beach clean and free from garbage, as well as familiar faces in the crowd =)

We ended the trip with a small flock of Asian Glossy Starlings perching near our group. I’m raring to see more migratory birds soon, especially waders! Now, if only my schedule (and the weather) would clear up…