Thursday, January 26, 2012

Low Tide at the Coastal Lagoon

Our morning of the Chinese New Year holiday was spent enjoying views of some really wonderful waders in the Coastal Lagoon. A week before, Jops excitedly told me about the tide schedules for that Monday and its morning promised a really low tide.  

Large portions of the mudflats were left exposed all morning!

It has been some time since we last visited the Coastal Lagoon, officially known as the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA.) Declared a critical habitat in 2007, it is now being threatened with plans of reclamation. As that "battle" rages on, groups including the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines have been spearheading clean-ups along the beach area. Our last trip to this place was way back in October last year and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the mountains of trash lining the road have already disappeared. And one can already see the sand on the beach! Well, one can also clearly see a fresh wave of trash coming in from the water... oh well.

No more mountains of trash!

WBCP member Ruben arrived shortly with his cousin and we started scanning the areas for birds. Lots of egrets, Grey Herons, Whiskered Terns and, of course, waders! I was peeping through a gap in the mangroves, spotting some Kentish Plovers, Little Ringed Plovers, and Rufous-necked Stints when suddenly a flock of Black-winged Stilts flew into the same area! I didn't really expect to see the Stilts but there they were in the hundreds!

Digiscoped Black-winged Stilts

Stilts, Egrets and Stints (on the sand)!

Our group moved on towards the DENR station and out onto the beach to view more waders. Along the way, these curious red fruits got my attention...

They looked like smooth, red balimbings!
There were also green unripe fruits which were firm.

The red ones were soft and this one burst open revealing orange, threadlike "innards"!

I tore myself away from the red fruit to catch up with the group. On the other side of the path, I had to shake my head with the amount of trash that gets washed up and caught among the roots of the mangroves and other plants in the lagoon...

Please think twice before grabbing that styrofoam cup and take-out container. And if you HAVE to use them, please dispose of them properly.

When we reached the beach, we were greeted with fantastic close-up views of more egrets, Common Redshanks, and Common Greenshanks. We were also greeted by this creepy sight =P

We scanned further down the beach and saw more terns and some Asian Golden Plovers! I would want to see them in their breeding plumage again soon!

Ruben and Jops scanning the beach for more waders. The Redshanks and Greenshanks were just by the shallows beside us!

I was also hoping to see the Ruddy Turnstones again but we didn't see any on this trip. I spent my time carefully observing the birds just on the beach beside us. Viewing them that close and for that long afforded me time to take down as much notes as could. I decided to make good on one of my New Year's resolutions: to start (or at least try) drawing the birds I see, no matter how fugly they turn out. So, I just drew and took down notes, enjoying the time and long views of the birds just meters from me. Afterwards, I was happy and quite proud of myself. The first drawings started awkwardly but I think I improved even a little as I filled up the page. And at least now my drawings actually look like birds!


  1. nice drawings maia. how close were the birds last monday? kaya ba ng 400mm?

    1. Hehe, thank you po Sir Gabs! Yung mga Red and Greenshanks sa may beach super lapit po, kayang kaya (mahina po ako mag-estimate, pero around 3 meters away sila sa amin.) Yung mga stilts medyo malayo-layo po. Baka mas malapit if you stay sa may fish market during low tide =)

  2. great notes maia!
    one of the advantages of doing waders when its not part of the AWC is that you can actually spend time enjoying, observing and studying the birds without worrying about counting them! :-)

    1. Thank you Trinket! Needs improvement pa din, hehe. Hay, I super enjoyed just looking at them until mag-sawa ako =P Best kind of birding for me =)

  3. Bili ka na ng camera para hindi na kailangang mag sketch. hahaha. Just kidding!

    Great story! I need to go back to the Coastal Lagoon.

    1. Hehehe, super challenging ang bird photography! I'm still figuring it out =)I'll try my hand at digiscoping muna =P
      Yes, you should go check out the Coastal Lagoon soon! (And then Calatagan po tayo, hehe)

  4. maia nagmukhang prehistoric drawing yung birds sketches ko sa aking travel notebook hahaha. ang galing! :-)

  5. artifact yun! JOKE! hehe, needs improvement pa ako =P pero salamat ha! hehe