We finally got to go birding in Candaba for this year's autumn migration! Jops and I spent last Sunday birding with friends along the concrete road, scanning the empty rice fields for waders. And waders we found!
|Birders scanning the fields|
Busy foraging in the mud and shallow water were lots of Wood Sandpipers, Little Ringed Plovers, Black-winged Stilts, and egrets. Our group of thirteen birders scanned the area in different ways: scopes, bins, cameras. It was a bit challenging trying to id the birds, I honestly did not "review" for the trip! Tsk tsk.
The fields were not planted with rice, scattering the waders far and wide, making it more difficult to spot those in the farther areas. We did get close up views of other grassland birds though which made the heat considerably more tolerable. We got to see Buff-banded Rails, White-breasted Waterhens, Common Moorhens, Long-tailed Shrikes, and even a snipe that casually walked in front of our group!
|A Buff-banded Rail posed for quite some time before being|
chased away by HUGE field rats!
|There were some Common Moorhens in the water-filled paddies.|
No Grebes though...
|This snipe entertained our group for a long time! It foraged |
on the paddy by the side of the road where we were all positioned.
We moved on further down the concrete road which was slowly getting filled up with palay being spread out to dry. Feasting on the grains were lots of Eurasian Tree Sparrows which were joined by more White-breasted Waterhens and also some Barred Rails. One came out from the reeds beside our van and allowed us to take some photos before a skink (!) drove it away.
Joining the buffet on the road were Pied Bushchats and Striated Grassbirds. This got most of us birders out of the cars and into the scorching morning sun. Was it noon already?? Why was it so hot?! It was just around 9 in the morning!
|Male Pied Bushchat|
They got me frustrated first by flying away before I
could take a photo... until this one posed handsomely.
We pushed forward until the end of the newly cemented road but didn't find any more waders. The migratory ducks haven't arrived yet although we did get some fly-by Philippine Ducks and Wandering Whistling Ducks. We also got excited by a very shy Black Bittern as well as some Blue-tailed Bee-eaters.
We decided to go back to the first patch of rice fields and explore further inland where we saw some Common Greenshanks and Marsh Sandpipers busy probing the mud with their beaks. Some of us braved the intensifying heat. I tried spotting the waders but the heat was becoming too much to bear. I joined the other birders in the shade of a small tree.
|That's Jops and Jayce (aka Paddington Bear) attempting the muddy fields.|
|Spotting more birds under the hot, morning sun!|
When we regrouped, we all decided to call it a day. After a few group photos, we piled into our convoy and headed back to Manila. There weren't that many waders that day but birding was still good in the company of birder friends. Oh, and we got to discover Adri's hidden talent for calling just like a particular grassland bird! ;)