Monday, October 7, 2013

Checking Out The Migrants

The migration season has started and it was time to check out the nearest "hotspot" for these wintering visitors - the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area or LPPCHEA.

We scheduled a guided trip to LPPCHEA last Sunday afternoon and from the highway, we could already see lots of terns and egrets in the area. The low tide that afternoon wasn't very low, so the mudflats where waders usually forage in weren't exposed. It was also a windy day that even the chunky Black-crowned Night Herons struggled against the wind.

But, we did get to see lots of Whiskered Terns flying over the water, diving to catch food, and flying around again. In the same area, a big group of Little Egrets flew in to start foraging in the shallow water to the delight of the first-time birders who were peeping through a gap in the mangroves =)


Whiskered Terns 
Little Egrets
We were very near the egrets and terns!

While enjoying the spectacle of white birds, we got distracted by the appearance of a Grey-tailed Tattler on the beach, weaving its way through the trash.

Grey-tailed Tattler

The larger and more solid-colored tattler was much easier to spot among the multi-colored garbage on the beach. We did get to see the larger but well-camouflaged Asian Golden Plovers. When they stood against the sea of garbage, they would actually blend in! The smaller waders were more of a challenge to find but we did get to see Kentish Plovers, Common Sandpipers, and a lone Ruddy Turnstone. A handsome Common Kingfisher also posed for us, giving everyone really good views.

Common Kingfisher
(This shot was actually taken a few weeks ago in LPPCHEA.)

Venturing into the inner pond, we saw a Yellow Bittern, busy preening half-hidden in the brambles, and a lone Common Sandpiper which landed smack in the center of the pond!

Yellow Bittern
Can you spot the Common Sandpiper standing on one foot?

Soon, the Manila Bay sunset was upon us and the Black-crowned Night Herons started flying in, signaling us to start walking back to the cars. We decided to walk along the beach and of course, we saw some interesting stuff. Among the shells, I saw (and picked up) a bleached cat skull (thank you for the identification, Nikdye!) They also saw a dead (and headless) sea snake, already bloated lying among the trash. Our friend Ned was also able to find a dog skull. It pays to watch where you step in that beach!

Bleached cat skull
Dead sea snake

It wasn't such a birdy day, given the not-so-low tide and strong winds, but I was really happy for my friends who got lots of lifers that afternoon. Waders are really the best! And I am really looking forward to our next trip to see more of them! =)

4 comments:

  1. had great fun birding! :D til the next trip (and next set of lifers!) ;P

    Eire :)

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    1. I bet you'll get a lot of lifers this migration season! =)

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  2. super enjoyed the birding activity! till the next one! Thanks for organizing Jops and Maia :)

    ~Jinggay

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    1. Hi Jinggay! So glad to hear you enjoyed birding with us! See you again in the field soon! =)

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