Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jops's Birthday Morning in Candaba

Jops wanted to do some easy birding for his birthday, somewhere near home and just for a few of hours since we had a full day. We initially planned on going to LPPCHEA (Coastal Lagoon) but when our birder friends reported a sighting of  a Long-billed Dowitcher in Candaba, we decided to go there (and twitch that) instead.

Candaba looks serene especially in the early hours of the morning

So, early on his birthday, we drove to Candaba to meet up with our friends Rob, Irene, and Kitty. Our party immediately began scanning the empty rice fields, checking on each wader, looking for the dowitcher. We saw lots of waders... but no dowitcher. We decided to walk closer to the fields where the waders were scattered far and wide. Some of the paddies have already been planted with rice and others had farmers working on them. Some of Candaba's usual suspects gave us great views.

Chestnut Munia,
the former Philippine National Bird

Yellow Bittern foraging out in the open in the early morning sun

Black-winged Stilt, one of the few that foraged
close  to where we were

Barn Swallow doing its early morning stretching
while balanced on a pole

We scanned and scanned and scanned but did not find the lone Long-billed Dowitcher our friends saw the day before. We did see a lot of Marsh Sandpipers, Wood Sandpipers, egrets, and even some Ruffs and Curlew Sandpipers. As we made our way back to the cars, Kitty nonchalantly pointed out a snake swimming in the shallow water towards us.

Curious birders peeking at the snake in the water
We are waiting for confirmation of the ID:
either an Amphiesma stolatum or Rhabdophis spilogaster

It swam back and forth and also out in the open

It was 9am when we reached the cars and it was time for me and Jops to head back home. We brought out some pastel to share and Rob brought out two cans of ice cold beer, supposed to be for celebrating when we saw the dowitcher as Jops's birthday lifer. We didn't get to tick it off but it was still a very good birthday morning spent with friends =)

Cheers!
Photo by Irene

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