Posts Tagged ‘LPPCHEA’

All Around The Coast

Last week I felt very bored, I haven’t been birding for nearly two weeks so I decided to pay a visit to LPPCHEA with Tristan (Cousin).The sky was grey and the air was quite humid; the sky made it very clear that it wanted it to drizzle. The tide was very low, you could see the mud that once lay beneath the murky waters.

The usual Little Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons roam the waters while Whiskered Terns fly in the air. Peeping in the mangroves, we saw a lot of Pied Fantails singing melodically. While we were observing a flock of about 200 Black-winged Stilts by the shore, some huge tern-like birds fished the waters in front of us, and they were possibly gulls.

We made it all the way to the lagoon area where we found a lot of birds, Black-crowned Night Herons, Little Egrets, Common Moorhens, White-collared Kingfishers, and Yellow Bitterns. After a long forest trail, we made it to another lagoon area with more of the birds form the other lagoon plus Grey Herons, and Rufous Night Herons.

We walked from one side of the lagoon to the other, startling a flock of around 15 – 20 ducks, most likely Philippine Ducks, but we’re not entirely sure for they could’ve been a mixed flock. We tried waiting for them to go back, and while doing so I also spotted a Warbler, but it moved too fast for me to ID.

We gave up on the ducks and decided to walk along the shore. We spotted a lot of brown-colored Doves, but we were not sure what specific species because they were gone in just a flash. Flying in the air, were two Philippine Ducks headed towards mainland.

At the tip of LPPCHEA, we saw tons of Plovers on the mud flats and on the rocks. The most plentiful were Kentish Plovers, but there were also Asian Golden-Plovers and some Little-ringed Plovers.

We reached the very tip where some people settled to live and from there we went to the trail back. On the way back, we met some DENR officers patrolling the area, and had a brief chat. We also stopped by the lagoons again, and to our delight, there was a lone Philippine Duck in the water. We were so happy to see it, since it was our target bird for the day even though it wasn’t our lifer.

We got out of LPPCHEA and looked back at the path we went and realised we’ve walked for kilometres, and only now did I feel tired. I was exhausted, but happy that I finally got to bird after nearly two weeks of no birding.



Birds at the Fish Market

It was an early Sunday morning, yet the weather was already hot with the sun shinning high in the sky. The smell of trash and dead fish lingers in the air as the fumes of the Fish Market and LPPCHEA mingle together to create a  foul smell. I didn’t mind the smell though, it didn’t bother me, besides I have smelled stuff way worse than that.

Most people come here to buy, obviously, fish and other seafoods, but me, my Dad, my tito, and my cousin came here to look for water birds, particularly the Common Greenshanks which some birders have reported in this area. The shallow waters were inhabited by Egrets, Herons, Waders, and Terns, but the hard part was identifying them individually. The most obvious bird in the crowd was a lifer, the Grey Heron, bending its wings in a strange position.

The Egrets comprised of Little Egrets, Great Egrets, and Intermediate Egrets. There were plovers there, of course, but sadly we weren’t able to ID any of them aside from the dozens of Asian Golden plovers. Juvenile and immature Black-crowned and Rufous Night Herons were plenty, more than the adults.

It was the first time I saw terns perched on the water, well not exactly on the water but on the very watery mud. I see them perch on telephone and cable wires over Pasig River, but not on the ground, and especially not on the water. It was actually very low tide and I guessed that they used it as an advantage to be able to rest right after fishing in the deeper waters. Most of the terns were Whiskered Terns, but we knew that there were more, but we just couldn’t get the luck to ID them properly.

Our main goal for today was finding the Common Greenshank, and my Dad spotted something. After peeking through the scope a lot, looking at the confusing field marks, and taking glances at the book, we finally confirmed that it was a Common Greenshank. I was so happy that it stayed in that one spot so that we were able to ID it. My last lifer of the day, the Common Greenshank.


Five Inches Taller

The sun was shining bright in the sky that if I were back home the heat would be scorching, but I’m not back at my cemented forest in which I live. I’m at LPPCHEA, or as most people call it Coastal Lagoon, looking for waders on the trash-covered beaches and terns over the blue bay with my family and relatives, as usual.

I cannot believe Whiskered Terns were so plentiful here, diving down into the waters and coming back up with their dinner. I see Whiskered Terns all the time now since I live near Pasig River. I even get to see them perched at noon on the wires that go over the river to the other side. I have always thought that Pasig was dead, but I see that it actually still has hope.

Stations were put up around the trashiest areas with signs and garbage bags. The stations were probably put up during the Coastal Clean-up a while ago. I wanted to join in, but at that time I was busy. Well they’re long gone now, but the beach was still filthy, better than before, but still not enough. I understand though that it is impossible to clean the whole Lagoon in a day.

Other than the usual Pied Fantails, Brown Shrikes, Little Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, and Little Heron, I could see migrant Common Sandpipers, Wood Sandpipers, and Grey-tailed Tattlers. I saw a Spotted Dove on the wire while going inside, and cute Chestnut Munias on the tall grass. An egret also flew in front of us and landed on the shore. It was bigger than a Little but smaller than a Great Egret, with an all black bill and legs. My cousin is asking people to identify it through the high-tech world of Facebook.

Chestnut Munias perched on tall grass
<Photo by King Pandi>

Other WBCP members actually spotted a Little Curlew, a rare migrant to the Philippines, here a few days ago. It was the main reason why we went here, but all afternoon we couldn’t see it, but I did get one lifer. A close relative to the Little Curlew is the Whimbrel which was just 5 inches taller, and is more common. I think these 5 inches are the only way to tell them apart, but I haven’t seen a Little Curlew so I can’t be sure.

The Whimbrel, non-birders may describe it as: Unattractive? Strange? Scary? I remember a story my cousin told me. “He was young when him and his mom spotted an injured bird out their window. They wanted to take it in their house, nurture it back to health then release it back to the wild. They showed the bird to their Yaya who said the bird was a Tik-tik ‘a fictional filipino monster with a long tongue to suck the fetus of pregnant women’. The bird was left alone to fend for itself. Only now did they realize they’re Yaya was paranoid to think the bird was a monster for actually the bird was a Whimbrel.”

Whimbrel <Photo by King Pandi>
Lifer no. 93

I don’t think of the Whimbrel as those said above. I think of it as: Unique. Special. Beautiful. I was so excited to see it, it walked around the beach, then I saw not just one but two. One was flying over the water and the other was walking at the side of the salty, trashy water.

It was starting to get dark so we passed by again to the area with many White-collared Kingfishers, then to the other beach to see my last bird of the day. It was dark so it was hard to see in the distance, but through the scope it was obvious. Two uncommon Rufous Night Herons. My dad was the first t spot it which surprised me since it was nearly pitch dark. It was time to go, and left happy thanks to the Whimbrel, and all the other birds we saw.

Overwhelmed By Waders

We nearly got lost in the Pampanga area while finding our way to the Candaba Wetlands, but good thing the local Pampangueno people knew the way. One by one we asked them directions to Candaba and slowly we started making progress getting there. They talked to us with a sort of accent and used the terms “dine” and “rine”.

We finally stumbled into the muddy trails of Candaba, but sadly we could not go in deeper to the actual site due to the very deep muddy road. We had to make do with the ricefield at the side of the dirt road and hoped for the best. We actually saw tons of birds in the ricefields and most of them were waders.

The very first wader we saw that day was the Black-winged Stilt; I have not seen it before due to the fact that it was a migrant. I actually thought at first that my first Black-winged Stilt would be in LPPCHEA, a much closer habitat to home, but with almost the same kinds of birds.

Black-winged Stilt <Photo by King Pandi>
Lifer no. 77

Candaba was an amazing experience for me. I got a total of five lifers that morning; one of which was the Black-winged Stilt, but other than that I also got the Wood Sandpiper, along side with some Common Sandpipers. I finally got to see the deepness of the fork of a Barn Swallow and can finally count it as a lifer. I also got the Red Turtle Dove there while they were flocking together with the waders, and me and Tristan (Cousin) were sure that most of the egrets we saw there were Cattle Egrets.

Wood Sandpiper <Photo by king Pandi>
Lifer no. 78

I was so happy to see such a diverse array of water loving birds in one area. I actually love water birds, but they are just so hard to ID since they nearly look the same. If we were with other WBCP members on this trip, we would have seen more birds, but what I liked about this trip that I was able to ID most of the water birds here myself and that makes me a bit proud.

We did see many other birds in Candaba like Chestnut Munias the size of mayas, and mayas the size of Brown Shrikes, and Brown Shrikes the size of Long-tailed Shrikes, and Long-tailed Shrikes the size of Zebra Doves, and Zebra Doves the size of Yellow Bitterns, and Yellow Bitterns the size of Cinnamon Bitterns, and the Cinnamon Bittern being the biggest Cinnamon Bittern that I have ever seen. I swear that birds here look or ARE bigger than those found within Metro Manila.

There were many birds there and esspecially many waders but I only got to see their true diversity when the mixed wader flock flew just a few meters off the water of the ricefield. I saw an amazing display of different species of waders, but didn’t know how to ID them. They looked so similar but you could see different shades of gray, black and white, and occasionally see a glimpse of color in the flock.

I was so glad that I have finally got to bird in Candaba, but the day is still young and this is only part one of my birding weekend. The rest will be left on suspense mode until tomorrow :).

To be continued…

A Migratory of the Coasts

It took me a while until I posted this,  due to many different reasons. One reason is that I am having my Trimestral Exams this week, and I had to do some studying. I actually put in mind not posting it at all, but of course you, my loyal readers, would not like that. I took the thought of not posting this out of my mind, and started typing.

I put my head down and peeked into the bush, something was moving inside, wagging its tail slightly. It was obviously a wader, a bit grayish-brown. I slowly got closer to the unknown bird, but then I flushed it. No matter, I was still able to see it quite enough to ID it. It was another Common Sandpiper.

There were relatively six species that were very common there that Sunday afternoon. The first two were too obvious, which were the Little Egret and Black-crowned Night Heron. The White-collared Kingfisher was very common, every minute we would at least see two White-collared Kingfishers fly in front of us and we would usually hear its loud call. Little Herons were more common today than all the other days we have been there, and so were Pacific Swallows.

The other bird was a bit of a surprise for me to see so many; Common Sandpipers, everywhere. The migration season is really starting to come out of its shell, and reveal itself. A month ago, I have never even seen a Common Sandpiper, but now here I am in LPPCHEA seeing dozens of them flying over the water occasionally landing on the shore or on rocks or boulders, hiding behind them making it hard for me and my Dad to see them.

Other than those birds we also spotted some others as well. The Yellow Bittern stayed in its usual spot, but it ran away once it saw me and my Dad coming closer. Deeper in LPPCHEA, we saw some electrical wires and on them were more birds. We first saw some Spotted Doves on these wires, they would occasionally drop on the ground and feed, I think. My Dad also saw a green bird looking like a parakeet. It looked like an escaped pet bird and it was not in the Kennedy Guide so we suspected that it was.

Going back to the neared side of LPPCHEA, we decided to go in what Ivan Sarenas (WBCP member) calls the Tiklingan” “Place of the Barred Rails”. We went inside and saw some Pied Fantails, hopping about and fanning their tails. We spotted one Barred Rail which flew immediately after sensing us coming. Once we reached what I think was the DENR station, we really wanted to see a lot of birds in the lagoon, sadly I think the yapping of the dog scared all the birds away.

Deeper inside we heard a very awful noise that I know, but cannot recall. We slowly tip-toed to where we heard them and at the sight of the bird, I remembered the call. It was the unpleasant call of the White-breasted Waterhen. One glimpse of it, then when it realized it was being stalked on; It ran into the vegetation.

We returned back to our car, the last birds we saw were Glossy Swiftlets as they flew above our heads, then the bats came out and replaced all the birds. I was very happy today because it was just the start of the migration season and already, migratory birds were everywhere. Excitement ran through my veins at the thought of what I will see once the migration season has reached its peak.

Bird List

  1. Little Egret
  2. Black-crowned Night Heron
  3. White-collared Kingfisher
  4. Little Heron
  5. Pacific Swallow
  6. Common Sandpiper
  7. Spotted Dove
  8. Yellow Bittern
  9. Barred Rail
  10. White-breasted Waterhen
  11. Pied Fantail
  12. Glossy Swiftlet

Pledge to Fledge Weekend (Part Two)

It was the second day of the “Pledge to Fledge” weekend, and this time were holding a guided trip with my relatives in LPPCHEA. I am the one who introduce my relatives to birding and it was good to know they were willing to come tomorrow. They were actually very new to birding since I only took them birding like once(?) but we didn’t see many birds when I birded with them before, but now that they are with experienced guides, they’ll probably see more birds.

We started off with an orientation, as usual, which took a bit longer than when I joined a Guided Trip before I was a member of the WBCP. We then went to the beach of sand and trash with some comments and questions on why there was so much trash in that area. We set the Spotting Scopes and did what we do, bird.

The Orientation of the Guided Trip
<Photo by King Pandi>

There were still the usual Black-crowned night Herons and Little Egrets everywhere. Then the other member spotted a Common Sandpiper on the beach, as we birded. I was so happy that there were waders now, for it symbolizes that the migration season is starting.

Little Egret <Photo by King Pandi>

Other than that, there was also a Sand Plover. It took a while to ID what kind of Sand Plover, but then Kuya Ivan confirmed it as a Greater Sand Plover due to the yellow feet. I was not satisfied with just calling it a lifer just like that; I needed to see the feet to be able to call it a lifer, good thing I did. 🙂

We went to a different beach, deeper in LPPCHEA where we spotted some White-collared Kingfisher, and a Spotted Dove. The Spotted Dove was a very unique bird with its black patch with white spots on the nape. We also spotted a Pacific Golden Plover and a Grey-tailed Tattler, both lifers. The Pacific Golden Plover was so beautiful, with it’s gold and black plumage. The Grey-tailed Tattler looked kinda cute. 🙂

Before going home, we saw a Pied Fantail on the street. This was the first time complete strangers actually asked me questions about birds, but functioning as a guide was very fun. The faces of the people when they see the White-collared Kingfisher or the Black-crowned Night Heron :O. I would definitely love to function as a guide again.

For those interested to “Pledge to Fledge” here is the link.

Bird List

  1. Black-crowned Night Heron
  2. Little Egret
  3. Common Sandpiper
  4. Greater Sand Plover (Lifer)
  5. Spotted Dove (Lifer)
  6. White-Collared Kingfisher
  7. Pacific Golden Plover (Lifer)
  8. Grey-tailed Tattler (Lifer)
  9. Pied Fantail

Above and Beyond the Branches

We woke up very early in the morning to bird in Mt. Palay-Palay. It was my first time to have a Club Trip outside of Metro Manila with the WBCP. The sky was gloomy and light raindrops poured down; I was wishing that the rain would soon stop so that there would be more birds when we get to Mt. Palay-Palay.

View of the sea from Mt. Palay-Palay
<Photo by King Pandi>

We arrived to the mountain and we went straight to the “Falconet Corner” to check if the Philippine Falconets were there, the other birders say that they nearly always see them here, but sadly we didn’t see any. They must have took shelter from the down pour. We drove just a few more kilometers up the mountain and arrived at the DENR station. The rain kept pouring and unfortunately that affected the birds; we saw no birds in the DENR station.

We walked around just a bit more around the area and Tristan (Cousin) found a Coleto up in the trees. I was so annoyed by the fact that he has more lifers than me, so I am determined to beat his number of lifers now that were in Mt. Palay-Palay.

We decided to drive to a resort called “Caylabne” to have some lunch and bird a bit. The rain stopped as we drove to Caylabne, but before we even got to the resort, we saw a White-throated Kingfisher perched on the wire, and to my surprise we also saw Brahminy Kites gracefully flying right above our heads. The Brahminy Kite was a lifer for me, they were actually very common in that mountain because we ended up seeing lots.

We also saw many Tarictic Hornbills, beautiful birds with odd-looking bills. It was my first time to see a hornbill and they look so nice. White-breasted Wood Swallow were abundant there as well, and Coletos were fairly common as well. The Coleto was so pretty, yet it had this pinkish patch on the sides of its face which may be unappealing for some people, but I find it as a great unique  feature of this Philippine endemic bird.

Black-naped Orioles were unsurprisingly common and so were Philippine Bulbuls, another of my lifers. Glossy Siftlets were fund everywhere.

We have finally entered the Caylabne Resort, and me the other members tested our skills by trying to spot a Philippine Tailorbird which is very hard to spot, good thing that I was able to. In one area of Caylabne, Pacific Swallows were everywhere and Yellow-vented Bulbuls were found here, which is strange because Kuya Mike (WBCP President) said that they weren’t here before.

Pacific Swallows on a Wire <Photo by King Pandi>

Blue-throated Bee-eaters perched on the wires of this area with some Wood Swallows. In that area I also got two new lifers which are the Whiskered Tree-swift which were also perched on the wires, and the Black-naped Monarch in the trees.

Blue-throated Bee-eater on a Wire
<Photo by King Pandi>

Whiskered Tree-swift on a Wire
<Photo by King Pandi> Lifer no.53

We checked-in to Caylabne Resort, and while checking-in Ate Ixi (WBCP Member) helped us spot a Yellow Wagtail. We ate a quick but heavy lunch and continued birding.

While birding in Caylabne, we saw some White-collared kingfishers, and a Scaly-breasted Munia on a branch of a tree. We saw ONE Eurasian Tree Sparrow, which feels so weird because in the city it is the most common bird there is. Olive-backed Sunbirds feasted on some flowers as we saw them, and Striated Swallows with they’re clear reddish rumps perched on a wire that went across the river. Pied Trillers also stayed beside the same river and Philippine Pygmy Woodpeckers were on a tree upstream.

We went to an area that had an unfinished road and birded there, but saw pretty much the same things, Philippine Bulbuls and Tarictic Hornbill. As we drove back to Metro Manila, we once again passed by the “Falconet Corner” but unfortunately it started raining again, so no Falconets were there, but I was already content on the lifers I got today, because they were different from what I usually see back home.

During this adventure we also encountered some birds we could not ID, a raptor,  and a small brown bird with streaked sides looking like a Rhabdornis.

Bird List

  1. White-throated Kingfisher
  2. Brahminy Kite (Lifer)
  3. Tarictic Hornbill (Lifer)
  4. White-breated Wood Swallow
  5. Rhabdornis sp.
  6. Whit-breasted Woodswallow
  7. Coleto (Lifer)
  8. Black-naped Oriole
  9. Philippine Bulbul (Lifer)
  10. Glossy Swiftlet
  11. Raptor sp.
  12. Philippine Tailorbird (Lifer)
  13. Pacific Swallow
  14. Blue-throated Bee-eater
  15. Whiskered Tree-swift (Lifer)
  16. Yellow-vented Bulbul
  17. Black-naped Monarch (Lifer)
  18. Yellow Wagtail (Lifer)
  19. White-collared Kingfisher
  20. Scaly-breasted Munia
  21. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  22. Olive-backed Sunbird
  23. Striated Swallow (Lifer)
  24. Pied Triller
  25. Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker

We also passed by LPPCHEA on the way back, but it was just a short time so I don’t need to tell the story, just the birds.

Bird List

  1. Little Egret
  2. Black-crowned Night Heron
  3. Barred Rail
  4. Yellow Bittern
  5. Little Heron
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