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Wild Ducks at the SRP!

Date: November 13, 2005
Site: South Reclamation Project, Cebu
Site Qualifier: Lake Area
Time: 1520H to 1700H
Weather: One half cloud cover, hot afternoon
Observer: Nilo Arribas Jr., and Frederick Kintanar
Contact Information: ph_photo_97@yahoo.com
Equipment Used: 10x42 binoculars, Kennedy et al. guide book

I initially planned a birding trip with my 1-year old son in the South Reclamation Project (SRP) here in Cebu City. It turned out that I will have to do it myself for some reason. I got an SMS message confirmation from Fred Kintanar earlier about the SRP birding trip. I thought he would not show up based on my experience with first time birders who make last minute cancellations even while in Manila. I was wrong, he was there in the meeting place way ahead of me!!

Anyway, I took the boat ferry from Mactan to Pier 3 of Cebu. I wanted to take advantage of the good weather and the boat ride to take a peek at the mangrove patches between Mactan and Cordova. Just as I suspected, there were a lot of bird activities starting from Mactan Naval Operating Base towards the general direction of Cordova. This should be a good place to visit later for another survey .
The ferry route gave me a pair of Whiskered Tern, a lone Brahminy Kite, a Common sandpiper, White-collared Kingfisher and flocks of flying egrets and terns too distant for positive IDs.
Little Egret
Little Egret

Brown Shrike

Brown Shrike

In a few minutes the SRP-scape is already in sight. I spotted a Lesser coucal along the tall grasses and a flock of Zebra doves foraging on the ground. Construction materials can be seen along the highway leading to the Sugbo bldg.. This is a clear signal that major development in the area is already in the pipeline.

A short walk to the bldg., gave me a close view of a pair of Yellow wagtails.

It was not so difficult to spot Fred since his car is the only one parked just outside the bldg. Unlike the past trips where SRP is alive with picnickers and enterprising vendors, this time its practically deserted except for the guard on duty.

 

After a brief introduction, we wasted no time and proceed to the mini lake. In our leisure walk, I learned that Fred is also into outdoor activities before. He was also prepared for this trip with his Kennedy guide and binoculars. The first bird for us is a Brown shrike followed by Whiskered terns and Wagtails. We also spotted the initial flock of about 21 Chestnut munias. Barn swallows were also abundant.

Then the bird that really made my day... a group of three Philippine ducks suddenly appeared from the east. At first I can't believe that I'm seeing the endemic duck here. This is Cebu city which has a healthy community of game hunters. I was even thinking if I should write this sightings here. Last year, I posted a report about the nine Whistling ducks and they all vanished afterwards. It is unfortunate that some people have invested much in hunting gears while a good pair of waterproof and nitrogen-filled binoculars can
be had for a fraction of the cost. These should allow them to hunt indefinitely without blood. Or if they really are up to the challenge, move to wild bird photography!!
Most of these hunters are professionals, managers even, but for some strange reasons, can't comprehend the fact that these wild birds should be given space to breed and increase their dwindling population.
The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring further the banks of the mini-lake. Birding is sometimes not about the number of species seen but the quality. The sight of the Philippine ducks really made this one of the best birding trips at SRP. Now I know that we need not travel 3 hours to Argao just to see these wonderful ducks found only in the Philippines.
Philippine Duck
Philippine Duck
BIRD LIST: (COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME)
1. Little Egret [ Egretta garzetta ] - 7
2. Yellow Bittern [ Ixobrychus sinensis ] -2
3. Philippine Duck [ Anas luzonica ] -3
4. Brahminy Kite [ Haliastur indus ] -1, seen
near the pier
5. Barred Rail [ Gallirallus torquatus ] -H.O.
6. Common Moorhen [ Gallinula chloropus ] -1
7. Common Sandpiper [ Actitis hypoleucos ] -1, along a fuel depot
8. Whiskered Tern [ Chlidonias hybridus ] - 15+
9. Zebra Dove [ Geopelia striata ] - 5
10. Lesser Coucal [ Centropus bengalensis ] -1
11. White-collared Kingfisher [ Todirhamphus chloris ] -2
12. Barn Swallow [ Hirundo rustica ] - 10+
13. Striated Grassbird [ Megalurus palustris ] -3
14. Yellow Wagtail [ Motacilla flava ] - 100+,
seen singly or in huge flocks
15. Brown Shrike [ Lanius cristatus ] - 5
16. Eurasian Tree Sparrow [ Passer montanus ] - 4
17. Scaly-breasted Munia [ Lonchura punctulata ] -3
18. Chestnut Munia [ Lonchura malacca ] -50+