|Philippine Daily Inquirer|
By Tonette Orejas
Central Luzon Desk
First Posted 21:52:00 04/03/2010
Filed Under: Animals, Conservation, Environmental Issues
Photos courtesy of Alex Loinaz
CANDABA, PAMPANGA, Philippines—A 30,000-hectare
swamp in Central Luzon contributed another record for the
Philippines when a bean goose, known only to live in Europe,
was seen for the first time here on March 27, an official
of an international conservation group said on Tuesday.
“This is the first record for the Philippines,”
said Dr. Aldrin Mallari when reached by phone on Tuesday.
Mallari is country director of the Fauna and Flora International,
a nongovernment organization founded in 1903.
What is more baffling is that this new species of birds made
the Philippines their refuge from winter. “They’re
usually in the South [like Korea and China],” said Mallari,
a biologist. Alex Loinaz, a member of the Wild Bird Club of
the Philippines (WBCP), is credited to be the first photographer
to capture the image of the bean goose.
Loinaz said he saw the bird in a pond right next to the rest
house of Mayor Jerry Pelayo on Saturday afternoon. The pond
is part of the 200-hectare property that Pelayo’s family
owns in Barangay Doña Simang.
The mayor and his wife, Lani, have stopped growing rice and
fish there since 2001 to give migratory birds a home. The
globetrotting birds come as early as October and are usually
gone by February.
Mallari said the sightings of new species in the Candaba Swamp
might be due to the increase in monitoring activities by birdwatchers.
“They’re getting better at monitoring,”
he said, adding that was how the Calayan Rail, an endemic
bird in the Philippines, was seen at the Calayan Group of
Islands near Batanes. Then, too, the flight to the Philippines
might have been prompted by climate change.
“Their habitat may have been destroyed because wetlands
are converted into other uses. The birds are pushed farther
to the south [to find] roosting area or food,” Mallari
“It is not remote to think they’re in search of
a warm place. They might have ridden on prevailing winds amid
early and severe winter,” he added.
Loinaz said he was not sure what species the bird belonged
to when he took its photograph.“I had three books with
me. It was not in the first one but it appeared in the second
and third books,” he said.
There’s debate on the classification of the bean goose,
though, Mallari said. Capturing the image of the bean goose
gave Loinaz three country records, too. The two others, taken
three years ago, were an American wigeon and a dowitcher.
He saw both in Candaba. In the Asian Waterbirds Census in
January, the WBCP and the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources found two new species. These were wild ducks called
mallard and the grey-headed lapwing.
The first was photographed by Tonji and Sylvia Ramos while
the second was taken by Luis Limchiu. Although newcomers in
Candaba, the mallard and lapwing have been seen on three different
occasions in various parts of the Philippines.The Great Bittern,
on the other hand, was seen again in Candaba in 2009. Photographed
by Romy Ocon, it was the fourth time that it has been found
roaming in Philippine areas.Previous tally by the municipal
government showed 67 migratory birds and 53 local species
in Candaba.The Candaba Swamp is one of five wetlands in Central
The others are the Paitan Lake in Cuyapo and Pantabangan Dam,
both in Nueva Ecija; Puerto Rivas in Balanga City; and Consuelo
in Macabebe town, also in Pampanga.