Reclamation Area, Asia World City and Coastal Road
Date: May 25, 2003
Time: 9:00 am to 10:00 am
Weather: Overcast skies, scattered drizzles
Mike Lu, Jon Villasper and Ned Liuag
the Manila Film Palace, we decided there was still time to
reconnoiter the site behind the Coastal Mall in Tambo, Parañaque.
(Ref CitiAtlas Map 90)
threatened to rain when we arrived at the edge of the grassland
surrounding the unfinished Coastal Mall extension building
on Macapagal Boulevard. As we walked to the channel called
Lagoon B, we encountered saw a TAWNY GRASSBIRD, a solitary
ZEBRA DOVE, a small flock of CHESTNUT MUNIAS in the grass
and two PACIFIC SWALLOWS on the wing.
tide was rushing up the channel at a fast rate and though
we were hoping for some over-wintering birds, perhaps a tern
or two, the migrants had long returned to their northern breeding
sun had emerged from behind the screen of clouds and several
youths and men were on the trail to the bay carrying fishing
rods and picnic lunches. Taking the right-hand fork in the
trail we followed the narrow path along the bank of Lagoon
B. Our attention was drawn to the piping call of what might
have been a plover in the ASEANA Business Park grassland across
the channel. Scanning the opposite bank of the channel, we
were unable to get a good view of the source of the call but
were rewarded with the sight of two raptors patrolling low
over the grassland some 150 meters from our position.
pair had slender bodies and long pointed wings which they
flapped in between glides. Using a pair of 8 x 40 binoculars
with uncoated lenses, the upper parts seemed dark grey to
me. Mike, who was using a 7 x 35, and Jon a 10 x 40 -- both
with coated lenses -- said the upper parts were brown. The
flight pattern was not like the direct, powerful, piston-like
manner of a Peregrine Falcon nor the buoyant and hovering
wing beats of a Eurasian Kestrel, which has been seen hunting
in the South Reclamation Area. The wings were sharply angled
birds had long, narrow tails, which neither flared during
the time they were in sight. I was observing the one hanging
around the western side of the grassland. The rump and tail
on this one seemed white in the direct sun, and I noticed
a dark bar when it turned. The under parts appeared white
without any visible streaks or bars. I looked at the silhouettes
for the North American Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus in
the Sibley Guide and found the general impression and shape
similar. So I thought these might have been immature birds
of either the resident Pied or the migrant Eastern Marsh Harrier.
we were watching the mystery raptors, another dark shape came
flying across the grassland towards the channel. As the distance
between the bird and us closed it turned out to be a LITTLE
HERON. We would encounter three more of this species in the
mangrove and aroma thicket located along the channel that
branches off Lagoon B. The depth of the water was such that
fording it on foot was impractical requiring a makeshift raft
to reach the opposite bank.
the edges of the thicket, we heard a GOLDEN-BELLIED GERYGONE
singing but could not get closer because of the fast rising
tide. We also spotted the first YELLOW BITTERNS of the trip
as it flew for cover. Mike remarked that he and visiting Canadian
birdwatcher Todd Pepper had come across bitterns in the same
area during their visit here in March.
at the edge of the thicket, we had the luck of spotting a
RUFOUS NIGHT HERON flying south high above the Tambo mudflats.
From our position, we could see that a large section of the
scrub in the Asia World City property had been cleared during
the dry season, robbing the herons of their roosting place.
decided to call it a day when the heat became unbearable.
Moving back down the trail a tern-like shape came flying up
from Lagoon B. The bird had olive-brown upper-parts and a
white rump. The color of the head and breast were also olive-brown
(like the dark plumage on the Common Sandpiper) and the belly
seemed white. Mike and Jon noticed a forked tail. The bird
disappeared south in the Asia World City property. The solitary
bird spotted fits the shape and plumage of an ORIENTAL PRATINCOLE.
our way back, our approach to the main trail flushed a Little
Heron and a Yellow Bittern in the channel off Lagoon B. The
team also encountered a ZITTING CISTICOLA flying in the grassland.
ended the birding day with exquisite views of a Yellow Bittern
flying serenely across Lagoon B. We watched the bittern coming
across the water before it landed in a dried bush on the bank.
We had nice close-ups of the bird, whose colors easily blended
with the dull landscape.
Grassland and Mangrove Thicket BIRDLIST:
Little Heron (4) - Flying in the vicinity of Lagoon B or flushed
near mangrove thicket
2. Rufous Night Heron (1) - Flying south above mudflats
3. Yellow Bittern (4) - In Lagoon B, others flushed near mangrove
4. Harrier spp (2) - Possibly immature Pied or Eastern Marsh
Harrier, seen coursing low over ASEANA Business Park property
5. Oriental Pratincole (1) - Seen in flight over branch of
6. Zebra Dove - 1 in the grassland
7. Pacific Swallow (2) - In grassland
8. Golden-Bellied Gerygone (1) - Heard singing in vicinity
of mangrove thicket
9. Tawny Grassbird (1) - Very vocal and conspicuous
10. Zitting Cisticola - Several in the short grass
11. Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Several
12. Chestnut Munia (3+) - edge of the grassland near Macapagal