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Coastal Road, Manila Bay

Date: August 31, 2003, 6.30 am
Overcast skies, heavy downpour obscuring the Makati skyline
by Mike Lu & Ivor Lee

Acting on a tip from the security guards at the Ital-Thai construction area that there are many waterbirds in the early mornings, I passed by the site before heading for Pico de Loro yesterday. With Singaporean bird photographer, Ivor Lee, we arrived at the site at 6.30am. The resident Little Heron flew in a huge arc on the lagoon surface, a pair of Yellow Bitterns and a Cinnamon Bittern made a brief appearance. I was getting ready to leave when Ivor spotted 2 white birds perched on the tops of the mangrove across the lagoon. Training my binoculars, I guessed "Little Egrets, probably" A minute later, a group of egrets began a slow circle of out of the mangrove clumps. Flashes of white coming out of the expanse of green. It was joined by another group as they begun a slow descent to the air. The birds were heading south towards our direction. I was busy counting the birds ... 10, 20 ... "Hey Mike, look at the feet, they're all black !" ... 30, 40 ... "Mike, they are not Little Egrets!" ... 50, 51, 52 ... "Great Egrets !" ... 53 Great Egrets ! Huh ? A few minutes later, another flock took to the air with 22 birds. My eyes were still trained on this second flock when Ivor casually whispered "Raptors ..." I dropped my binocs and look at a gliding bird in the north. As it came nearer, Ivor asked if White-Bellied Sea Eagles have ever been recorded in Manila Bay. To my knowledge, our birding club has never seen any. Another raptor came to join the first one and this time Ivor positively identified it as an Osprey. Ned and I had previously seen a pair of Ospreys in this same site earlier this year. In the distance, 2 more flocks of Great Egrets were arriving from the north. A White-Collared Kingfisher also made it's first appearance in this site after disappearing during the summer months. It was past 7am when we left the area. Here is my birdlist for a little more than half an hour's birding :)


1. Great Egret Egretta alba - 100+, 2 flocks taking off from mangroves & flying southward while others were arriving from the north
2. Little Heron Butorides striatus - 3, one more other than the usual resident pair
3. Black-Crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax - 3
4. Cinnamon BIttern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus - 1
5. Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis - 2
6. Osprey Pandion haliaetus - 2
7. Common Sandpiper Tringa nebularia - 3
8. White-Collared Kingfisher Halcyon chloris - 1, first record since disappearing during the summer months


Great Egret

Great Egret