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Rained Out in Tambo
by Ned Liuag

Date: September 28
Time: 2:45 PM to 3:30 PM
Location: Bay City Reclamation Area

West wind, thunderclouds moving from south and east Ned and Marilyn Liuag, Kitty Arce Exactly a year has passed since the afternoon I decided to hike down Macapagal Boulevard to be attacked by at the EDSA C-4 Extension rotunda by a 3.5 inch Zitting Cisticola. What used to be a quiet highway is now a bustling asphalt artery. Where grassland and scrub used to be, we have the beginnings of urban sprawl; a concrete wave threatening to swamp the peaceful silence with the hum and buzz of commerce. This afternoon, I wanted Marilyn to see one of the few wild places nearest to home before it finally gets buried beneath the deluge of cement, glass and steel. While waiting for the DLSU students to assemble at the Petron Station, I invited Marilyn and Kitty to explore the property off PEA Road One where I'd been the previous morning. The sandy area was over run by a flock of over a hundred EURASIAN TREE SPARROWS. Besides the sparrows, BROWN SHRIKES were the next most visible birds there. I also pointed out for Marilyn and Kitty, a pair of ZEBRA DOVES foraging on the ground on the western edge of the property, and a single BARN SWALLOW on the wing. As we advanced towards the rain pool, Kitty walked in the center of a blizzard of Tree Sparrows, which whirled about her like leaves buffeted by a strong wind. A terrific sight! I caught glimpse of a single LITTLE HERON flying for cover behind the ipil-ipil thicket just before a flock of six CRESTED MYNAHS burst noisily into the air and flew off towards the thickets on the opposite bank of the Libertad Channel.

Our approach flushed three birds that circled in front of us before heading south. After consulting both Sibley's guide to North American Birds, Robson's field guide to the Birds of Southeast Asia and our own Kennedy, I'd say the size and plumage pattern on the back of these birds approximate that of RUDDY TURNSTONES. We added to our list a flock of eight CHESTNUT MUNIAS, a couple of ZITTING CISTICOLAS, a YELLOW WAGTAIL calling loudly as it made its roller-coaster flight and finally a PHILIPPINE COUCAL that had been calling from the grass since we headed in. By this time, Mike Lu had summoned us back to the Petron Station where the rest of the party had assembled. Tambo, Parañaque

Time: 3:45 PM to 5:45 PM
Weather: Rain, rain, rain
Ned and Marilyn Liuag, Kitty Arce, Mike Lu and DLSU students

Common Sandpiper

From Bay City Reclamation Area, we proceeded to Tambo in Parañaque and parked the vehicles in the Coastal Mall lot. We'd already lost time waiting for stragglers and trying to get good parking slots. Mike divided the group in two, four students set off with Marilyn and me. The other five stuck with him and Kitty. As my party walked up the trail, the first lightning bolt rent the western horizon and the rain started to fall. Turning back, I spotted Kitty and her group head back and thought they'd gone to get raingear. My party had come relatively prepared for the rain and we pushed on. Marilyn was the first to spot the egrets flying in from the north. A large flock, perhaps numbering 18 was landing in the channel called Lagoon B. In my haste to show them to the members of my team, I led them down a path to the water's edge. Our arrival scattered a Little Heron, a couple of COMMON SANDPIPERS and several plovers from the muddy bank. On the mud bank upstream, I pointed out the sandpiper, a few LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS, a KENTISH PLOVER or two, and several WHISKERED TERNS. Downstream, but mostly silhouetted against the setting sun and obscured by the rain was a flock of egrets but too far to identify. On a muddy stretch downstream a few meters from our position was a flock of small but unidentified waders.I decided we needed to get closer and led the group back to the main trail. We bumped into Mike who said we should regroup at the mall because of the rain but not before he first showed the egret flock to one of his team members.

Meanwhile, I had to accompany one of the women back down the path to locate the binocular case and cell phone that had been accidentally dislodged by the thorny aroma bush. We regrouped at the parking lot only to realize Kitty and the other students were missing! So her driver and I went back into the grasslands to find them.

To our relief, we spotted them as they emerged from the grassland in the driving rain. Kitty had kept going on the path and they ended up in Lagoon C and had an awesome view of the egrets and more terns. It was past 4:00 in the afternoon when Mike decided to dismiss the class because of the poor weather. Meanwhile, Kitty, Marilyn and I had other plans. Since we were already quite drenched, we at least deserved to maximize our visit to Tambo and dragged Mike back to the flats. The egrets had dispersed when we got back probably due to the picnickers quitting the area because of the weather. At the junction where a channel connects Lagoon B with the mudflats of Lagoon C, we paused to watch more Whiskered Terns feeding and fighting over scraps. A couple of Little Herons also flew off across the channel towards ASEANA Business Park.

We followed the channel towards the mangroves hoping to spot kingfishers, but didn't have much luck there. Mike pointed out a YELLOW BITTERN as it flew from the mangroves towards Lagoon B. From our position, we could see a flock of Whiskered Terns congregating in the shallows of Lagoon C. Wanting a better view, Marilyn and I leaped across the narrow creek that runs from the mangroves to reach the mound we call Point Two. Since it was heavily vegetated, we settled on observing from the beach below. From here, we were able to see more Little Ringed and Kentish Plovers, six INTERMEDIATE EGRETS, at least six ASIAN GOLDEN PLOVERS, a pair of COMMON REDSHANKS and a score of other waders too far across the shallows and obscure in the fading light to be identified. Our walk back turned up a few Brown Shrikes and a single BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON probably on its way to the colonial roost in nearby Asia World City.

1. Intermediate Egret - 6 in Tambo mudflats
2. White Egret spp - 18 in Lagoon B in Tambo
3. Little Heron - 1 in lot off PEA Road One, at least 4 in Tambo mudflats
4. Black-Crowned Night Heron - 1 in Tambo grassland
5. Yellow Bittern - 1 in Tambo, flushed from mangrove
6. Asian Golden Plover - 6+ in Tambo mudflats and Channel B
7. Little Ringed Plover - Several (at least 8 in one spot by Ned's count)
8. Kentish Plover - A couple
9. Common Redshank - 2 in Lagoon C mudflats
10. Common Sandpiper - 2
11. Ruddy Turnstone - 3 flushed from sandy section in field off PEA Road One
12. Whiskered Tern - Flocks of up to 15+
13. Zebra Dove - 2
14. Philippine Coucal - 1 in field off PEA Road One
15. Barn Swallow - 1 in Bay City Reclamation Area
16. Zitting Cisticola - 1
17. Yellow Wagtail - 1 in flight over sandy section of field off PEA Road One
18. Brown Shrike - Several in both sites
19. Crested Mynah - Flock of 6 in flight
20. Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Flocks of up to 100 in sandy section of field off PEA Road One
21. Chestnut Munia - flock of 8