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South Reclamation Project, Cebu City

Date: Saturday, May 13, 2006
Location: Pond B, South Reclamation Project, Cebu City
Time: 3:20 – 5:10 p.m.
Cloud cover: Cloudy
Vegetation: Pond with tall grasses
Terrain: Pond
Birders: Godfrey "Godo"Jakosalem, Noel Dionson and Sheila Dionson
Trip report author: Noel Dionson

Pond B, South Reclamation Project
Pond B, South Reclamation Project

Nilo Arribas announced through our own Birdwatch-Cebu e-group that some photographers would be going to the South Reclamation Project on Saturday, May 13, 2006. Godo and I volunteered to help the photographers identify the birds and to invite them to join our club.

Squadron of Little Egrets take to the air
My wife, Sheila and I arrived at the place at 3:20 p.m.. Right away, photographer Bobby Kintanar brought me to and introduced me to Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña who was already busy with his own binoculars. Sensing that the mayor wanted to identify the birds in the pond I identified the Little Egrets, the Black-winged Stilts and the Philippine Ducks, which he fondly called "Bisdaks". "Bisdak" is actually short for "Bisayang Dako", a term which means a true-blue Bisaya

He also mentioned to me that he saw something else. I pulled out my field guide to help him identify that bird. He flipped through the pages and stopped at the page where the Cattle Egret is found. I tried to look for the Cattle Egret in the pond but could not. Perhaps he saw a Little Egret in its breeding plumage which some of them were.

Later, Godo arrived with his spotting scope. He set it up for everyone, including the mayor, to take a peek and enjoy a close-up view of the birds. Through the spotting scope, we identified more birds such as the Little Grebe, Common Moorhen, Lesser Sand-Plover and Greater Sand- Plover. Everyone started bombarding us with questions about the birds in the pond and birds in general.

Birdwatchers and photographers at the SRP
Birdwatchers and photographers at the SRP

The mayor did not stay long and he missed one breath-taking moment when all the Philippine Ducks suddenly took off from the tall grasses and started circling the pond. I counted and there were at least 21 ducks. And then, the Little Egrets joined with almost the same number. One can hear the oohs and aahs of the people. Yes, it was a wonderful sight!

I wish the mayor will keep his decision to make SRP Pond B a bird sanctuary despite lack of interest from the DENR people to support the idea.

1. Little Grebe – 2
2. Little Egret – 40
3. Philippine Duck – 24
4. Common Moorhen – 5
5. Lesser Sand-Plover (Mongolian Plover) – 5
6. Greater Sand-Plover – 3
7. Black-winged Stilt – 6
8. Whiskered Tern – 6
9. Tern sp - 20
10. Zitting Cisticola (Fan-tailed Cisticola) – 3
11. Eurasian Tree Sparrow – 1
12. Chestnut Munia (Black-headed Munia) – 2