by Ivan Sarenas
AUSTRALIAN PELICAN Pelecanus conspicillatus
September 7, 2016
Meanwhile at Sarangani…
Australian Pelican, a new country record (this species had never been seen before in the country). From a supposed last sneak of birding at a reserve in Davao this morning, news of this bird prompted us to drop everything. The desire to find this bird made us rush to Gensan with nothing more than the tidbit that it was photographed on a fishpond yesterday. After checking possible ponds we found out it was inside one of the secure pond complexes which put our access on hold. While waiting for permission we were also informed that it had left the complex. We checked a nearby public beach and I forded 3 small muddy streams to try to peek from the seaside only to be informed that the desired pond was too far and inaccessible from the side that I was trying. We checked again for our permit and it had still not yet been given. Pete Simpson had to go back to Davao and I decided that I will have to rebook my flight back to try again the next day. We checked the first beach again and like an obvious giant needle in a haystack, there it was!
Like the cops on a crime scene, on the way back home, we got our permit.
While it is safe within the Sarangani Bay ponds, it may not be so whenever it goes out to the shallow nearby sea. We hope the baranggay and other authorities take measures to ensure that this enormous visiting bird not fall to harm.
Interesting to see that news of a vagrant Australian Pelican. I have posted the message on Birding-aus. Of course I can see one or many Australian Pelicans almost any day I choose, if I go to the local lakes (for example often at the closest lake, 5 minutes drive), from my home in Canberra (the Australian capital city). But this one is well out of the way. There are big floods in inland Australia now, so why a pelican would wish to travel far, when conditions here are excellent, is really strange. They have previously been reported at Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, one in Indonesia and 1 on Christmas Island (ref: HANZAB 1990).