March 6 – Duck hunters arrested
With the increase in the number of birders visiting the wetlands behind the Total gas station near the San Simon exit on the NLEX to catch a glimpse of the rarely seen Cotton Pygmy Goose, reports of different groups of hunters hunting the birds raised alarm that reached the Philippine National Police (PNP). On March 6, under the supervision of PNP Apalit Police Lt. Col. Alex F. de los Santos caught 2 hunters with the carcasses of 4 Wandering Whistling Ducks. The hunters were initially charged with illegal possession of firearms and imprisoned without bail. WBCP sent a letter of commendation to PNP Apalit for arresting the hunters.
March 10 – The new books from Lynx Edicions
The Club placed an order with Lynx Edicions (Spain) for the new Birds of the Philippines by Desmond Allen and All the Birds of the World. The Birds of the Philippines is the most updated field guide after the Complete Guide to Birds of the Philippines by Robert Kennedy, et al printed in 1999. Written by Desmond Allen who was initially with the WBCP Records Committee and an invited member of the WBCP Rarities Committee, the Birds of the Philippines was based on the yearly records compiled by the WBCP from sightings all over the Philippines by Club members, bird photographers, visiting birders, and many other sources.
March 13 – Kapihan: Hunting
In light of the recent hunting issues, Karen Ochavo suggested hunting as the Kapihan topic on March 13. The Kapihan started with Mike Lu’s narration of how for quite some time he had already been birding the NLEX Total Gas Station. Next, some members took turns sharing several encounters with hunters at the site, followed by Atty Jennifer Ramos answering queries about RA 9147 (Wildlife Act). It was a fruitful meeting with Tourism Usec Robby Alabado donating a starter fund of 10k php to produce tarpaulins and posters with anti-hunting reminders and bird photos.
March 15 – Public consultation for the new Manila International Airport
On March 15 at 10 am, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) conducted a public consultation on the proposed New Manila International Airport in Bulacan via Zoom. Around 200 people were in attendance including several members of the club. Issues were raised by concerned organizations and citizens which SMC people did not address directly. Some important sectors, like the Biodiversity Management Board (BMB) were present but was not given the chance to air their opinion. Participants came away with the feeling that the public consultation was just for show just so that SMC could claim they did conduct a public consultation as required under law. Above photo shows the destruction of the mangroves in Taliptip, the site of the proposed airport.
March 27 – Kapihan – Raptor Group Study 1
Since we cannot go out raptor watching due to the COVID quarantine, we decided to have a group study session focused on these fascinating birds. A Powerpoint presentation with photos from birders and illustrations from the Allen guide were shown for everyone to give their inputs. Jon Villasper gave a fascinating talk about thermals and uplifts. Adrian Constantino prepared a quiz for participants to apply what had been discussed. ID tidbits were also provided by Mads Bajarias. The exchanges were so robust that two hours had already passed but we had not gone through the entire list so a part 2 was in order!
March 27 – PBF presentation to the World Birdfairs Council (WBC)
The World Birdfairs Council (WBC) invited its member organizations to introduce their bird fairs/festivals during a ZOOM meeting. WBCP President Mike Lu gave a 3-minute introduction to the Philippine Bird Festival focusing on the purpose of educating schoolchildren in different cities in the Philippines. Other bird fairs presented during the 1-1/2 hour meeting were continental fairs from Asia, South America and Africa, other bird fairs were from Spain, Mongolia, Korea, Brazil, Panama, Guatemala and Argentina. Mike Lu, as a founding member of the Asian Bird Fair is also a founding member of the World Birdfairs Council.
March 30 – 1st quarter 2021 LPPWP Protected Area Management Board Meeting
DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline Caancan led the 1st quarter Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) meeting of the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park via ZOOM. PAMB stakeholders led by Senator Cynthia Villar attended the meeting. WBCP President Mike Lu represented one of the slot for NGOs. The meeting tackled the status of the Wetland Center project which was initiated with funding from the Villar SIPAG Foundation and turned over to the DENR-NCR for the second phase of the construction. DENR-NCR assured the PAMB that funds have been allocated and the project is projected to be finished before the year ends. The PAMB also approved the extension of the boardwalk project with WBCP urging the construction to be finished before the migratory birds arrive in September.