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For the Record: The Rarities Committee Report

By Cheta Chua and Angel Chan

Rarities Report   
Presented by Cheta Chua
General Assembly
For the 20th Anniversary of WBCP
July 23, 2023-La Vista Clubhouse, Quezon City

Cheta Chua served as an assistant to Christian Perez who is the Secretary of the Rarities Committee. Due to untimely demise of Christian, who used to deliver the Annual Rarities Report, Cheta took over to carry on this task. During the report, Cheta emphasized Christian’s great contribution to the Philippine birding community.

New Country Records

  • New country records are birds discovered during a certain period after the latest Philippine Bird List has been published.  Mostly, species are accidental migrants which are sighted with proper documentation and then classified under “Rarities”. When the accidental species are seen 20 times, they become regulars and are removed from the “Rarities” list.
  • For 2022, there were six (6) new country records.
  • The Rarities reported were accidental migrants from Batanes. 
  • The strategic location of Batanes, being in the northern most part of the Philippines, yielded a good number of vagrants that passed through this province.
  • Bird photographer Charls Lee Ibanes and birding guide Albert Patimo from Batanes reported new country records for 2022.
  • WBCP members Lu-Ann Fuentes Bajarias, Mads Bajarias and Rob Hutchinson also contributed to new country records for 2022.
  • Lu-Ann and Mads were able to add a last minute addition in December 2022 with the Long-billed Plover, spotting the difference from the Common  Ringed Plover and which was further verified by proper photo documentation and validation from the experts.       

Selected  Interesting Records

  • The Ferruginous Duck made its first appearance in Tarlac having been spotted by Ferds Binuya and Errol Sabie.  During the same migration season, several WBCP members also sighted this species in Candaba.
  • The Long-tailed Skua made an unusual appearance in the mudflats of Bulacan, near the area to be reclaimed for the future construction of the Bulacan International Airport.  The Long-tailed Skua, which is normally seen in open seas, was sighted by  Rob Huthinson,  Mads Bajarias, Adri and Trinket Constantino.
  • The previously only known records of the Masked Booby in the Philippines was a pair found in Tubbataha Reef, Palawan. Anthony Schlenker was able to spot 3 individuals of this species off the coast of Ilocos Norte.
  • The Glossy Ibis has been sighted in Zamboanga City. There were originally six (6) individuals sighted together with a breeding pair.   Former known records of the Glossy Ibis only existed at the Baras Bird Sanctuary in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat.
  • Journalist Rommel Vida documented a dead Tropic Bird during an oil spill in Oriental Mindoro last March 2023.
  • Though the Eurasian Oyster Catcher has been sighted in several parts of the Philippines, this made an unexpected appearance in the National Capital Region as reported by Mads Bajarias, Adri Constantino, Jasmin Meren and Guy Dotson.  A number of WBCP members were able to see this wader. 
  • The Forest Wagtail was the last lifer for Christian Perez.  This migrant has more than 20 records. The species was no longer considered accidental and was therefore delisted from the Rarities list. Christian was one of the top birders of the country with 80% of Philippine Birds by having 541 species in his life list.  Most of these birds were from the rarities on record.  He was the embodiment of having a sense of adventure, highlighting the beauty of the nature, birds and the Philippines in general, having visited all the provinces in the country. Christian was an inspiration to other birders being a pillar and a legend to the Philippine birding community contributing both time and effort to the Records and Rarities Committees.

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