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Asian Waterbird Census 2004 Philippines

Carlo C. Custodio, Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, Quezon City, Philippines,

The 2004 Asian Waterbird Census in the Philippines recorded a total of 113,412 waterbirds from 76 species. There were a total of eight new species, some of them common, which were recorded in the census as follows: Watercock, Common Coot, Long-billed Plover, Swinhoe’s Snipe, Long-toed Stint, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Brown-headed Gull, and White-winged Black Tern. There was a total of 890 Chinese Egrets counted from different parts of the country where the greatest concentrations were in the Visayan islands, in central Philippines. A new record of the Chinese Egret was made in a locality called Tanza, a coastal town in the southeast corner of Manila Bay. The Asian Dowitcher composed of 23 individuals was only recorded on Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary, a Ramsar Site and a site on the East Asian-Australasian Shorebird Site Network. Lake Mainit in the northeast corner of the island of Mindanao in south Philippines, was found to host about 5,300 Tufted Duck. Naujan Lake, a part of the North East Asian Anatidae Site Network, on the island of Mindoro is also important for Tufted Duck, unfortunately it was not visited for the 2004 AWC.

Sixty-one (61) localities were visited this year with most of the new localities coming from the coastal areas and fringes of Manila Bay. The Bay, as in previous years, has been proving to be an important feeding ground for migrating shorebirds. Puerto Rivas in Balanga, Bataan had the highest count from a single locality at 12,632 birds. It would be worthwhile noting that Puerto Rivas is also a coastal town along the western portion of Manila Bay.

There was an increase in the number of counters this year, which numbered 135, compared with 122 counters in 2003. The majority of the counters came from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, however it should be noted that the staff from its National Capital Region contributed to the AWC for the first time. A new group of Filipino volunteers who are members of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines also participated in the count for the first time. The Junior Ecologist Movement, which is composed of students of the Cor Jesu College in Digos, Davao del Sur in southern Philippines also continued to contribute to the AWC.