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Paniman beach, Puerto Azul, Cavite

Location: Mangrove interior of Paniman beach, Puerto Azul, Cavite
Dates: Feb. 21, Sat, 4:30pm to 6pm, Feb. 22, Sun, 8am to 1pm
Birders: Kitty Arce, Mads Bajarias, Lala Espanola

February 21, Saturday morning, we spent birding in Pico de Loro trail and roadsides near the DENR station with Rene Bajit and party. At around 4pm, Rene's party had to go back to Manila leaving Kitty, Lala and me to explore the river and mangrove interior next to the Paniman beach inside Puerto Azul resort. In a past email, Kitty had mentioned this area might be worth exploring since it was well-hidden and due to the resort's regulations against non-members, it seems no one ventures into those parts.

At 4:30pm, Saturday, we entered Puerto Azul thanks to club member Kitty and proceeded to Paniman beach. Along the way, we passed a family of monkeys and we saw nice, quiet scrub which could be perfect for ground birds.

We found the beach empty except for the 3 of us and a slightly belligerent shotgun-wielding security guard and what I assume was his "aide." Kitty showed us the mouth of the river that drains to the sea but we could not find an easy way to the interior which was blocked by dense, prickly scrub.

By the way, this was not newly-reforested mangrove; this was a dark and gloomy place dominated by big, towering, unfriendly-looking trees on muddy ground. Everything seemed gray and smelled of brine and decay. A setting for a Conrad story, and it reminded me of the phrase "even the jungle wanted him dead" for some scary reason.

Though we haven't identified an entry point we were determined to explore the interior the following morning. While we rested, I noticed that there was a score of bancas on the water--about a kilometer from shore--the bancas were evenly-spaced and then a heard a loud BOOM!

One after another, the fishermen hurled objects to the water which resulted in explosions followed by tall spouts
of water. This was the first time I've witnessed dynamite fishing.

Kitty asked the security guard what has he done to stop the blasting and the guard made some flimsy excuse about not being able to do anything about it.

The next morning, family picnickers were already present when we arrived. The sea was serene; no evidence of the crimes committed the previous day.

Through persistence, we were able to squeeze through the prickly scrub and managed to enter the mangrove area and was pleasantly surprised to see that the river was well-stocked with bangus/milkfish (Chanos chanos)! This seemed to provide the milkfish a nice sanctuary.

Black-naped Oriole

Nice birds nicely seen were mangrove blue (v curious and looked right back at us!) and a perched crested serpent-eagle.

BIRD LIST:
1. Purple heron - 1
2. Little heron - 1
3. Brahminy kite - 50+. The brahminys flew low over the water in a dense flock, apparently feasting on the fish killed by the dynamite fishers. This dense flock also included other raptors we could not ID.
4. Accipiter sp. - ?
5. White-bellied sea-eagle - 1. perched.
6. Phil. hawk-eagle - 1
7. Crested serpent-eagle - 1 perched. 1 in flight.
8. Barred rail - 1
9. Peregrine falcon - 1
10. Plover sp. - a flock kept close to the dynamite fishers
11. Tern sp. - a flock kept close to the dynamite fishers
12. Pink-necked green-pigeon - 2 (pair)
13. White-eared brown-dove - 5
14. Glossy swiftlet - 10+
15. Pygmy swiftlet - 5-10
16. Asian palm-swift - 2
17. White-throated kingfisher - 2
18. White-collared kingfisher - 1
19. Phil pygmy woodpecker - 1
20. Red-crested malkoha - 2
21. Phil bulbul - 10+
22. Yellow-vented bulbul - 10+
23. Black-naped oriole - 10
24. Large-billed crow - 5-10
25. Elegant tit - 6
26. Stripe-headed rhabdornis - 1
27. Golden-bellied flyeater - HO
28. Grey-streaked flycatcher - 3
29. Mangrove-blue flycatcher - 6
30. Pied fantail - 10
31. Black-naped monarch - 6
32. White-breasted wood-swallow - 1
33. Brown shrike - 1
34. Olive-backed sunbird - 4