Location: Vicinity of Mayor Jerry Pelayos
pond (entry through Barangay Bahay Pari, Baliuag, Bulacan)
Time: 5 am to 930am
Cloud Cover: 1/8
Trip Report: Madz Bajarias and Patty Adversario
Bird List: Madz Bajarias
We wanted to visit Candaba during the off-season,
that is, before the northern migratory birds arrive, so we
can get detailed observations about its resident species.
meant, waking up at 2am on a Sunday, to meet a fellow
birder at 3.30am, so we could catch the dawn break.
Madz, in true fashion, showed up even if he was still
nursing stitches from an ear surgery the previous week.
We got lost after reaching the Bahay ng Pari bridge,
but we made good time as dawn was breaking over the
fields. Swiftlets and a black-crowned night heron were
among the first to appear in the faint light.
started our walk from one of the poultry houses along
a muddy road that was etched deep with carabao cart
tracks.Two days ago, typhoon Igme had rammed her way
through north Luzon and it was just the second day with
no rain. The days highlight came early.
We spotted three BLACK-WINGED STILTS foraging on a patch
of clear dry ground across a field.
stilts later flew off, but one stayed on the ground. The diagnostic
black strip on its nape (back of the neck) indicated that
it was ssp. leucocephalus.
to the Kennedy guide, the race leucocephalus may migrate
up from the south or may breed as it is thought to do so in
Java, Bali, and Sulawesi. Recorded every month except July.
Some authors treat it as a full species WHITE-HEADED STILT
Our second treat was the appearance of at least eight GRASS
OWLS between 7 to 7.30am. There were five from the right side
of the field and three from the left. They kept coming up
and swooping down on prey. Soon, we saw huge field rats scampering
across the road to cross to the safer side of the field.
reckoned the owls were chasing the rats that were being flushed
out from the fields by laborers who were cutting grass. Either
that, or the owls may have been the ones being flushed out
from their roost among the tall grass.
It seemed there was busy bittern traffic
that day. We saw several cinnamon, yellow and black
bitterns flying across the field. From where I stood
at the edge of the field, the air traffic,
in general, was heavy.At one point, a grass owl flew
over a cinnamon bittern that was flying the other way.
And to their right, a purple heron was flying further
I had a camera with a wide-angle lens, I could have
caught all three in a single frame. Right close to us
by the road, bright-capped cisticolas were dzip-dzip-dzipping
like castanets as they swooped upwards and then playfully
plunged into the tall grass.
said the jacanas were further afield, and that meant trudging
through more mud. Our shoes felt heavy, because it seemed
that more patches of mud clung to our shoes with each step.
But we wanted to see the jacanas and we werent disappointed.
saw five PHEASANT-TAILED JACANAS on a patch of high dry ground
in the middle part of a pond, located on the left side of
the big pond owned by Mayor Jerry. The jacanas
appeared to be in breeding plumage. One flew off giving a
far-carrying miew miew. In flight, the white marks on its
black wings were striking.
saw one that kept walking around a mound and seemed to be
foraging. The mound, which was roughly a meter at its widest,
was surrounded by emergent vegetation. We observed it for
about half an hour as it kept walking back and forth on the
On our way back, we chatted with one of the caretakers. Locals
call the jacanas kahot-kahot. They breed from
July to August and produce kulay-lumot (moss green-colored)
eggs in threes. The eggs are slightly larger than quail eggs
(pugo) and locals even gather these and eat them boiled.
According to the Kennedy guide, there is no breeding
information in the Philippines about this species. Thats
what he said --but on July 4, about 9.30am, as we trudged
back to dry field, we were savoring that fresh bit of information
about the breeding jacanas of Candaba.
1. Little egret [Egretta garzetta] - 12. In flight
and foraging on the mud
2. Purple heron [Ardea purpurea] - 4. Singles
3. Black-crowned Night-heron [Nycticorax nycticorax]
- 4. In flight
4. Cinnamon bittern [Ixobrychus cinnamomeus] - 15+
5. Yellow bittern [Ixobrychus sinensis] - 40+
6. Black bittern [Dupetor flavicollis] - 6-10
7. White-browed crake [Porzana cinerea] - 4. skulking
8. White-breasted waterhen [Amaurornis phoenicurus]
9. Common moorhen [Gallinula chloropus] - 5
10. Pheasant-tailed jacana [Hydrophasianus chirurgus]
11. Little ringed-plover [Charadrius dubius] - 6
12. Oriental pratincole [Glareola maldivarum] - 3.
Hawking for insects
13. Black-winged Stilt ssp. leucocephalus [Himantopus himantopus
leucocephalus] - 3. Two in flight and 1 foraging in mud.
Some authors treat it as a separate species White-headed stilt.
14. Spotted dove [Streptopelia chinensis] - 20+
15. Zebra dove [Geopelia striata] - 3
16. Lesser coucal [Centropus bengalensis] - 1
17. Grass owl [Tyto capensis] - 8. Some authors treat
this as a separate species Eastern Grass-owl T. longimembris.
18. Pacific swallow [Hirundo tahitica] - 3
19. Yellow-vented bulbul [Pycnonotus goiavier] - 10+
20. Pied bushchat [Saxicola caprata] - 2. 1 male, 1
21. Tawny grassbird [Megalurus timoriensis] - 1
22. Striated grassbird [Megalurus palustris] - 10+
23. Bright-capped cisticola [Cisticola exilis] - 4
24. Zitting cisticola [Cisticola juncidis] - 20+
25. Pied fantail [Rhipidura javanica] - 1
26. Eurasian tre-sparrow [Passer montanus] - 20+
27. Scaly-breasted munia [Lonchura punctulata] - 10+
28. Chestnut munia [Lonchura malacca] - 40+