The official website of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines
The official website of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines

Back to Home

Birding South Reclamation Project in Cebu

DATE: 10/31/2004
SITE: South Reclamation Project, Cebu
Site Qualifier: Along the road facing the lake
Time in the field : 1500H-1700H
Weather: 1/3 Cloud cover, hot afternoon with slight sea breeze
Observer: Nilo Arribas Jr., Louie Palang, Roland Tantuico
Contact information of the observer: ph_photo_97@yahoo.com
Equipment Used: 12x50 binoculars, Kennedy et al Guide
========================================================================
The South Reclamation Project in Cebu is a bone of contention between the local governments of Talisay and Cebu cities. Regardless of who will finally have jusrisdiction over this place, the birds have already settled in grassland and lakes created within the reclaimed area.

Louie informed me the presence of many birds in this area several days back. He and his son decided to try birding on their own and were surprised to discover more than what they expected. We decided to check the place Sunday afternoon. 2.40PM

The meeting place was SM City Cebu. We wasted no time and proceeded straight to SRP picking up Louie's uncle Roland just before the SRP entrance. Louie decided to stop along the side of the highway as he pointed to a group of Litte heron on the other side of the road. We were amazed since the birds continued foraging even with our presence just across the highway. There is no need for binoculars for ID even for the Common sandpiper who share the pond with the egrets. The view of the lake on the right side of the highway if you are coming from Cebu city is simply remarkable. A perfect place to setup scope and perhaps let the birders or even kids identify the birds on the other side of the lake. Anyway, since we didn't have a spotting scope and we are all healthy adults, we decided to look for a trail that would take us to the other side of this lake without getting wet.

Chestnut Munia
Chestnut Munia

Several minutes later, we saw ourselves in the back portion of the lake or large pond. Along the way, two Yellow-vented bulbuls caught our attention as Brown shrikes assert their territorial claims in the reeds. We were also rewarded with a close view of 3 Intermediate egrets. These sightings were in a relatively clean and peaceful place away from picnicking crowds. Well, the area is generally clean on the right side of the highway owing the the absence of the typical crowds who prefer the seaside portion of the sRP which at this time of the day now is teeming with temporary barbeque stands of peddlers or picnickers.


Highlights of the trip:

Yellow Wag Tail
Yellow Wag Tail

The highlights of this trip were the sightings of more than 300 (rough estimate) Yellow wagtails and a lone duck. The Yellow wagtails really put up a show for us in practically all spots of the SRP. I have never seen such a huge concentration of Wagtails before such that they outnumbered the Eurasian tree sparrows in this area. Some immatures were also noted among the flocks. Starting at around 4.30PM we saw hundreds of Wagtails flying towards the general direction of the an island near or within the jurisdiction of Cordova.

The highlights of this trip were the sightings of more than 300 (rough estimate) Yellow wagtails and a lone duck. The Yellow wagtails really put up a show for us in practically all spots of the SRP. I have never seen such a huge concentration of Wagtails before such that they outnumbered the Eurasian tree sparrows in this area. Some immatures were also noted among the flocks. Starting at around 4.30PM we saw hundreds of Wagtails flying towards the general direction of the an island near or within the jurisdiction of Cordova.

While looking for an entry trail going to the back of the lake, we flushed a large bird flying low with extended neck pointing down. At that instant I know it was a duck considering the size (similar to a Philippine duck) and flight pattern but I'm the only one who managed to get a reasonable view.

While slowly making our way to the back of the lake, the duck made another fly-by and this time Louie and his uncle Roland saw it. We were looking at a slightly backlit bird but I noted a darker underparts. These sigtings were made while the bird is flying away from us.

We decided to get a closer view of the duck swimming from a distance of about 100 meters. Armed with only 12x50 binoculars and a setting sun, it is only the duck's extended neck and a quacking sound that indicated that it was really a duck! The sound of passing vehicles/trucks made it difficult to focus on its call while swimming along the other side of the lake.

We were just wondering though why this particular duck is living a lonely life in this part of the reclamation area. The place, in my opinion, is an ideal habitat for ducks considering the absence of settlers and the presence of natural barriers such as reeds and bodies of water. It would be nice to have some trees along the highway that can provide natural shade for birders in the area.

Conclusion:

The South Reclamation Project, particularly the lake area, is an ideal urban wild birdwatching site due to relative abundance of wild bird species and it's proximity to Cebu city and neighboring settlement areas. These potentials however will depend largely on the development plan (if there is such a thing) for the place. Access to the SRP highway that cuts through this lake is only up to 6.00PM and may explain why the birds are relatively easier to approach at this point.

BIRD LIST: (COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME)
1. Intermediate Egret [Ardea intermedia] -3, seen very close
2. Little Egret [Egretta garzetta] -12+ seen as flocks in different spots
3. Duck sp. -1, longer neck than average Philippine duck, with darker underparts. Probably a Wandering whistling-duck but can't confirm.
4. Button quail sp. -1, flushed while we were walking. Probably barred
5. Barred Rail [Gallirallus torquatus] -3 seen, more heard
6. Little Ringed-Plover [Charadrius dubius] -45+ seen as flock
7. Common Greenshank [Tringa nebularia] -1
8. Common Sandpiper [Actitis hypoleucos] -15+
9. Whiskered Tern [Chlidonias hybridus] -7
10. Zebra Dove [Geopelia striata] -2
11. Glossy Swiftlet [Collocalia esculenta] -5+
12. Barn Swallow [Hirundo rustica] -5
13. Pacific Swallow [Hirundo tahitica] -10+
14. Yellow-vented Bulbul [Pycnonotus goiavier] -1
15. Oriental Reed-Warbler [Acrocephalus orientalis] -1
16. Striated Grassbird [Megalurus palustris] -2 seen, more heard
17. Bright-capped Cisticola [Cisticola exilis] -2
18. Yellow Wagtail [Motacilla flava] -300+ seen as flock, some immatures
19. Brown Shrike [Lanius cristatus] -3
20. Eurasian Tree Sparrow [Passer montanus] -common, flocks of at least 10+
21. Scaly-breasted Munia [Lonchura punctulata] -2
22. Chestnut Munia [Lonchura malacca] -25+