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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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January 21, 2009

return to candaba wetlands bird sanctuary

Egrets of Candaba
egrets of Candaba

The wetlands of Candaba in Pampanga is (2nd) home to a variety of migratory birds during the months of November to February (late autumn - winter in the northern hemisphere). The birds are plentiful during those months.

I revisited the bird sanctuary last weekend on a mountain bike (68km one way, whew!). Biking to a wildlife/bird sanctuary seemed like a good "clean and green" statement to start the year :).

The fields around the sanctuary were being prepare for planting. During the rainy season these fields are underwater so they are used as fish ponds. When the planting season comes, they are drained and the fish harvested. The small fishes, frogs and snails make up the smorgasbord for the birds.

the birds are used to human presence

I notice that egrets and terns are particularly numerous, sharing the feeding grounds (terns and egrets are fish feeders).

Egrets, Terns, and Egrets
egrets and terns

I was amused at how a flock of Black-winged Stilts(shore birds) and Whiskered Terns(sea birds) just stood there, at exactly the same spot, for hours. These stilts and terns breed in warmer areas and the abundance of food in Candaba this time of the year makes it a perfect nesting ground. Thanks to Romy Ocon for identifying the birds for me.

Stilts and Terns
stilts (on the water) and terns (on the dike)

According to wikipedia: " The breeding habitat of all these stilts are marshes, shallow lakes and ponds. These birds pick up their food from sand or water. They mainly eat insects and crustaceans."

I spotted several specifies of egrets there - Great Egrets, Lesser Egrets, and Chinese Egrets just to name a few. I'm sure there are other species, I'm not just knowledgeable enough to identify them.

To and Fro
a Great Egret foraging

I love watching the terns do their aerial acrobatics. They twist, turn sharply, or dive abruptly. The gull billed terns do not usually dive for fish, instead they catch insects in mid-flight. That must explain their superb flight agility.

I Got Your Back
Whiskered terns in flight

The egrets on the other hand are a graceful contrast to the jaunty terns. They glide and land without making much of splash on the water.

Flight Mode
graceful in flight

preserving the wetlands

Most of the locals (farmers) are conscious about the preservation of the sanctuary. Some admitted that they used to hunt wild ducks there but now guard the area against hunters and poachers.

The town of Candaba also held its first Ibon-Ebon Festival (Ibon means bird, Ebon means egg) last February 1-2 of 2008 to enhance the public's awareness of the conservation efforts and to promote the wildlife reserve as an eco-tourism destination as well as highlight the town's duck-egg industry.

easier access to Candaba
The road linking the bustling town of Baliuag (in the adjacent province of Bulacan) to Candaba is now being concreted (roads like this are part of the "farm to market road" initiative). This road, impassable during the wet season, runs right near the reserve area. If this road becomes a busy highway, it would certainly have environmental impact on the birds.

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lagal[og] said...

nice nice takes bai. lalo na yung lumilipad na terns. bumalik ka pala. sarap nga sana magshoot dyan kaya lang wala akong mas mahabang lente.

Anonymous said...

Ang ganda! nakakatuwa at ang dami nila ulit. Season na talaga nila ngayon. And the first shot - Astig!

Lantaw said...

@oggie - thanks bai! Halos mamatay matay ako sa layo, imagine pedaling for 4 hours! hehe. Yung 300mm ko barely maka abot sa mga birds. Buti na lang daming egrets and terns dun mismo sa tabing daan lang.

@ferdz - oo bai marami sila ngayon. Parang gusto ko nga bumalik, this time NO bikes :D. Salamat sa bisita!

Anonymous said...

Geesh, you pedalled your way there for 4 hours? That is coolness, and weary you must be is an understatement... Gosh, I could not pedal a kilometer now, seems like i'm gonna cry reaching a kilometer's distance. Oh well, that is a virtue. The sacrifices you make as a photographer, and it's just worth it. last Sunday, Hubby woke me up at 3am in order to reach Gumasa, and catch the sunrise. Drats, it was gloomy there, but we enjoyed the trip anyway.

Lantaw said...

@sheng - Una lang naman mahirap sa biking, after a few trips maaddict ka na hehe. my weekends now are divided between photography and mountain biking, but sometimes i'm able to do both at the same time.
I saw Ric's Gumasa photos, gloomy weather pa rin pala dun until now...

escape said...

galing allan. as much as im amused with the photos im amazed with how these birds fly from different countries to the Philippines. i also noticed terns at the airport grounds and the sound of the planes arriving doesnt even disturb them. one time makakasama rin ako sa yo magmountain bike.

mgaputonimimi said...

galing ng pagka capture.. lalu na yung lumilipad... hirap ata non...

Lantaw said...

@dom - thanks! I think we are very fortunate to have them here, I just hope they will keep coming. sure bro, bike tayo minsan

@mimi - thanks! hit and miss thing, out of several shots I only "hit" a few :)

Sidney said...

Wow...great capture of those migrating birds... went there last year...it is a beautiful region...but I don't have the guts to do this on a bike !

Photo Cache said...

I'm glad that there is awareness in conserving wetlands like this. The birds are a sight to behold. Fantastic post.

Lantaw said...

@Sidney - Thanks! You should come back there, you might be able to spot new birds :)

@Photo Cache - Thanks! Folks there are getting more aware how precious those birds are :)

Anonymous said...

wow...i didn't know these beautiful birds existed in pampanga! so much to learn about our islands!

zherwin said...

awesome shots, as always.

why pedal for 4 hours when coastal road/paranaque is just few minutes away? marami rin dun, nakikita ko sila araw-araw lalo na kapag low tide, parang fiesta! :)

Lantaw said...

@miss igorota - they are there till Feb if you want to visit them :D

@zherwin - why pedal for 4 hours? because I can :D. I love biking and I wanted to revisit Candaba, so its 2 birds with 1 stone hehe. I know about the migratory birds near the coastal roads from photos by friends who go there for birding, but I don't like the garbage there ;)

kyawster said...

grabeeee sir.... 4 hours nag pedal para lang mag shoot ng mga birds.... di ata kaya ng powers ko yan hehehe

Lantaw said...

@kyawster - haha, well not really just to take photos, otherwise I could have just taken the public transportation. Partly bike trip na rin :D

Anonymous said...

I salute you for biking your way to Candaba. Well, it's not an easy feat for many of us. Hehe.

Your photo of the birds in flight is just beautiful. The photos really made me realize how magnificent our planet is and it's such a shame that we are not taking great care of Mother Earth.

Lantaw said...

@dyosa - We indeed live in a magnificent planet :). Though it is in a bad shape right now (due to our own doings), people nowadays are becoming aware and receptive to the efforts to save our planet. Hopefully its not too late :).
re biking - the greatest reward in biking is being able to defeat one's self. Thanks for dropping by!

Anonymous said...

Wow, been wanting to do this since 4 years ago. Maybe I should na no? hehe! Great shots. I love the flight of the egret, they are indeed graceful. Thanks for sharing. BTW, I'm enjoying your blog :-)

Lantaw said...

Jenn, you should! you should! Although they always say more and more birds come each year, with the farming and the various infrastructure development going on around the place, the birds might decide to settle for a new haven in the future. I'm glad you enjoy my blog. Thanks for the visit!

Oman said...

68 kms. wow.

ang ganda ng mga birds in flight photos mo. i tried to shoot flying birds in a bird sanctuary in bataan kaso i did not like most of my shots. sana matutuhan ko din yan in due time.

Lantaw said...

Oman, Its a hit and miss bro, I got a lot of unusable shots. You should also try panning shots. Patience also :)

Louise said...

THis is a terrific post with amazing pictures and fantastic information. Thanks for making that LOOOONG trek on your bike!

Catherine said...

Love the shots of the egrets particularly...

Anonymous said...

What a great life you have. Wow ..

Unknown said...

Wonderful shots and info on the birds, they are fascinating.

Lantaw said...

My pleasure Louise!

Thanks Catherine, precious and Brit' Gal Sarah

Thank you all for dropping by!

Arija said...

What a wealth of birdlife such a rich food source attasts. Great post, great place.

Gaelyn said...

Thanks for the wetlands tour. Great post and captures. Nice to see the land being used, yet with respect and eco-friendly.

Lantaw said...

Thanks Arija, Candaba's rich ecosystem does help in attracting the birds.

Glad you enjoyed the photos Gaelyn, right now we are seeing in Candaba a great synergy of using the land and maintaining the ecosystem.

elizondo said...

Wow, I've never seen such great photos of egrets and to add you did well on it. Thanks for sharing.

bass said...

Wow, you did a magnificent job, of course with a li'l sacrifice on your part. They are just awesome, what an excellent prize for you biking to reach the place. You are also a gifted photographer.

Lantaw said...

Thank you very much Footnotes and Skies

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm lucky if I see one egret at a time. I'd be in egret heaven to see so many at once. :-) Your shots are wonderful!

Lantaw said...

Thanks 2sweetnsaxy! Hopefully those egrets are here to stay :)

MysLykeMeeh said...

wow---u captured it well...perfect timing when that creatures soar---

and so very nice---Pampanga is it? Just amazing picture---

Lantaw said...

Thanks MysLykeMeeh! Yes Candaba is in Pampanga, its also near Baliuag, Bulacan

Anonymous said...

loooooove the second photo. so natural. ;)

Lantaw said...

Thanks Vanny!

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