Friday, 1 October 2010

Balanga City, Bataan Province, Philippines

Common tern ssp longipennis?
Whiskered Tern
Puerto Rivas, Bataan, RP

Mabuhay! After a long journey through the night we finally made it to Balanga City about 10:30 am today. This area is in Manila Bay, virtually due west of metro Manila. It is situated  on the East Asian-Australian Flyway and is a very important stopping place for migratory birds.

We found out the hard way that the ferry no longer operates from Manila so we took a cab from the airport. Exhaustion meant that on arrival I had to get some sleep before I did anything. We went out to the Balanga Wetlands Park late afternoon, which our tricylce taxi-driver knew. On  arrival the tide was almost full so there weren't any birds on the shore but there were thousands of terns, egrets and a handful of collared kingfisher in the surrounds.

I make the above a common tern but I have some doubts and it might possibly be a whiskered tern. I have posted it on the Philippine Bird Photographer's Forum with a view to getting confirmation or otherwise. There were a lot of these about today. It is not a brilliant photo, in fact I could post better photographs but I chose this one because it shows more potential and what the rewards may be when I reach that promised land. I fon't think my equipment combined with the available light would have allowed me to get more of the bird in focus. Maybe come back about 12 noon!

Shore birds, even if they are very similar to the species we see regularily in Thailand, are cool too even though I could be chasing down endemics! I'll head out early tomorrow to see what we can see and photograph.

I have to say it is lovely being around the birds and people in the Philippines again. Balanga City has a really nice feel to it. There was a lot of interest from the locals in our presence and indeed in our beautiful little boy who fell and cut himself. The first time he has drawn blood! I am glad to say he is shaken but not stirred and appears to be over it. This is a nice place and probably not a bad stop if you are with non-birders. There are quite a lot of things to do in this area. Anyhow must sleep ahead of my planned early start tomorrow so I'll finish here.

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