Rare wetland bird sighted in Cabusao Wetland
by RL Mendones
Presence attributed to available food source
Cabusao, Camarines Sur (5 February) -- Two whimbrels, wetland migratory birds often seen in Olango Island in Cebu, were recently found by a team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Cabusao wetland here.
The team, headed by Senior Ecosystems Management Specialist Myrna Baylon, was surprised to find whimbrels in the area because they were not seen in the past monitoring activities.
Regional Executive Director Joselin Marcus Fragada of DENR Bicol has commissioned the team in conducting the Annual Waterbird Census in the region, in concurrence with similar counts conducted across the county and coordinated around the world.
During migration and in their winter diet, whimbrels are known to feed on fiddler crabs and shore worms, which Baylon noted thrive in Cabusao wetland adding that might have attracted the said bird specie.
Fiddler crabs are considered as an important food during winter, and the shape of the whimbrel's bill matches the curve of the crab's burrow.
This development is essential to DENR Bicol to analyze and substantiate as it submits input to the 2010 Asian Waterbird Census Report.
To bird conservationists the data would help identify and protect important migration stopover to ultimately protect the birds and their habitats.
The Sangguniang Bayan here, meanwhile, has issued a resolution declaring part of the San Miguel Bay area as critical habitat owed to its being a roosting (perch area on which birds, esp. domestic fowls, can rest or sleep) and feeding ground of thousands of migratory birds, ducks including other shore and water birds.
Cabusao is in fact the roosting and feeding ground of Anas luzonica, a vulnerable wild duck found only in the Philippines.
Estimated number of wild duck found during the monitoring activity was estimated at 2,500; mallard duck at 1,300; common sand piper 850; and Kentish plover 550. Other wetland bird species found include: little ring plover, Northern shoveller; terek sand piper; little egret; and gray heron.
The 27-hectare wetland area in Cabusao hosts some 20 species of birds, 17 mangrove species, 11 grass, among other species, a recent DENR Bicol assessment report stated. A DENR Bicol team determined the bird species and its population over a period of active migration.
With the passing of said resolution both the DENR Bicol and local government here have achieved the goal of establishing the said site as a critical habitat, Fragada remarked. (DENR V/PIA) [top]