This year Tonji spent 21 days building ponds. He started building in February to give himself enough time to get a few ponds in before the start of the rainy season in June. He would have continued building even longer except that we were not able to go the the farm regularly for two months.
The first pond he built was Pond No. 5. It was slow-going and took him 9 days to complete because the area was wet and sticky. In March, we got an unexpected day rainy day and were thrilled to see puddles forming at the bottom of the pond!
March – Pond No. 5 being inspected by Momo and Barkley
When the real rains came around in June, the pond got filled up half way! It takes a lot of rain to make all the soil settle down and form a waterproof layer that will hold water.
June – Pond No. half full!
It was nice to see the pond fill up with water, but had the wildlife discovered the ponds yet? Were the Philippine Ducks using it? Did they know that they now had seven ponds at their disposal? We inspected the pond for signs of life. We found lots of small feathers around the pond edge!
June – signs of life!
This month we’ve resumed our regular farm visits and are thrilled with the results from the pond building! We’ve been having the most amazing views of Philippine Ducks!
If you look closely, you can see water drops on the duck’s chest. They probably came from the pond!
I also had a wish fulfilled. I was finally able to take the photo I’ve been dreaming of — a Philippine Duck standing by one of our ponds!
Pond No. 5
And even better, there were TWO of them! There may have been more ducks in Pond No. 5, but we didn’t want to disturb them by going closer. So all of us including Momo and Barkley walked away quietly and left the ducks to enjoy their pond.
Two Philippine Ducks at Pond No. 5
That same morning we inspected Pond No. 7 and seven Philippine Ducks flew out of the pond. This pond took ten days to build.
Pond No. 7
The smallest of the three new ponds is Pond No. 6. It took only two days to build and we’ve also seen ducks in it!
It is so gratifying and encouraging to see our projects working! It’s a thrill to be able to share our space with wildlife.
These are all the species we have seen at the sanctuary over the years, with notes on recent sightings.
Philippine Coucal on top of a mango tree
Lesser Coucal sunning itself in an Aroma bush
cute Bee Eaters
Intermediate Egret near the cottage
4 pied birds — Pied Bushchat
Pink-necked Green Pigeon in front of the cottage!
Pink-necked Green Pigeon
Pink-necked in a favorite tall perch
Olive-backed Sunbird on Madre de Cacao
Notes on recent sightings
Wandering Whistling Duck
Anas luzonica had our highest count in January, 23 birds at one time
Ixobrychus cinnamomeus was common in 2017
Black-crowned Night Heron
Nycticorax nycticorax not common, first seen in August 2017
Eastern Cattle Egret
Ardea purpurea there’s one individual in the picnic area
Ardea intermedia there was one very close to the cottage in March, might have gotten blown in with the strong wind
Philippine Serpent Eagle
Circus melanoleucos Tali and Laiya!
Haliastur indus seen frequently
Gallirallus philippensis moved to picnic area, no longer near cottage
hear them a lot
not common, first seen in August 2017
Island Collared Dove
Streptopelia bitorquata good views of them perched on a wire on our access road
Red Turtle Dove
Spilopelia chinensis seen frequently
Macropygia tenuirostris February, 2 birds
Common Emerald Dove
Chalcophaps indica still haven’t taken a photo
Pink-necked Green Pigeon
Treron vernans they seem to be more common now
Philippine Green Pigeon
Treron axillaris first seen in August 2017
Centropus viridis at the mango farm, on top of the trees
Centropus bengalensis at the picnic area and F.A.
Dasylophus superciliosus February at the sampaloc tree when it was fruiting
Eudynamys scolopaceus heard only
Eastern Grass Owl
Tyto longimembris seen frequently
Philippine Scops Owl
Otus megalotis heard only
Caprimulgus manillensis they used to be on the access road only, now near cottage also
Asian Palm Swift
Halcyon coromanda first seen in September 2017 when we had my cousins over! I didn’t see it!
Todiramphus chloris seen frequently
Merops philippinus seen frequently
Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker
Philippine Hanging Parrot/Colasisi
Erythropitta erythrogaster haven’t been hearing them
Pitta sordida haven’t been hearing them
Gerygone sulphurea seen frequently
Artamus leucorynchus seen frequently
Lalage nigra not near the cottage
Lanius cristatus seen frequently
Lanius schach seen frequently
Oriolus chinensis seen frequently
Philippine Pied Fantail
Rhipidura nigritorquis seen frequently
Hypothymis azurea takes effort to see
Corvus macrorhynchos seen frequently
Pycnonotus goiavier seen frequently
Hypsipetes philippinus seen more frequently and closer to the cottage than before, I think there are more of them now
Kamchatka Leaf Warbler
Japanese Leaf Warbler
Clamorous Reed Warbler
Acrocephalus stentoreus not common, first seen in August 2017
Megalurus palustris seen frequently
Asian Glossy Starling
Copsychus luzoniensis heard at cement bridge
Mangrove Blue Flycatcher
Pied Bush Chat
Saxicola caprata seen frequently
Cinnyris jugularis seen frequently in groups in the flowering madre de cacao
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Passer montanus seen frequently
Lonchura leucogastra not common, first seen in August 2017
Lonchura atricapilla seen frequently