I’m delighted to announce that we have been successful in securely a grant from the Oriental Bird Club http://orientalbirdclub.org/ to conduct a survey at Candaba Marsh.
Candaba Marsh (Photo: Irene Dy)
The main aim of the project is to gather information on the abundance and habitat use of the Philippine Duck and other wetland birds. The objectives are:-
1. To estimate the abundance of Philippine Duck and other wetland bird species;
2. To determine if Candaba Marsh supports over 1% of the world’s population of Philippine Duck and meets criterion 5 of the Ramsar designation;
3.To determine how species’ abundance changes over the survey period;
4.Identify other areas of uncultivated wetland within Candaba Marsh that could be potential sites for waterbird monitoring and conservation;
5.To interview local landowners to establish hunting and egg collection rates.
The bird survey will be conducted mainly by Mr Artiaga under the supervision of Dr Española, and volunteers from the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines will be encouraged to join. Carlo Artiaga conducted the first site visit to plan the standardised counts.
Candaba Marsh (Photo: Ivan Sarenas)
Here Carlo describes his first visit to one of the survey areas in the marsh:-
On 21st August 2015, we conducted a preliminary site visit to Candaba Marsh . The site is a stretch of swamp with a main pond adjacent to cultivated farmland. The vegetation is composed of a diverse community of grasses and weeds along with a few trees and shrubs. We saw many jacanas and egrets in the main shallow pond, while grassbirds and coucals hid in the tall grass of the surrounding vegetation. Snipes and herons flew overhead. On our way back from the site, we encountered a group of Eastern Marsh Harriers (Circus spilonotus). We did not see Philippine Duck, but we were able to hear duck calls in the distance.
We were able to visit the heads and senior members of the community living adjacent to the site. We were able to gather a lot of new information about the area; historically, there were many ducks in the area but the numbers have declined due to hunting. Despite this, we remain optimistic that this is a good place to study the remaining Philippine Duck population in the Candaba Swamp.