In San Pablo’s Mayor takes saving natural wetlands personal

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Black-crowned night herons take off to roost at sunrise as the day shift arrives for a feeding frenzy at the Candaba marsh in the Philippines. Among the 50 or so wetland areas in the Philippines, the Candaba swamps covered in reeds and water hyacinths and bisected by high earthen levees  are a key staging ground for birds like the huge purple herons to tiny Arctic warblers.

mins-purple-heron

They had flown several thousand kilometres (miles) south months earlier, just before the winter.
Thirty years ago the marshes covered some 32,000 hectares (79,000 acres) because of agriculture and urbanisation only 72 hectares remain.

Today, ornithologists count some 12,000 shore birds a day — a fraction of the number three decades ago.

“In the 1980s they would routinely count 100,000 wild Philippine ducks and mainland Asian garganays (wild ducks) in one day, just for the two species,” said Michael Lu, president of Wild Bird Club of the Philippines.

These swampy lands are critical habitat for birds ranging from huge purple herons to tiny Arctic ak07-arctic-warbler-jh-1warblers that return to continental Asia in the spring.

But as the swamp has shrunk so too of course has the supply of fish, snails, insects and other food. What remains is hemmed in by rice paddies and communities that raise hogs and domesticated ducks.

“In the 1980s they would routinely count 100,000 wild Philippine ducks and mainland Asian garganays (wild ducks) in one day, just for the two species,” said Michael Lu, president of Wild Bird Club of the Philippines.
Resources

Excerpts courtesy of Terra Daily

Vanishing Philippines wetlands threatens Arctic bird migration

– Staff Candaba, Philippines (AFP) Feb 12, 2009. VanishingPhilippineswetlandsthreaten

Image 1. Candaba Swamp courtesy of blogspot.com    SanPabloMayorPond

Image 2. Purple Heron courtesy of Webzoom suffolkbirdingPurplHeron

Image 3. Arctic Warbler courtesy of users.rcn.com/becard/ArcticWarbler

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