Chinese Egrets

ImageA few weeks ago, as the fever kicked in, I made it to San Enrique, a small coastal municipality about 45 minutes south of Bacolod City. Godfrey Jakosalem of The Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc recommended a visit: earlier this year a Little Curlew was recorded, a very rare bird in The Philippines, and also some Nordmann’s Greenshanks.

I only managed the briefest of looks at the site but was impressed by the number of waders and terns I could see in the distance on a late afternoon recce. I decided I would get up early the next morning and proceed into the area at low tide. Sadly I was too feverish the next morning to contemplate anything other than staying in bed. Anyhow my late afternoon walk, my recce, produced once more some Chinese Egrets, without doubt the bird of this trip. As you can see I managed a shot of one of these Chinese Egrets, helpfully perched on a bamboo pole, in the late afternoon and if you look at its left leg you will see it has a red/orange band.

ImageAs an occasional bander nothing quite gets my juices flowing as sighting a bird sporting a band or ring. This means science! It opens up the possibility of both learning a little about the bird and also of contributing information about the bird and its location to the scientific community. For me absolultey intriguing stuff.

Dave Bakewell from Malaysia suggested getting in touch with Niall Moores of Birds Korea. I also made an enquiry to a Korean biologist who has been involved in banding Chinese Egrets.

At this stage enquiries are still progressing – according to Niall it appears that there has been some “opportunistic” banding done in both China and Korea and there is some uncertainty about who has been doing what. My Korean biologist, Bo-yeon Hwang, from Songnisan National Park Office, confirmed s/he had been banding Chinese Egrets but  could rule out my bird because s/he had been banding their right legs. S/he did however send me a photo taken by a Chinese photographer, Bai Qunguan, of a Chinese Egret sporting a similar sort of red/orange band on its left leg; it is fair to say this is on the upper leg,the fibula, whereas on my bird the band is at the ankle joint – this might be explained by something as simple as slippage. I think when I get back to Thailand I’ll need to get my Chinese friend, Soorng Yingtao, to get in touch with Bai Qunguan and see if we can learn anything more about my bird.

So a strong possibility that my bird was banded in China. I really would like to learn more and hope we can make some progress in the next few weeks.

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