Crab Traps and Rooster Sparring.
I wrote yesterday about the raptor which briefly and noisily presented itself for a few quick photos on the tidal river here in San Isidro on Siargao Island. While we jokingly asked if this could be a crow, another question of identification soon presented itself.
Apparently the juvenile white-bellied sea eagle and grey-headed fish eagle are quite similar in appearance and can be mistaken and that seems to be the case here. Hoping to clarify the identification I set out early this morning in the pursuit of more photos.
It seems this particular raptor, a pair actually, has been seen over the past week or so in the neighboring area where the main activities are the construction of nipa roofing materials, boat building, as well as crab and shrimp fishing.
When the returning fishermen discard their bait fish from the traps, apparently it’s been attracting these raptors over the past week or so. None of the fishermen along the river seem to recall having seen these birds previously.
Setting up my camera gear and a plastic chair right at the boat landing I was eager to see if I could get some better photographic documentation.
Some kids were having a morning paddle and a swim with a basketball salbabida right where the raptors were expected. Far be it from me interrupting their morning fun for my bird photos:
So, I had a chat with the villagers and a look around. Being the Philippines, it wasn’t long before some sparring between fighting cocks occurred spontaneously during a break in the work:
Meanwhile, another youngster and a budding fisherman inspects the traps:
A little later the kids vacated the waterfront and there was only a solitary Muscovy duck around.
Sadly, our target raptor was nowhere to be seen either. But before leaving I arranged for the kids to come and get me when any interesting raptors appeared and offered a small bounty of Bingo cookies and some Coke while making it clear the birds weren’t to be captured. Unfortunately, some of these kids recently removed the red-keeled flowerpecker nest from the talisay tree in their village.
On the way out I paused to watch the woven crab traps being expertly made:
It appears that what we saw yesterday was most likely a juvenile white-bellied sea eagle. Hopefully we’ll soon have some breathless kids wanting their Bingo cookie reward coming to fetch me to photograph whatever interesting birds show up along the river next. Stay tuned!