Kathy Lene S. Cielo and Roderick C. Makiputin,
Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc.
Although the number of migratory birds counted went down this year from 6,907 in 2017 to 5,523 in the Naujan Lake National Park in Oriental Mindoro province, it is interesting to note the possibility of two new records for the area this year. The AWC in Naujan Lake National Park was spearheaded by the Protected Area Office and in partnership with Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc. The count was conducted on January 18, 2018 together with representatives from DENR – MIMAROPA, and DENR – PENRO Oriental Mindoro.
“I am saddened with the low count this year for the AWC, but not actually discouraged as there are new species recorded for Naujan Lake, we also observed large number of ducks last December 2017. We are very hopeful that Naujan Lake is still improving, especially with the assistance of MBCFI”, said Ricardo Natividad, NLNP Protected Area Superintendent.
The five groups composing the team were able to spot Garganeys and Eurasian Wigeons amongst the group of Tufted Ducks. “We were excited, as we saw a lot of small pale brown colored ducks and a few red-headed ducks amidst the dark colored Tufted ducks that we usually see. This is possibly the first records of the Garganeys (Anas querguerdula) and Eurasian Wigeons (Anas penelope) in Naujan Lake and in Mindoro.” said Geoff Tabaranza, MBCFI Research Program Manager.
A total of 5,523 individuals comprising of 33 species were observed and recorded during the census. The most number of individuals still goes to Tufted Ducks with 2,692, followed by Garganeys with 832 individuals and Whiskered Terns with 806 individuals.
According to Tabaranza, the decrease on the number of individuals counted was possibly due to the high mobility of the ducks and incomplete AWC survey coverage of Naujan Lake, and he recommended that the AWC in the coming years should be conducted with a larger team to cover a wider area of the lake.
More activities are also lined up for the NLNP for the continuous protection and management of the PA, such as the conduct of the regular biodiversity monitoring system (BMS), the finalization of Protected Area Management Plan, and its full protected area declaration under the NIPAS Act. And we are still very hopeful that with these initiatives, the habitats in Naujan Lake will improve and the number of migratory birds will increase in the coming years.