ILOCOS NORTE | Birdwatching at Paoay Lake

Sunday, May 06, 2012

There are the exotically named Great Cormorants, Pied Bushchats, Brahminy Kites and White Browed Crakes; and then there are the less extravagantly named Egrets, Wandering Whistling Ducks, Grey Herons and Common Sandpipers.

But names are just names, these fantastic birds all flock the same pool in Ilocos Norte; a huge pool that is the Paoay Lake. 470 hectares of water playground to be exact, the Paoay Lake is landlocked body of water that has been declared as a National Park in 1969. The lake is one of the northernmost in the country, making it a feeding point for birds going south.
The Lakbay Norte team arrived at the bird watching platform overlooking the lake at nine in the morning. There were hardly any clouds above and the hut was a welcome respite for the searing heat. We were greeted by Dr. Petrus “Pete” Calope of the Ilocos Norte Bird Watchers for our bird-watching activity.
Armed with a telescope, he guided our eyes towards some little specks of dots on the far distance; Philippine Ducks he says. We looked in, and there they were indeed. He pointed towards another patch on the sparkling lake; Egrets he says. I zoomed in with my telephoto; and there it was, gliding smoothly above the waters of Paoay Lake.
The day however was too late for more birds. We came in too late; our feathered friends according to our esteemed guide show up very early in the morning, disappear in the middle of the day and reappears only at sundown.

A board posted on the deck with exotic bird names showed us just how many species of birds we missed.
With the sun high up, we decided to change location for better luck. A few minutes of driving and we were back down the lake; this time at the Paoay Lake National Park Protected Landscape area.
The place is filled with eons old trees; great hiding place for the birds it seems as we spotted zero avis.

Farther on, the team settled on another viewing platform at the banks of the lake. A few Egrets were making their rounds across the vast lake, but that was about it; we were really too late for the great show.
But birds or no birds, I still enjoyed the visit to Paoay Lake. Local folks setting their beautiful fishing traps and carabaos dipping undisturbed, chewing their neverending chews were enough a spectacle for a city guy like me who’s only too familiar with the polluted esteros of the metro.

    Paoay Lake
    Barangay Suba, Paoay
    Ilocos Norte
    GPS Coordinates: 18.121096,120.537701 | Click to view location on Google Maps

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  1. oo nga...early morning and pa-sunset ang bird feeding. hehe. nonetheless, beautiful shots!

  2. Hataw ang posts sa Lakbay Norte ah :) Nice photos of the egret flying and the fisherman with the traps!

  3. absolutely nice -- your fish trap photo. reminds me of my dad's nat geo mag collection in the '80s. it's interesting to see a shot of the phil duck hover over the water.

  4. Wowowowow! Another set of powerful photos kuya Christian! What part of the day is ideal for birdwatching po?

  5. San banda to sa Paoay Lake? til sa the first pic lang kami nakapunta.

  6. Ding
    Sayang, ang tagal kasi namin mag breakfast eh hehe

    Fave ko yung fisherman kahit walang kinalaman sa birding hehe

    Turista Project
    Actually, that's an egret :)

    Very early dapat Edmar :0

    Actually di ko sure kung saan banda to sa Paoay but it is opposite the Malacanang :)

  7. In Paoay the birds are considered a threat in the aviation industry since Paoay Lake is located at the final approach of the runway of Laoag International Airport. It is very dangerous because if birds are ingested by the aircraft's engine, it can explode and crash.

    1. I guess so. But I haven't really heard of anything like that happening in the area.