A team from Conservation and Development Division (CDD) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 was fortunate to have spotted the Glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) for the second time during the conduct of the bird watching and bird counting activity at Hinactacan wetlands in La Paz district and in Tubigan, Zarraga, Iloilo province, respectively.

On February 2, the Glossy ibis, a very rarely seen migratory bird in the country was found feeding, wading and flapping its wings in the wetlands of Hinactacan, La Paz district during the bird watching activity in celebration of the World Wetlands Day.

The first sighting of this ibis bird species in Hinactacan, Lapaz was documented last November 29, 2020. That was the first time it was seen in Panay Island.

It is a wading bird with a global range that is mostly widespread of all ibis species but very rarely observed in the Philippines. It is considered as Least Concern (LC) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.

Aside from the Glossy ibis, other migratory birds seen in the wetlands of Hinactacan are the Intermediate egret (Ardea intermedia), Black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Philippine duck (Anas luzonica), Moorhen (Gallinula), Whiskered tern (Chlidonias hybrida), Common tern (Sterna hirundo), Wandering whistling duck (Dendrocygna arcuata), Great egret (Ardea alba), Purple heron (Ardea purpurea) and Kingfisher (Alcedinidae).

The team proceeded to another wetland in Tubigan and were able to identify migratory birds feeding in the area. These birds were the Black-winged stilt, Grey heron (Ardea cinerea), Wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola), Little egret (Egretta garzetta), Perigrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), Common tern (Sterna hirundo), Great egret and Purple heron.

This year’s theme for World Wetlands Day is: “Wetlands and Water” and highlights wetlands as a source of freshwater. In line with this, the DENR in Western Visayas encourages people to take actions to restore and stop wetland loss.

We are now facing a rising freshwater crisis that threatens people, animals including these migratory birds, living organisms and the planet as we use more freshwater than what nature can replenish.

This year’s campaign focuses on the contribution of wetlands to the quantity and quality of freshwater on our planet. Water and wetlands are connected in an inseparable co-existence that is vital to life, well-being and health of the planet.

“This year’s World Wetlands Day is made extra special due to the second recorded stopover of Glossy ibis, a migratory bird that very rarely visits the country. It was found feeding and foraging in one of the wetlands here in Iloilo City. It only shows we have healthy wetlands in the city and we encourage everyone to help preserve theseprecious natural resource,” said regional executive director Francisco E. Milla, Jr.

Clean water and enhanced biodiversity conservation are among the priority programs and projects of theDENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu./DENR6