by Rache Go
Man has always turned to nature for inspiration. Whether it’s for beauty, peace, success, or anything else, nature has always provided answers to our questions. Nature is fuel for the soul, often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee or something sweet, but connecting with nature is a better way to get energized, if you ask me. So I always consider birdwatching trips like this as a treat!
Jops Josef who served as our overall coordinator gathered volunteers for the September 9th guided trip. Our team consisted of 10 volunteers: Jops Josef, Mike Lu, Karen Ochavo, John and Beng Ricarte, Dette de Venecia, Robert Montgomery, Lolet Tan, Nancy Dimayacyac and I. We were originally 11, but Jon Villasper had to back out the last minute for a last minute Palawan trip.
Assembly time was on or before 6:30am at Burger King Biopolis, Pasay. Jops sent out the list thru email to properly distribute participants who took public transport to WBCP volunteers with vehicles. While those with their own cars were instructed for the convoy. Everyone is set to leave for LPPCHEA at exactly 6:45am, with around 14 cars in the convoy and maybe around 35 participants. (Not really sure of the actual headcount since I wasn’t in charge of the list.)
It was a gorgeous day for an early morning guided trip in LPPCHEA, where resident and migrant birds like Asian Whiskered Terns, Common Kingfishers, Whimbrels, Great Egrets and many other birds can be observed in their natural habitat. The same place I saw my spark bird, the Black-Winged Stilt. It was the first time I saw one… the very first wild bird I saw through Mike’s binoculars! (which by the way, confused the hell out of me! I was seeing double for the first half an hour!)
I could see the excitement and anticipation from the participants as we distributed the binoculars, especially the kids who listened attentively as our volunteers gave instructions on how to use them. The more experienced volunteers explained common jargon often used in birdwatching. I observed each and one of them explain the smallest detail to participants, especially to the kids.
The participants were divided into two groups at first, later on joining together. It was just birdwatching through binoculars, participants were also informed about bird calls. You can actually see the “ A-ha” moment when they found out bird calls were different for each bird. Yeah, squishing the notion that all birds go “Tweet! Tweet!”
Looks picturesque? Well, that’s LPPCHEA for you. Who would have thought you could see something like this in the city?
Enthusiastic participants (I even saw some newbies write down species they saw!) were able to see and record around 20 bird species. Not to mention the beautiful flora in the area! The downside, it was high tide during the guided trip… drats!
And of course, a quick plug of A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of the Philippines, as the guided trip ended. A photographic field guide of Philippine birds written by WBCP members Maia Tañedo, Robert Hutchinson, Adrian and Trinket Constantino. A great book for budding birders, nature-lovers, and anyone who wants to learn more about Philippine birds. It was “ A MUST” to plug the book right then and there!
Wrapping up was a breeze… it felt good to see everyone happy with the guided trip especially when participants sign up as members right after. One can only hope that every guided trip for the public ends with a fresh perspective. After all, nature has everything we need to live, get inspired from, learn from, grow from, and succeed. Everything comes from it and everything goes into it. It’s just right for our us to take care of it and influence others to do the same.
After all the bins were accounted for, and making sure no one got left behind… Mike, Jops, Alain and I headed for some lunch!