Wednesday, June 4

...and birding with the marines

so with the sight of a tricycle on the ternate-nasugbu highway construction site imprinted in our brains, leni,adri and i headed for caylabne at the end of the road, to help out with a guided trip for the participants of the resort's preservation bay coastal clean-up.

we missed mike's go at the microphone by a few minutes, but were just in time to join them for lunch.  arnel, tintin, caloy, cel, alex l., mel and kitty were already there. 

the weather is strange as it went from rainy last week to HOT and humid this week.  caylabne graciously prepared a 3-bedroom unit where we could all relax after lunch until 4pm when the guided trip was scheduled.

it turns out that it was a small group of volunteers we were tasked to introduced the wonderful world of birding. :)  a group of young jaycees and a group of (just as young) marines.

mike tasked adri and i to lead the marines through the trail by the river (the "harder" trail by mike's standards, hehe).  it was difficult birding with such a large group on such a small trail, but the marines had quick eyes and were very alert to even the tiniest movements of the small birds.

they were familiar with the orioles and the philippine woodpecker, but strangely it was the first encounter with a tarictic for all of them.

adri showing the marines their first luzon hornbill

it was funny (and not in a ha-ha funny way) how you would hear the comments about shooting the birds and slingshots.  obviously, there is still that mindset among many filipinos about the challenge of hunting something beautiful. but it was still great to see their smiles and their excitement at seeing the hornbill, the sea-eagle and even the tiny rhabdornis.  truly, all you need to know is what's out there to see.

later on, we all realised how young these marines were. it was their last 3 months at the marine base in ternate, right between the ternate-nasgubu highway and caylabne, before they were shipped of to god-knows-where to fight in a war which really makes no sense to a lot of filipinos.  this short time, picking trash from the coast and birding with us, was already a big vacation from them, a break from their usual routine.  my prayers are with them as they go into battle.

we ended the day with sunset at the view deck.  overhead, house swifts chattered and twittered noisily as they swooped for insects. we rested on the lawn and enjoyed the cheerful company of birders.

a view of the el fraile battery, corregidor and the mountains of mariveles

arnel practices rock climbing and hangs on for dear life
... or so you think!
as we sat and exchanged stories with the other birding group, arnel suddenly shouted "uy, ano yun! anu yun?!?"

and we quickly followed his gaze on a black-and-white pigeon being mobbed by the house swifts as it flew a few meters above us... pied imperial pigeon!!!! (yes, i truly believed and we all agreed it was a pied imperial pigeon) woohoo!

what a great way to end a long day.

the sun sets on another day of birding


  1. ooohhhhh..what a day indeed to spend...wholesome.

  2. huwow. naiyak ako rito, trinket. kung pwede lang magbird araw-araw.

  3. marines rock! (sana lahat sila bumalik ng buo at maging birders din)

  4. i know a lot of marines hu are good hearted..from good families...yes, they have the heart to love the birds..and if they thrill to kill, not the birds but the enemies.. hey, my daughter, mahalene, likes to enter the PMA and be a marine, too! bygosh, wud u believe that?

  5. I hope you changed the marine's mindset about slingshots and rifles and birds as targets...
    Nice story and great pics!

  6. thanks :)
    hindi man pwedeng mag-bird araw araw, gawin nalang natin every weekend! haha.
    yup, marines rock, clap... clapclapclap... clap... clap.

  7. Way to go! Despite jokes about slingshots and guns, I'm sure the marines came away with a newfound appreciation and perspective on how to enjoy birds without killing them. Real men don't shoot birds. :-)