Thursday, March 22

sunday birding part 2: sunset at the bay

after meeting the angono petroglyph philippine eagle owl, my sunday was only half done.

i had promised to meet some of my freshmen students who were doing their zoology project on the reclamation of the coastal lagoon and migratory birds. i get a thrill when the students are interested in this issue and i didn't hesitate to offer help.  mike, mark w, jon v and of course adri were all willing to give my students a special guided trip to the lppchea.

i had't been to the las pinas-paranaque coastal habitat and ecotourism area in quite a while. during my first few years as a member of the club, this was one of the places i would often visit, long before the the sm complex replaced the grasslands of tambo.  i was always amazed at the beach littered with seashells and rubber slippers.  the mudflats were where i practiced id-ing waders while sitting on the (now-gone) almost collapsed houses on stilts.  it was amazing to see so many birds in a place with so much trash.  equally amazing was how many fishermen were fishing for food in the polluted waters. migrant and resident birds, mangroves, fish, trash, people: the universal truth of the current environmental problems was summarized right there in front of us while we scoped birds and made up dialogues of imagined conversations between them.

high tide at the tail end of migration season was not the best time for a guided trip to the coastal lagoon, but i think my students were still impressed by the flocks of whiskered terns skimming the water for food and the few egrets perched on floating bamboo rafts.  the beautiful sunset on the half clean (thanks to several coastal clean-ups!) with the terns flying around prompted one of my students to say: "ang ganda, sana may ganito sa manila!" ("how beautiful, i wish there a place like this in manila!") at which i had to reply: "nasa manila ka pa!" ("you're still in manila!")

is that a piece of plastic that the terns have mistaken for food?

whiskered terns changing to breeding plumage toward the end of breeding season

little egrets doing a courtship dance on the beach

a moorhen party at the pond

as we walked quietly back to our vehicles after birding on freedom island, the sunset had bathed the sky pink and we could see the airplanes all lined up in the sky, waiting for their turn to land on the runway.  

flocks of terns and gulls in the late afternoon

a golden sunset on the bay

enjoying the pink and lavender sunset

will this show of nature be replaced soon by the neon glow of casino lights?  will the crunch of sand underfoot be replaced with asphalt? will the residents of metro manila have to travel further westward to enjoy the manila bay sunset?

i hope not.

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