We joined the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines' free guided birdwatching in Intramuros the other day. We were to scout for birds at Plaza Mexico along the Pasig River, and as we approached the area, we already spotted flocks of white birds swooping up and down the water and resting on the power lines.
We left the car at the Maestranza parking lot and headed to the Bureau of Immigration building to meet with the other participants. It so happened, however, that that was also where legions of fire departments gathered as a starting point for their Fire Prevention Month motorcade.
As we approached the building, the motorcade began with the fire engines' sirens going off at full blast. It was pretty thrilling, but that wasn't the kind of thing that my kids found impressive, so we continued our walk to the quay where the birders had already congregated.
I was so relieved to note that the water didn't smell foul at all. I was afraid there would be a rank odor and we'd have to leave because of the kids, but it was all good. The weather wasn't too warm either, probably because it was later in the afternoon.
All in all, it was a great trip. We saw a whole bunch of whiskered terns, a couple of little egrets, a black-headed seagull, a glossy starling, a java sparrow, a yellow-vented bulbul, a zebra dove, a brown shrike, a common kingfisher, and a pied fantail. Of course, my back will never be the same again from carrying the baby the entire time, but what else is new?
I also decided to become a member. I've been meaning to do it forever, but I kept on waiting for a good time. The first time we joined a guided birding trip, it was back in 2010 and Marguerite was only three, so I thought I'd wait until she was a little older, so it would be easier to take her along or leave her with a sitter. The second time, it was 2013 and Cameron had just turned two. Again, I deferred joining until he was a bit older. The third time was last Sunday and Sawyer is all of two. I got tired of my own delaying tactics, and finally made the commitment.
I expect to go birding more often this year and I'm excited. The benefits are awesome.