Saturday, seven o'clock in the morning, Cynthia and I were at the parking lot next to the Biology building of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. We were for two reasons: First, to locate the Philippine Nightjar that had been roosting here lately and second, to meet up with my high school classmate and now Biology professor, Augustus (Tus) Mamaril.
We got the nightjar quite easily, thanks to the advice of another U.P. professor, Jerry de Villa, and the help of Mang Donato, one of the building's janitors. I was already busy taking pictures of the Philippine endemic when Tus came. I asked him to tarry a while as I promised fellow bird photographer, Bong, that I'll wait for him and show him where the Nightjar was. That was my way of paying him back for the favor he did for me last week when he waited for me so that I can take photos of the Pink-necked Green Pigeon also here at U.P.
Pretty soon, Bong drove in and I immediately showed him the snoozing night bird. Having done my duty, Cynthia and I asked Tus to join us for breakfast so we could reminisce the good ol' days. Inasmuch as I was a "nobody" (The song "Mr. Cellophane" from the broadway play "Chicago" would be a very apt description of me) during high school, I am quite amazed and even flattered that our valedictorian would remember a lot of things about me. Pleasant moments always fly swiftly by when spent with pleasant company, and so we were surprised to realize that it was already 11 am and Tus had to fulfill some professional obligations. On our way back to the parking lot, we saw a group of bird photographers lined up by the road. They were my birding buddies, Bong, Jun, DocMando, Rey and Val. When queried why they were so seemingly excited, they all pointed to a tree about a hundred meters away and said, "Philippine Serpent Eagle".
We took Tus back to his car and bade him goodbye with the promise to meet again, and rushed back to the where the boys were. We all had a grand time photographing the endemic raptor until it eventually flew off to somewhere we were no longer had the inclination to follow.
It was one of those weekend mornings that everything seemed to fall into place. We got the nightjar which was the bird we came to see and even got a bonus with the serpent eagle. And of course, a wonderful time in the company of friends both old and new.
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