A very uncommon migrant - the Cotton Pygmy Goose - had been seen recently in
Apalit, Pampanga. Naturally, the local birding community was excited and many
had already twitched this rarity. My wife and I pondered whether to do a wild
goose chase or not. There were a number of "what ifs?" that we had to consider:
What if they only allow those with RFIDs to go through the toll gates? We got
the RFID code but it is for SLEX and we had not purchased the toll fares for it
to work. What if they won't allow people our age to go through the tollways?
Then there were times when the goose had not been seen - what if we don't see
it, would it be worth the long drive? So we prayed about it. Inasmuch as
Thursday, February 25 was a holiday, there was a possibility that there would be
less traffic along EDSA. So we both agreed to give our goose chase a chance on
that particular day. Traffic was indeed light and we arrived at the toll gates
in less than half an hour. We were so happy that they allow cash payments! As we
came to the toll gate, the cashier took our payment and gave us a receipt and
did not even ask how old we were. We arrived at the Total Gas Station and
contacted fellow birder, Irene Dy (who discovered the goose). She met up with us
and took us to the spot where the rare bird could be spotted. Irene assured us
that our target species was there. Peering through her spotting scope, she
announced that the geese (there were two of them) were there swimming. We all
(there were other birders too) took turns looking through the spotting scope.
Now that we knew the exact place were the geese were, the bird photographers
focused their cameras at the geese. Reviewing my shots, I was a bit skeptical.
The photos I got seemed to show that the head of the goose was somehow dark
unlike the Cotton Pygmy the head of which was light in color and had a stripe
across its eyes. After several more attempts at different angles I was so
excited that finally we got a lifer! I pointed it to Cynthia and jokingly said,
"There it goose!"
Around 11 am most of the birders decided to call it day, having successfully
twitched this rarity. We agreed that it's time for us to go as well. Again it
was a smooth drive on the way home. It may be a wild goose chase but it was
definitely a success!