Friday, February 26, 2021

Wild Goose Chase

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!

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