It was towards mid-February when photos of a Eurasian Oystercatcher began popping up on my Facebook feed. A lone individual had been spotted in the mudflats of Tanza, Navotas. This was the fourth sighting of this Near Threatened bird in the Philippines which is known to spend the winter months in eastern China and along the western coast of Korea.
The oystercatcher, a wader with a bright orange beak, has been on my "wish to see" list of birds ever since I opened the Kennedy guide but never really thought I'd get a chance to see it in the Philippines. So when the days, then the weeks ticked by with me having no extra time to go see the rare bird, I slowly accepted my fate that I was to dip on this extremely rare chance of seeing it.
But then... I couldn't stand it any longer.
I'm sure many, if not all birders, know the tugging feeling of a possible lifer just waiting for you to come see it. But alongside that feeling comes the silent dread whispering "It may have already left though..." Call it the Id and Superego of birding.... the tiny angel and devil on each shoulder each whispering in your ear: "Go for it! You deserve it!" cheers the angel, "It's a migrant! It's probably flying away right now!" sneers the devil.
What the heck. I asked Djop to make arrangements with Alfie of DENR-NCR for the following day I got the itch to twitch the Oystercatcher. Thankfully, Alfie was kind enough to update us on the bird (it was still there!!!) and accommodated us the following day. This was already March 22! More than a month after its first sighting!
|Lifer! Photo by Djop|
|Digibinned by me|
After a walk and a short boat ride, I was staring at a mega-lifer: Eurasian Oystercatcher! I breathed out a sigh of relief and literally shed some tears at our successful twitch. I honestly thought with my luck, we weren't going to see it. But there it was! I was still deserving of such success in birding!
It was my first time in the site and was amazed at the waders that were there. A flock of Pied Avocets greeted us when we arrived, as well as some Black-headed Gulls, lots of Pacific Golden Plovers, godwits, egrets, terns and many others foraging in the mudflats and shallows.
|Pied Avocets. Photo by Djop.|
Our being on a boat piqued the curiosity of some of my birder friends (come on, guys...) So, for everyone's information, THIS was how far we were from the bird while on the boat:
|See the bird? I can, I was there. |
I mean, honestly...
|Great Knot posing for the camera. Photo by Djop.|
It turned out to be a great twitchy Wednesday morning off from work (of course, I got my boss's blessing first!) and was back in my work-from-home desk (aka dining table) just after lunch.
|Me, Alfie, and Djop|
I will celebrate this twitching victory as part of my 13th Birding Birthday tomorrow, April 9!