Sunday, March 18, 2012

Raptors and Guns 2012-03-18

I wanted to join the bird club raptor watching event. However, due to the previous night's birthday party, I decided not to join the group early in order to get some rest. In order to catch up with the group, I have to commute via PUV through the Antipolo-Tanay road, then Tanay-Sampaloc. From Sampaloc, I have to rent a tricycle to avoid the long wait for the next jeepney that will pass the PAGASA tower in Sitio Mayagay.

Once at Sitio Mayagay, a short walk leads me to the PAGASA compound where I was able to join the group. When I arrived, the group are relaxing at the tower waiting for the next batch of migrating raptors to come into view.

Whenever a group of birds arrive, members who spotted them will usually start calling. The other members will then join the fun counting and identifying the bird species. This routine continued until lunch time where most of the members went down to have lunch. We have to eat our lunch outside the tower because we were told not to eat inside to avoid rodent infestation.

After lunch, some members went back up the tower while the rest stayed outside. A little later, more birds appeared and we started counting. Just after the birds leave the area, the other group outside came back and we compared our count. The weather soon became cloudy and the rain started pouring for a few minutes. The routine of birds coming and leaving continued.

At around 3 in the afternoon, some of us got bored. Jun wants to walk outside to the area where we saw some hanging parrots earlier from the tower. I decided to join him. This leads us to one of the best moment of the day. As we're surveying the area below the hill, a man fired gun shots in the air. It seems he's trying to scare and drive us away. Jun quickly picked up him camera and ran. At that time, I was still a bit clueless what went wrong until I saw the man holding a weapon running towards us. When I realized what just happened, I followed. After a short sprint, I looked back and didn't see the man. Thinking that he probably stopped, I stopped running and started fast walking instead until I reached the tower. When I looked back, I saw the man still coming towards the tower with a woman behind him, probably his wife, urging him to stop chasing us. After a little argument with his wife, he stopped, fired a few more rounds, shouted something and went back. We let out a sigh of relief.
We were just surveying this area.

With a little explanation from the PAGASA employee, we realized that we went to an area where the man claims as his property and we're trespassing. The man even claimed that the lot where the PAGASA tower is standing is also part of his property. But even for trespassing, he should not have fired a weapon to scare 2 guys carrying cameras. He's basically just holding a grudge against PAGASA. The moment became the joke-of-the-day for us. We learned a lesson not to wander into an unfamiliar territory without knowing the area first.

Later in the afternoon, when no more raptors were coming, we scanned around for some other birds in the area. Then a bit later, we packed up and left.

Red lichens on the tower ground

 Venus can be seen in this shot with the raptors.

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